Gabrielle Christina Victoria "Gabby" Douglas is one of this year's Olympic darlings.
As a member of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team, Gabby is the first African American gymnast and woman of color, in Olympic history, to win gold medals in the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.
When she won the gold the blogosphere blew up with a torrent of congratulations. But the blogosphere blew up unexpectedly with a deluge of condemnations, too.
Douglas's hair has been the topic of a ton of e-chatter since she stepped onto the Olympic world stage.
But in typical Gabby fashion, according to USA Today, Douglas simply responded asking, "What is the big deal?”
If Douglas wasn't privy to what the big deal was all about, the condemnations about it, she will quickly learn, lie at one of the roots of the universal denigration of black beauty.
This issue of black women's hair texture is inescapable and continues to dog us women all throughout the African continent and African diaspora-young and old. When a tsunami of criticisms poured in about Gabby’s over-gelled and under-tamed ponytail, and—yes, that very touchy subject for African American women—her nappy edges, it dredges up and fosters the misperception of how could any put-together and accomplished black woman with fleecy-wooly-wild hair be happy being nappy.
“Gabby Douglas needs to tame the beady beads in the back of her hair,” snipped one Twitter. Another outraged Twitter huffed and wrote "Jesus be a Hot Comb for Gabby Douglas Hair... Amen!"
While many sisters today might use a hot comb on their hair, hot combs also called straightening combs were around in the 1880's, sold in Sears and Bloomingdales catalogs to a predominately white female clientele.
Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American millionaire for her inventions of black hair products, didn't invent the hot comb; she popularized its use by remedying the perceived "curse" of nappy hair with her hair- straightening products that continues to this day bring comfort to many black women.
If Douglas from time-to-time uses any revised versions of Walkers products, her focus when she stepped out onto the Olympic world stage, was on winning the gold.
“I just simply gelled it back, put some clips in it and put it in a bun. Are you kidding me? I just made history.