After more than twelve years of monthly publication, O, The Oprah Magazine is finally featuring its favorite cover star, Oprah Winfrey with her hair au naturel — no blow dryer, no flat iron, just a mop of kinky curls framing the mogul’s smiling face.
Inside the issue, she says sporting her natural texture makes her feel “unencumbered.” We say it makes her look fabulous. The ‘do, pegged to September’s annual “Makeover Issue,” takes years off the 58-year-old’s face and gives her that Beyoncé-in-the-summertime look that we love so dearly. It wasn’t always the hairstyle she wanted, though:
“I wanted to wear it close-cropped, à la Camille Cosby, but her husband Bill convinced me otherwise. ‘Don’t do it,’ he said,” she recalls. “‘You’ve got the wrong head shape and you’ll disappoint yourself.’ I took his advice.”
Good call, O! However, not everyone has had such a positive reaction to the cover. Fashionista has tackled the controversy surrounding Winfrey’s hair, delving into the scary underworld of internet commenters to find out why not everyone is thrilled with the look. One such comment, by user nubienne on PeopleStyleWatch reads:
“Is one of Oprah’s parents in possession of non-kinky hair? because that is the only way that is a picture of Oprah’s natural hair… unless we class texturisers or relaxers with a twist out as “natural” now. I don’t blame non-black people for loving it and believing Oprah when she says this is he “natural” hair but this BS is what makes actual kinky haired women feel inferior because THIS is a LIE. This is NOT what most black women have on their heads unless they are mixed at some level and no you don’t have to be light to have mixed hair. “
Others have lept to the TV mogul’s defense, attesting that their own natural hair looks very much like that of Oprah’s despite their not being of mixed descent. Many others, commenting on urban fashion site FashionBombDaily, seized the opportunity to express their wishes that Michelle Obama likewise embrace her natural hair. The FLOTUS is looked up to by so many, they argue, that such a choice would help young girls across the country with similarly-textured locks do the same in the face of a culture that idolizes smooth, straight, glossy strands.
We’ve got to say we agree them on that last point — if Viola Davis turning up to the Oscars with a natural ‘do made such a splash in the media earlier this year, imagine what would happen if the First Lady switched up her hair game. Whether or not Obama follows Oprah’s lead and ditches the straighteners, however, this eye-catching magazine cover starring a curly-tressed version of one of the country’s most celebrated African American women is certainly a step in the right direction.