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Overreaction or Normal Response? Teyonah Parris Tweets Angrily About Stranger Touching Her Natural Hair

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Teyonah Parris - BellaNaija - June2015001_001

Teyonah Parris

When it comes to Natural Hair, there a few golden rules that the community of Naturalistas hold dear. One of those rules is “Thou Shalt Not Touch my Mane” 🙂

Recently, Hollywood actress & poster child for Natural hair – Teyonah Parris tweeted about an incident in which an old man (insinuated to be Caucasian) “Objectified, fetishized, attempted to demean” her hair while she was having tea with her friends.

The actress clearly felt insulted by the man’s actions even after his daughter came and interjected, explaining he was trying to give her a compliment;

Read her tweets below;

Her reaction has started some debate on if she was overreacting to the man’s “Inappropriate” act.

Some have argued that it is simply a violation of privacy. You should at least ask for permission; while others have said Naturalistas should let people touch their hair – they don’t see the big deal. If they want it to be accepted as ‘normal’ then they should let people get accustomed to it – and that includes letting people touch it.

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What do you think BellaNaijarians?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of BellaNaija.com. Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at)bellanaija.com or style(at)bellanaija.com | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle

46 Comments

  1. me

    June 11, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Bellanaija….hahahahahaha you guys are turning to amebo these days.you like gist ehhhh and reading the comments that follow make your day.pls post this comment and it should not await moderation for a long time.ngwanu…thank you.

  2. O.O

    June 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

    she may have over-reacted……..i’m natural and i let people touch my hair (as long as they ask first tho)………it’s really not that serious nor that big a deal

    • Onye

      June 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      From how she told the story she was very rude. Why when someone is talking to you, don’t you respond politely like a normal person. Attitude for no reason especially directed at an older gentleman.

    • thatigbogirl

      June 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      She was rude? The guy is the rude one. What would you do if someone you’ve never met before walks up to you and doesn’t even say “Hi”, but just blurts out “Is that your hair or nah?” Then to make matters worse, tells you you’re hair is “stimulating”. That qualifies as harassment. THEN he proceeds to grab your hair to find out for himself – without asking first. If you’ll be nice to such a person, I’ll bend over backwards.

      That the guy is older is not important here, because he clearly isn’t acting his age. He’s no gentleman either or else he wouldn’t have acted the way he did.

      Let’s just hope the guy acted that way because of his old age, otherwise I’d say he probably still thinks that he was in the 60s, when racial discrimination was the order of the day.

      1
    • Dee

      June 11, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Honestly, natural haired sistas just make a complete fuss about their hair as if that’s all they’re about.
      When you see them congregate, it’s so tiresome and yawn-worthy. They feel they’re so deep and culturally intense because they’ve refused “the white man’s chemical”.

      Hey, by the way, I’ve got natural hair because I’m happy with it and I totally love it, but you won’t catch me having 2 hour conversations on what home-made product works best and when I did the big chop blablabla.
      Seriously naturalistas, get over yourselves!!!

    • WHITE MAN IS IDIOT!

      June 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      I DISAGREE! He was RUDE because HE TOUCHED HER HAIR WITHOUT PERMISSION..yOU KNOW BETTER THAT BROWN WOMEN HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD TO FIX THEIR GOOD HAIRS…COME ON GIRL….

  3. A Real Nigerian

    June 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

    She’s boring and she’s trying too hard.

  4. cindy

    June 11, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Bellanaija……the way you worded your title tho. I’m sure some people will come here ready to throw stones at her. Anyway, it’s rude to me. He just met her and he is of the opposite gender. That to me is inappropriate. Heck, I don’t even like being touched by those close to me talkless of a stranger. I’m sensitive to touch like that. Yes my body na gold. And what’s with the “it’s stimulating” shit? Does he have a fetish for hair or something?

  5. Tuu

    June 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Thiswhathappenswhenyoudon’thavework….

  6. Ihuoma

    June 11, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Its very inapprociate and intrusive to touch someone’s hair without permission. Its simple courtesy to ask for permission whether the person is a naturalista or not.. Its just been polite!

  7. Paloma

    June 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    lol… the man was just amazed and surprised. No offence

    • Mary

      July 31, 2017 at 2:20 am

      I agree. He might have Alzheimer’s! Dementia. He was giving a compliment.

  8. Bosola

    June 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    “accepted as normal”? she is growing her natural hair and you dont think that is ”normal” enough…sigh! i think she overreacted a little tho, she could just have answered the old man, there was absolutely no need for drama!

  9. zich

    June 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Well it’s offensive ! I live in China, in 2008 when i arrived , Chinese would touch my skin and check their fingers if it has some dirt or different color from usual, they would touch me or friends hair without permission , and if they are in group they would be touching and discussing about if it’s real or fake without even minding if you are ok with it or not, i became aggressive overnight due to this sick reaction. On some occasion my friend slap their hand really hard and drag their own hair in a painful way, yes we are black ppl to them everything isallok including taking pictures of us . But i personally don’t give a shirt, i do not allow it. And i will do you anything if you approach me or my kids in a bad manner.

