Folks—especially fellow media folk—can we stop commenting on things we know nothing about and are too lazy to look up? Because assuming only makes an ass out of you and the media outlet you work for.
It was mere months ago when a reporter embarrassed herself and her new political beat at the Washington Post after she called the traditional Alpha Kappa Alpha “skee-wee” she heard at a Kamala Harris event “screeching” in a tweet. Now, it’s the New York Post’s turn to look culturally oblivious after they reported on a woman “photographed setting her hair on fire aboard an MTA train Tuesday.”
And black girls around America wept in recognition.
“Just when you thought the subways couldn’t smell any worse,” the Post wrote. “A woman was photographed setting her hair on fire aboard an MTA train Tuesday. The snap, posted to Reddit, shows the unidentified woman taking a lighter to her long, multi-colored locks while casually seated aboard the train.”
Those of us who have a synthetic braid or two in our personal histories instantly recognized the time-honored tradition of sealing the ends with a lighter—a practice most of us have long since abandoned in favor of the boiling water technique, but I digress.
While we can muster absolutely no defense for stinking up a New York subway car with the smell of burning Kanekalon (especially when we know there are so many other pleasant smells down there), equally indefensible is portraying a woman as some type of self-immolator when she’s simply trying to fit in some last-minute grooming. Do you keep this same energy when Chelsea is plucking her chin en route to the office? How about when Tad is clipping his fingernails?
And seriously, New York Post, do any black women work on your editorial team?
The Post’s article has since been updated to note that “One poster on the message board suggested the woman was fusing together the ends of a weave,” but not before the outlet received some well-deserved dragging on social media. Our favorite? Whoever runs social media for Dictionary.com, which decided to assist the Post’s writer with the research they should’ve done themselves—with a healthy dollop of shade, of course.
But for real, New York Post, Google is your friend. Better yet, how about you tighten up your ends and hire more black women?