Leave Tamar Alone! People, Can We Stop Equating Hair With Femininity?

Singer Tamar Braxton attends the Pan African Film Festival red carpet and screening of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther on Feb. 14, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Singer Tamar Braxton attends the Pan African Film Festival red carpet and screening of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther on Feb. 14, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Photo: Robin L. Marshall (Getty Images)

Grammy-nominated singer, reality-television regular and Braxton-family baby sister Tamar turned heads this week when she took to Instagram to post footage of her having her head shaved with the chorus of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” playing in the background.

The diva—as well-known for her array of hairstyles as for her multioctave voice—has notably been estranged from her longtime husband, manager, reality-show co-star and co-parent Vincent Herbert since last year, amid rumors of physical and emotional abuse, accusations that Braxton refuted in December.


We don’t know if shedding what often looked like a toxic relationship to viewers of WeTV’s Tamar & Vince led Braxton to decide to shed her locks, but it’s a major change to her look, which was heavily associated with wigs and weaves. Apparently, the big chop was done in honor of her 41st birthday, tomorrow on St. Patrick’s Day, which she playfully dubs “St. Tamar’s Day.” A post-shave Instagram post read:

[I’m] over feeling captive to a wig, weave, people, people’s comments & opinions hell...even my OWN feelings! WE can choose to stop these things from having the power and victory over us!! And for me, that starts TODAY.

But despite Braxton’s declaration of her own liberation from pervasive beauty standards, the internet, of course, had to have its say, weighing in on a topic that, frankly, no one asked its opinion on (and before you @ me with rebuttals about the price of a public image, prove you’ve never posted a selfie).


While the response to seeing Braxton’s beautiful face take center stage was overwhelmingly positive, inevitably, there were a few who felt the need to try to be cute—as if Braxton’s bold new look wasn’t cute enough.

Illustration for article titled Leave Tamar Alone! People, Can We Stop Equating Hair With Femininity?
Screenshot: Instagram

People, please. It is the year 2018, and at this point, no one should have to explain why all of the above is problematic. Yes, we remember Britney Spears’ infamous bald and window-bashing breakdown post-split from ex-husband Kevin Federline (and yes, we also know Spears covered “My Prerogative” a few years before, but that does not an Easter egg hunt make).

We also know the bald warrior women of Black Panther’s Dora Milaje are the hottest women to hit the screen so far in 2018. More importantly, we know that folks sound ass-backwards, transphobic and homophobic as hell when they compare a woman who decides to undergo the “big chop” to a gender nonbinary person. Whatever kind of feelings it triggers in you, you might want to keep them to yourself, because it’s not a good look, and nobody else’s identity is really your business.


And guess what? Even if you can’t get over your outdated notions of sexuality and gender (and you really should, for your own sake), we also know plenty of cisgender straight men with long hair (hi, Jason Momoa) and plenty of cis straight women rocking beautiful bald fades.


But none of that should really even matter. Like, for real: Grow the hell up.

As a woman who’s undergone more than one big chop—at times, to release the energy of the past, and sometimes solely for the sake of my hair health—I can vouch that it’s a very liberating experience. I can also attest that it didn’t change the way I express my femininity in the least. In short (pun intended), this kind of sexist idiocy really pisses me off.


Personally, we think this is the prettiest and happiest that Tamar Braxton has looked in years—and we hope she feels as good as she looks. That said, she might have a little work of her own to do, since her 4-year-old son snarkily called her “Mr. Mommy” after seeing her new look.


[Sigh.] Doing too much, indeed. Can we just do better, y’all?

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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She looks pretty. Her head is a good shape, unlike mine, lol.

And people suck so much sometimes.