  10. EllesarisEllendil

    June 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    There is no such thing as :”overreaction” when somebody invades your body space.

    Lest they smear your with juju or steal your brilliance. Please tell me I’m not the only person their Mother that story to?

    • Phoebe

      June 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Lol.. yup, got the same story too.

  11. Great Lady

    June 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Abeg she’s too serious jor. What’s the big deal. mstwchewwww

  12. chi-e-z

    June 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    creepy old white guy touching my hair getting a boner 4rm it. That’ all I pictured… Nope Nope Nope Thou shalt not touch my hair with ur sperm infused hands nope xD yuck…

  13. l

    June 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    why you mad!!! whats wrong if someone touches your natural did occur to you if the person wanted to know how natural feels like lol….

  14. Yonda

    June 11, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    You have to bear in mind that black american women are hyper sensitive because of their unfortunate history so against that backdrop, I think she had a right to be upset – the man is clearly clueless and sees black hair as something for petting (like in a zoo).

    BUT, on the flipside, I think natural haired ladies need to chill for just a minute…y’all need to understand that your hair is unusual to some so its only natural that people would be inquisitive and intrigued.With time, attitudes will change and seeing a ladies with a mass of curly/coily hair will not to be so unusual.

    Try not to be so sensitive ladies…it just feeds the “angry black women” stereotype.

    • natu

      June 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Our hair is unusual as if you don’t have the the same Shit. I can’t stand this so call negropeans.

    • layo

      June 12, 2015 at 7:14 am

      There you go…you sound angry ..

      Like it or not it is unusual to some to see a mass of natural black hair on display! Probably because us black women are known for doing a variety of things to our hair (rightly or wrongly)…processing it. …fixing things on it..that is what she means.

      Honestly you natural haired women can be really unpleasant at times.

  15. Ada

    June 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Just don’t touch me without permission especially if we are not friends. It reminds me of all those guys at Balogun market who practically rape your hands when you walk past in the name of asking you to buy. I don’t know if she overreacted o, my own is DON’T TOUCH me without my consent. Anywhere!

  16. You need to chill

    June 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    SMH, so me getting upset and reacting to a stranger invading my personal space, touching my hair without my consent and when asked to stop refuse makes me a “angry back woman”. If that makes me a angry black woman then so be it.

    Some of these comments are ridiculous, so because her hair is natural she should welcome people touching her hair without her consent. His behaviour was unacceptable, if he was curious about her hair he should have asked her and got her permission before touching it.. I’ve been in this position before and it was embarrassing.

  17. JENNIE

    June 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    hmm… I get it oh… people don’t like that stuff. I would not want someone I dnt knw touching my hair like when your braiding your hair and because you know the person doing my hair when you gt close to talk to hair you start touching I just turn and say “please don’t” she took it way overboard cos even with her rude response the 1st time he was still trying to be nice. Maybe she was already angry that day or something.

  18. bruno FIERCE

    June 11, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    black girls with attitude are ugly.

    many people inside our villages will touch an oyinbo woman’s blonde hair out of curiosity, because they haven’t seen that kind of hair before. its normal, I’m not saying it is right.

    I don’t blame them. this is not a race thing, so pls stop trying to turn it into a race thing. the oyinbo man should have asked for permission. and when she said no he should have walked away.

    white people if u want to touch our hair pls ask for permission, black people if u want to touch a white person’s hair pls ask for permission.

    • Lol

      June 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Bruno shut up pls!!!!!!!!
      Stop commenting on issues you haven’t expreinced first hand. You are a man , you Dont live in america.
      Its different from Nigeria. Looking at her beautiful hair you will know that she probably gets that a lot that event was probably her breaking point.

      In other news this white girl tried to run her hand in my hair to see if I have an track I was like bitch if you Dont get your mayo hands out of my hair.
      Its just annoying admire from a far or ask questions but KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOUR SELF.

    • cindy

      June 11, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Pls bruno shut it! Black and angry are not synonymous. Is it a crime to get angry? Nobody says a thing when a white woman gets angry, and they do just as much. If she wants to be angry, let her be angry. What is your own? Next time, don’t do shit that would make a black woman angry. Simple!

    • thatigbogirl

      June 11, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Please take several seats.

  19. wagamama

    June 11, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Lmao!

    Abeg she’s not over-reacting anything! The fear of people touching my hair has put my #TeamNatural into hibernation. Been on weaves and braids since January and not slowing down anytime soon. (Although my edges are getting F’d now! smh!)

    *****
    Even in this Nigeria, Dass how pesin wee be buying sonting and one random man/woman/geer/boy wee come and say:

    “Is that your natural hair?”

    me: yes it is (BIG GRIN)

    “O wow! It’s so full and black!”

    me: tanko! tanko! (Black skin blushing)

    ……”some small talk about time, pain and care”…….

    Mid-way into the convo, i spot a hand drifting SWIFTLY towards my hair (Jacky Chan STYLE)

    See me bending into kwashiorkor type stance (sometimes swatting flies, dancing to “lean back” or just randomly doing squats in the middle of the wherever!)

