'I Can’t Win With the Internet': Tessica Brown Tells The Root How Going Viral Affected Her and Her Children

Illustration for article titled 'I Can’t Win With the Internet': Tessica Brown Tells The Root How Going Viral Affected Her and Her Children
Screenshot: Tessica Brown/TikTok

My Dearest Reader,

Over the last few weeks, this author has done her absolute best to keep you all informed on the developments concerning the curious case of Lady Tessica Brown and her Gorilla Glued hairdo. As most of you are probably aware, the case finally concluded in a positive way thanks to the gifted hands of Duke Dr. Obeng from the Hills of Beverly (that’s Beverly Hills). But what you may not be aware of is how exactly Lady Brown has been feeling whilst enduring this most horrendous hair catastrophe and in the aftermath of its resolution. What with all the jokes, memes, and SNL skits made about a truly unintentional albeit traumatic situation—it’s only right to wonder. But as we both know, Dear Reader, if there is anyone willing to find out, it is I, Lady Welpington of The Root.

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As such, my first order of business when I spoke with Lady Brown was to ascertain the health of her hair and scalp after being freed of industrial-grade adhesive bondage.

“I’m doing good, I’m just happy to, you know, just lay down,” Lady Brown replied. “I’m pretty much taking it all in. My scalp is better, I’ve been using the treatment that Dr. Obeng gave me. He said it would take six weeks to restore my hair back to where it was originally. He’s gonna do another follow-up in six weeks to see if I can put anything on it,” she continued, noting that she’ll be returning to Duke Dr. Obeng on Monday, February 22 for another treatment. “It might be the same thing that I’m doing now but if he said it, I’m going,” she added.

Our conversation then turned to how this entire ordeal and the fleeting fame of virality among the social media ton weighed on her psyche. Lady Brown told me that receiving backlash and ridicule on the internet was almost too much to bear, as it only exacerbated the suffering she was already feeling.

“The thing is, it was affecting me before I even put it on social media,” she admitted. “I was in the house not eating, not sleeping. I was just on the internet trying to figure out what I could do to get this off my head. It took me a week before I even told my mom and my sister. I lost like between 10 and 15 pounds. It was a bad situation. And then once I posted it, it just became worse. I was already down and then I posted it and folks were like ‘let me kick her a little further down.’”

She continued, “I just didn’t think that through all the way; that’s exactly what it was. I didn’t. I ran past the refrigerator and I saw it sitting up there and I was like ‘I could spray this and when I come home, I could just wash it out.’ I said it in the video, it was a bad, it was a big mistake. I was just asking y’all what I could use to take this off and y’all just took it and brought it to a whole other level. The internet will hurt your feelings, really really bad. I can’t win with the internet, the internet is really undefeated. And I’m over it.”

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As with most people who find themselves the talk of the social media ton, the implications of what’s being said about them often affect far more than the individual in question. Such was the case in this instance, as well. Why, just one Google search about Lady Brown and her hair would bring about multiple tweets, essays and think pieces attributing her situation to the larger pressures we as Black women face when it comes to presenting our bodies and our hair in a more “digestible way.” (And yes, newsflash, Dear reader—I, Lady Welpington am indeed a proud Black woman.)

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When I proposed this notion to Lady Brown, she assured me the pressures she feels are mostly self-inflicted.

“I’m not gonna say it’s the whole “Black women [thing]. I think I put more pressure on myself than society does. Like, even my sisters; nobody wants me to do their hair because if you let me do your hair, you’re gonna be here for a minute. Any type of flyaway, I have to make sure it’s landed. I have a serious problem when it comes to hair, I absolutely love hair. I hate those flyaways.”

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She continued, “But even if he [Dr. Obeng] tells me after the six weeks, ‘Oh, you can put a relaxer in your hair again,’ I’m not even using relaxers anymore. Because at this point, I’m scared. I feel like at this point, if I put it on there, my hair is just gonna shrivel up and fall off. So I’m not even going to do that.”

I, too, think that a very wise decision.

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At this point in our correspondence, I’d be remiss if I didn’t divulge a particularly sensitive moment Lady Brown shared as it relates to her two little girls. Amid their mother’s sudden fame, her daughters found themselves the subject of secondhand scoffing at the hands of petty schoolchildren. Feeling somewhat at fault, Lady Brown told me she had to warn her daughters against listening to the taunts and teasing and assured them things would be alright—even if she herself wasn’t.

“I had to tell my little girls, when they went to school, ‘If anybody tries to tell y’all something about that, don’t worry about it. You know it’s not me.’ My second little girl, she came home and she looked at me and then fell into my arms crying. She said the little boys [at school] were singing the ‘Gorilla Glue song’ and they were singing it in her face. I told her the next time they sing it, learn the words. Sing it with them. So after I told that to her, I go into the bathroom. Now I’m crying because I’m the reason they’re making fun of my baby.”

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But it’s not all slow walking and sad singing. After all, Lady Brown’s tresses are back on the up-and-up. You should also be delighted to know, Dear Reader, that a large sum of the proceeds from her GoFundme is going to Duke Dr. Obeng’s reconstructive surgery nonprofit. Lady Brown told me she plans to use the remainder of the money to help three families in her local area—because that’s what good people who go through not-so-good situations do: They take an unexpected batch of lemons and turn them into lemonade. Then, they take that same lemonade and use it to quench thirst throughout their neighborhood.

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“I have a daycare center. I have a dance team. They keep saying ‘oh she did this for clout.’ My dance team alone has been in a commercial, in magazines, in newspapers, multiple parades. My daycare, we do the Mardi Gras prom,” Said Lady Brown. “I’m a real person and really, if you go look at my Instagram—I’m a good time. I am a good time. Just like I said one time before: If y’all call me and talk to me, I promise you by the time you’re done you’re gonna be like, ‘Oh, she’s a cool little chick.’ Y’all want to paint me as this money-hungry clout-chaser—and speaking of the whole money thing, I raffle off tickets each year to where parents can win free daycare for a year. Does that sound like I need to get some money?”

She added, “With my dance team, we hand out food baskets to the sick, the shut-in, and the elderly. They even do a performance. This is what I do, I give back. That’s why I said I was donating [some of] the GoFundMe to Dr. Obeng, and the rest of it I’m going to use to help out three families down here. That’s who I am.”

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And that’s word to all the welps in Welpington.

Until next time, my dearest and most attentive reader. Yours truly,

Lady Welpington

DISCUSSION

thedarkone508
The Dark One 508

“i cant win the internet” says internet sensation that originally had a tik tok profile and broadcasted on the app known for getting attention on the internet with dances, that they got gorilla glue in their hair and did not see a doctor about it immediately.

stop talking. just stop. go back the oblivion you came from. you got your internet attention, it just wasnt the attention you wanted.