Jessica Szohr's Instagram On Black Women's Hair Is Not Going Over Well

Photo: Variety /REX USA.
Black hair has been a bit of a hot topic this year. From Giuliana Rancic's dreadlock faux pas to the Kylie Jenner cornrow controversy and Amandla Stenberg's thoughtful cultural critique of the way white people appropriate Black culture, we've talked about it a lot.

Which is why, maybe — just maybe — it seems like something that celebs might tread lightly around. And yet, Jessica Szohr bulldozed her way into the discussion this week without considering that she might be headed for a few land mines.

The Gossip Girl actress shared an selfie on her Instagram, posing in front of what appears to be a cardboard sign with a Sharpie message. "Black girls free yourselves from the white standard of beauty and stop wearing weaves," it read. Szohr captioned the black-and-white photo with two captions of her own: #weavefree and #exceptwhenimweaving.

While Szohr — who is of Caucasian, African-American, and Hungarian descent — can do what she wants with her strands, some of her followers were none too pleased by what seemed like a pretty judgmental assessment of what women of color should or should not do with their hair.

"Your mom is white, therefore your hair less coarse than mine/easier to manage. So it's easier for you to dismiss weaves than a black woman with coarser hair would," one user wrote on the post. Another pointed out that Szohr only added the second hashtag, #exceptwhenimweaving, after the post began to garner negative attention.

The actress — who, to her credit, has let the comments keep rolling instead of deleting the whole darn thing — addressed her Instagram followers directly: "Let's all relax," she wrote. "I am mixed and use extensions some times [sic]. It was a random message I saw on the side of the street. And who ever wrote that is probably happy you all are typing about it. For those of us who have hair and are fortunate enough to even use weaves...Cheers! And lets be considerate for the thousands of people who loose [sic] their hair every day to causes that [are] out of their control."

Sounds like Szohr's head and heart were in the right place. But let this be a lesson to the next high-profile person who wants to weigh in about ethnic hair: Be considerate of the context of your comments, because the best of intentions aren't always the part of the message people remember.

#weavefree #exceptwhenimweaving

A photo posted by Jessica Szohr (@itsmejessicaszohr) on