    • Keziah

      June 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Loool you are so silly, love you comment.

  20. nonye

    June 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    she is entitled to not have her personal space invaded, however i think she may have overreacted a bit for dealing with an old man. I think with age, people have less and less scruples. For instance there is stuff my mum says when we are in company which embarrasses the heck out of me but which I am sure she would never have said when she was younger. It just seems like with age, people have less of a filter. Some actually become a little child-like. I may be wrong though because I wasn’t there. Chances are that he was just an harmless old man expressing wonder at something he had never seen before.

  21. Berry Dakara

    June 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    It seems like he was genuinely curious about her hair, but he should have used a different approach. Although sha, she seems like her guard was already up. I think they both could have handled it better.

    For me, I don’t mind people touching my hair – in fact, I welcome it – but they should ask first or make their intentions known. I’ve had people at work just put their hands in my hair before even saying hi. Worraheck?!

    Berry Dakara Blog

  22. LizLiz

    June 11, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    1- I am glad she did not mention the man’s race as it had nothing to do with the incident.
    2- I respect her for not using foul language and maintaining a calm, polite demeanor throughout it all.
    3- It is very disrespectful to go up to stranger to ask if his/her cloth, hair, nails, bag, skin, car, house…… anything that is theirs, is real or fake.
    4- It is uncivil to touch a stranger’s hair, watch, bag, …… any clothing apparel they are wearing, without first seeking and receiving their expressed permission. This is even more discourteous when you are of the opposite sex.
    5- It is unmannerly and even a criminal offence in some quarters, to speak to a stranger with sexual overtures.

  23. Iris

    June 11, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I wonder if he is a little senile. He has a 40 year old daughter and she was clearly horrified by what he’d done. Old people sometimes do strange things. That’s one possibility.

  24. Felinda

    June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I am natural too and dont touch my fcking hair nor touch my chocolate Lupita style dark black skin, yes it may be cute to you, but you dont have to touch it to make a compliment. You could ask “May i touch it, and i will say No nicely” but for you to even touch without asking i will go off on you. I dont know where your hands been, You coulda been jacking off in the mens rest room a minute a go, i dont know that. No man or woman should touch my hair or my skin especially if i dont know you. And also dont touch my lil nieces hair or skin she got hair and skin just like mine and many folks in the mall always go ohhh she is cute and without permission want to touch or pull her hair, many times its left her uncomfortable and crying cos she hates it.

    SOME PEOPLE ARE SO FC.KING RUDE

    I HAD AN OLD WHITE LADY IN TARGET REACHING OUT TO TOUCH MY SKIN TALKING BOUT ITS AS SMOOTH AS BABYS BOTTOM.

    ITS ALWAYS THE WHITE WIERDOS WHO DO THAT SHYT

  25. Tomi

    June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    The ignorance in some of these comments is very apparent. Whether I’m natural or not, No one has the right to invade my personal space and touch my hair without asking.

    It’s like someone coming up to you and saying “Oh I love your bag, Is it real or fake?” and grab it out of your hand. Won’t you overreact?

    Abeg miss me with that “Why is she mad” BS.

    • thatigbogirl

      June 11, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Gbam!!! They are all trying to be self-righteous.

      Even if it was a hot guy that did that, he will seize to be hot in my eyes. No manners whatsoever.

  26. enkay

    June 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    That’s what happens when normal things suddenly become abnormal. Natural hair has become so scarce that when one is spotted wearing it, it becomes a tourist attraction. They want to touch and see how it feels, when all along the permed hair/weaves for us should have been the kinds of hair to attract attention instead. He should have asked for permission though.

    • Nibalife

      June 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

      So every time you see something out of the norm, on should treat it like a tourist attraction? Unintelligent!

  27. Ano

    June 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Maybe she’s trying to stir up a Zendeya Coleman situation to step up her game and relevance and she was RUDE. Period.

  28. Tkum

    June 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    kai!!!! if it was a young, cute, sexy fine man that touched her hair, you guys better tell me she will over-react, if not to start blushing….orisirisi!!! smh… You ladies that like to idolized some things that aint necessary though…

  29. Swoosh

    June 11, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    She overreacted with the fetishized, objectified nonsense she wrote there. I’m thinking a senile old man slowly losing his mind. Sometimes, you have to gauge intent before flying into a rage. I’ve experienced this sort of backhand compliment before and while my first reaction was to tell the person off, I calmed down enough to realize that something was off and in all likelihood, the person was autistic.

  30. natu

    June 11, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Do not touch my hair abet. I am not some exotic animal that you can play with. I don’t know where your hands have been. Please have some respect.

  31. natu

    June 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    *abeg

  32. cleo

    June 12, 2015 at 11:41 am

    In my opinion, touching someones hair, without permission, whether the hair is real or some attachment, wigs, weaves, clips etc is rude. Someone you don’t know is out-rightly disrespectful.
    I am not natural, but i would crossed if a stranger touche my braids. What if he has contagious disease. What if he is right out of the loo?

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