On Tuesday, 16-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas led our women’s gymnastics team to a gold medal, the USA’s first since 1996. The bouncing, bubbly superstar will also be competing for the gold again today, one of just two Americans chosen after she outperformed media darling Jordyn Wieber, whom everyone expected to land a top spot. But instead of collectively celebrating her accomplishments on the Olympic stage —‘cause I know like you know we always root for the Black girl to upstage the competition — Gabby has been dogged with cruel criticism. Too many folk aren’t discussing her awe-inspiring leaps, bounds and accomplishments. Instead, it’s her hair that has become the topic du jour of some less-than-pleasant viewers.
No, it’s not runway-ready. But Gabby isn’t strutting a catwalk, so why does it need to be? She’s an athlete, competing on the world’s largest stage for the world’s greatest accolades. Did you catch that? She’s not just a champion of her block, or her borough, or her county or state. She’s one of the best in the world, as in all of Earth and womankind. At 16. Her hair may not be flawless, but her gravity-defying performances have been doggone close.
In the same way the phenomenal and oft-winning Williams sisters are dressed down for their colorful and sometimes skimpy attire, Dear Gabby has been blasted over an un-slicked ponytail. And I just don’t get it. Not only is it dead wrong to talk about a child, but I don’t understand why, with all she’s accomplished, her hair is even up for discussion. A gold medal trumps a fresh wash-and-set any day.