Natural Power: The First Family of New York
Kinky, loc’d, braided, twisted, ‘Fro-nominal thickness, “natural” hair has always made a political statement in American culture and most significantly in the African American community. In the ‘60s- ‘70s being “natural” and rocking an afro represented an awareness, a pride, and courage to be your true self. That same sentiment can also be attributed to the newly-elected First Family of Americas favorite City.
Allow me to introduce you to New York City’s new Mayor, Bill de Blasio and his family.
He is a white male, born and raised in New York; a progressive thinker, public advocate and a liberal Democrat. She is his wife of 20 years, Chirlane McCray, an African American woman, outspoken feminist, activist, and writer, who was one of first to publicly out herself as a lesbian in the leading Black women publication, Essence Magazine. The odd couple met while both working for former NY Mayor, David Dinkins. The two met and de Blasio describes it as “love at first sight.” At least it was for him anyway ;) It took McCray a little while longer to know, but she eventually fell in love and now has the traditional marriage that she never imagined for herself.
The power couple along with their two teenage children, Chiara and Dante, have given a fresh and “natural” style to the scene and I am not just talking politics, I’m talking HAIR.
In recent news, Mayor de Blasio son, Dante de Blasio and his supreme-sized Afro has been a hot topic of discussion. Dante, 16, appeared in a campaign ad supporting his dad. Many believe that Dante de Blasio’s image and Afro helped spike votes among black and latino voters.
Critics also say de Blasio’s campaign focused in on Dante and stop-and-frisk, connecting white voters to the detriments of the program in a way that had never happened before.
During an interview with DNA Info, Dante said he first fell in love with the afro in the third grade, after being inspired by the African-American pride that was associated with the rise of the afro in the 1960s and ’70s. Ever since then, he said, it’s been a topic of conversation. “At the time I really just liked the style,” he said, “I was just bringing back the style that meant a lot.”
He explains his regimen for maintaining his ‘fro “Pick it out every day and I wash it every week and I get trimmed about once a month.” His mother’s friend, told the site that his Afro was inspired by Huey Freeman on The Boondocks (who was, in turn, inspired by Huey Newton of the Black Panthers).
Dante hair regimen raised some concerns with writer, Hunter Walker of Talking Point Memo, who decided to tweet his warnings to Dante’s sister and mom,
The comment provoked a swift response from Dante’s mom, Ms. McCray, who too is rocking the natural, loc’d style, tweeted this:
“Walker obviously knows little, if anything, about African American hair care!”
Which is probably most definitely a true! It’s true that most black Americans do not wash their hair as often as white Americans do, because our tresses, on average, tend to be less oily and thus require less regular attention.
Walker replied to McCray with an equally clueless and offensive tweet as his first,
“I’m assuming he showers more than weekly and doesn’t shampoo but the article wasn’t too precise.”
There is more to be said about where we are going and how far we have come in this country as it pertains to relating to each others preferences and differences. Much like The Obamas, The de Blaiso represent a new America with a style and freshness all their own. They represent a Nation worthy of the word “United” in it’s name!
“I realized that it takes a certain courage and strength to be visible,” states, First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray.