Does North West’s Ponytail Really Deserve The Backlash?

Photo: James Devaney/GC Images..
Update: After Kim Kardashian West shared another photo of North with straight hair, her followers expressed concern over what the heat damage might do to the 5-year-old's hair. Kim responded tweeting, "She is allowed twice a year, on her birthday and birthday party! This pic was taken back in June on her bday." So rest easy, world: Northie's curls (and clothes... and life... ) are still better than all of ours.
This post was originally published on June 15, 2018.
The Kardashian Family is kontroversial, to say the very least. And personally, I have no problem admitting my qualms with them. But damn it, do they have some cute babies. And I've got a special place in my heart for North West, who turns five today. Aside from the fact that she's the oldest of three — like me — she's also got so much of her mom's style and her dad's personality all wrapped up in one. ("No pictures, please!")
I may roll my eyes at the rest of the family's selfies and #sponcon, but I always double-tap whenever Northie's on my feed. This time around, I couldn't help but notice all the negative comments about the pre-schooler's hair, pulled up in a long and sleek Ariana Grande-style ponytail — possibly accented with extensions — and a single cornrow.
Some chose to hone in on the fact that West's hair is unusually long. Others expressed their concern about Kardashian choosing to straighten her eldest daughter's hair. "North keep getting her hair straightened... she won’t have no curl pattern when she turns 5," one person tweeted. Others agreed: "I don’t rate how Kim’s started straightening North’s hair already... man let her embrace her natural hair."
Again, plenty of things that the Kardashians do are debatable — but Kim letting North get a ponytail for her party doesn't seem like a huge deal in comparison. It's a Black girl rite of passage, if anything. When I was a kid, my mom always took me to the hair salon for a birthday press and curl, so that my hair would look nice for class cupcakes and pictures the next day. The same thing went for Easter Sunday and graduation ceremonies, too. That didn't mean that my natural hair wasn't as pretty... straight hair was just a treat to switch it up on special occasions. And when I got cornrows or braids for protective styling, my mother would allow me to get shoulder-length extensions, too.
Despite those one-off hair appointments (and even relaxers later on in life), my curl pattern and sense of confidence is still flourishing as an adult. My long-ish braids didn't lead to a a lifetime of bad decisions (not that many, at least) and I look back on those early pictures of me with nothing but fond memories, feeling like a "big girl" in the salon chair.
As long as West's hairstylists use a heat protectant spray, and keep the flat iron at around 300 degrees, little Northie should be just fine. I've got faith in Kardashian — after all, she sought lessons from Kim Kimble on how to braid and style her daughter's hair. More importantly, it seems like North already has a strong sense of self, along with plenty of love and affirmations from her huge family. That will never change, whether she's wearing her hair straight or curly.

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