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Celebrity stylist has kinky-haired women all wound up Add to ...

Don’t go on record talking about taming black hair until you work out the kinks.

That’s a lesson learned by Andre Walker – Oprah’s hair stylist for 25 years – after being publicly chastised for recommending that kinky hair be chemically treated.

“Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing,” Mr. Walker told Elle magazine.

Plenty of kinky-haired folk didn’t appreciate the tip, Jezebel reports.

Commenting at TheManesSurce.com, Danielle wrote: “Sad, this is why so many women feel they can’t go natural, when ‘professional hair stylists’ shame their natural hair texture and suggest relaxers.”

Black hair is political, note websites such as karenhalliburton.com, which chronicles racist representations of kinky hair in products such as American Picaninny Lil’ Cotton Pickers Soap, sold until the 1940s.

This and other pro-“naturalista” websites frown on celebrities who have smoothed their locks beyond recognition, including Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and the reigning queen of empowerment, Oprah herself.

Some see Mr. Walker’s statements as an insult to African-Americans.

“It's amazing that people still have these warped viewpoints despite the fact that black women are beginning to rock their natural tresses in droves,” writes a commenter on TheCoilReview.com.

Mr. Walker, who is black, posted a rebuttal on his blog:

“I leave the political correctness of ‘going straight’ or staying natural to a woman’s personal preference … so for those who would like to engage me in a debate about who has more racial pride and self-esteem, based on hairstyle preference and use or non-use of chemical relaxers, know that I believe in personal freedom, and in the use of advanced technology when it yields positive results.”

But his clarification didn’t cut it for readers such as Annette, commenting at TheManeSource.com:“I say BOO to his ‘politically correct’ message.”

Do you think hairstylists should encourage kinky-haired clients to keep it real?

Follow on Twitter: @AdrianaBarton

 

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