On Wednesday, Today Show host Savannah Guthrie smiled through a beauty segment featuring a black model whose hair was ruined on national television via a style that was sold as “easy and effortless.” Someone help this model; her smile is hiding her pain!
Deepica Mutyala, billed as a beauty expert but clearly not one for black women, appeared on Today to shill summer hair looks we can do in under 60 seconds because we’re so busy. Busy, busy, busy!
The first model was Phan, an Asian American with straight wet hair; Deepica gave her a high ponytail twisted braid. Fine, the braid wasn’t really pretty but it was fine. Next up was Malia, a black model whose hair was already straightened, and it looked like someone had also tried to wet set her tresses in rollers or two strand twists or something. Suffice to say, Malia’s curls had already been manipulated from their natural texture before Deepica arrived.
Adding insult to injury, Deepica’s grand “easy and effortless style” was to put Malia’s hair in a high side ponytail and then separate all of the coils in front of her hair into a frizzy fringe and walk away. She just walked away! Guthrie complimented the look, adding “It helps to be beautiful!” Ladies, Malia’s hair did not look like her best self.
It’s 2016, and much too late for The Today Show to have cultural flubs like this, which betrays the staff’s ignorance of black hair. Black people are accessible if there are questions, please ask us. We might be annoyed with your query because there is a treasure trove of hair videos on YouTube that painstakingly explain how to fashion every single hairstyle black women wear, but at least you tried. Alternately, this kind of willful ignorance is why models like Iman did her own makeup during fashion shoots for so long she eventually said “Fuck it” and made her own cosmetics line. Black hair and skin isn’t that complicated, people! Different, yes. Complicated, no.