‘A slap in our faces’: Black activists incensed after Rachel Dolezal is added to natural hair event
Former Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal has incited another controversy after being announced as the headliner for an event in Dallas celebrating black womens’ natural hair, the Daily Beast reported.
“Can she restore growth? Does she have the Midas touch? Apparently she does because she went from being pale white to golden brown,” said a local activist, Olinka Green. “Rachel wants the black girl magic and the glory and attribution. But she can’t put up with what we go through day to day.”
Dolezal, who drew criticism nationally after being exposed as a white woman posing as black, will be the featured guest at the Naturally Isis Braid-On, Economic Liberty March and Rally on Saturday.
She was invited to take part by the event’s founder, stylist and activist Isis Brantley. Brantley said she contacted Dolezal after being “impressed” by the Africana Studies professor’s hair-braiding skills.
“People threatened to boycott me,” Brantley said of the reaction to the announcement. “They are calling me a sellout and saying that I am ‘Massa’s girl’ or some mess like that. I just stopped looking and blocked everybody.”
But Pamela Ferrell, the co-founder of the American Hairbraiders and Natural Haircare Association (AHNHA) — which has supported Brantley in the past — told the Beast that she wonders why Dolezal will even be at the event to begin with.
“Don’t think of her as someone who has contributed to the years of work we have done to protect this cultural art form,” Ferrell said. “I see it as an opportunity for a white woman to steal this African cultural art form, become an expert and then get opportunities that we have been denied. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.”
But Dolezal rejected the argument that she agreed to join Brantley’s event for self-serving purposes.
“I’m not coming as a curiosity or for any controversy,” she said. “My intention is to support Isis and the braid freedom movement in whatever way it will be most helpful. I don’t want to be a liability for anyone. It’s a justice issue and I’ve been a social justice activist for years. It’s really that simple.”