Yes, I too, have been following the saga of the Gorilla Glue girl and I have some thoughts. I've read tweets, online articles, gossip sites like The Shade Room and TMZ, I even listened to an entire Clubhouse room filled with beauty experts, medical doctors, aestheticians and biochemists. Everyone is quite concerned about this young lady's hair - "Can the glue come out of her hair? Can her hair be saved? Will the glue strip nutrients? Does a solvent exist that will strip the glue without damaging her hair?"
And I'm like, "Seriously? Who cares about her hair? It's her scalp that we need to be worried about." From the first time I watched her video, I wondered, "What about her scalp? There is no way her pores can breathe under all that glue. Are the chemicals going into her pores?" Honestly, I wouldn't give a damn about my hair. Hair grows back. But damage the scalp? It's wigs, scarves and prayers that you have a cute shaped bald head for you.
I suppose I don't understand the obsession with saving the hair. I've never been afraid to do the big chop. It's just hair. It will grow back. I guess I got that from my mother.
The first time I did it, I was a senior in high school about to leave for Howard University. We moved to a small, very um... let's say, blue collar, working class, town in Pennsylvania and I allowed this lady in the mall beauty salon to convince me that a wave nouveau was the thing to do to my hair. (Protip: Black girls, never allow yourself to be seduced by a white beautician in a mall beauty shop). It was a mess. Totally damaged my hair, which had always been hovering a bit past shoulder length. (Admittedly, part of the problem could also be that I had a relaxer in my hair when she put the other chemicals in.) the shedding and breakage was crazy. The only thing I could do was chop it off so, taking cues from MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa, I opted for a two-tier mushroom cut with a reverse bang.
Hours and hours were spent in the salon over the course of my college years - like it was a damn job! Perms, wraps, trims, dyes... (I remember one particularly egregious 8-hour Saturday in a DC salon when my stylist was triple-booked and my thick ass hair just refused to dry under that wrap...) But I digress. By the time I went back home to NYC, my hair was once again, way past my shoulders and - this also being the prime of the MJB era - extremely blonde. But then the inevitable happened. My hair grew. My kinky dark roots betrayed my slick blonde strands and I realized, I can either bleach or relax, but I could not do both. Either the color was going to match or the texture was but, like sometimes happens in life, I could not have it all. So, I opted completely out! I went to the barbershop and did the biggest chop of my life. (Thank God I have a good shaped head!) I came out of there with a short ceasar that I then happily dyed a different shade of red or brown or blonde every other week. Then, once the hawk came out, it was time to grow some hair to keep my head and neck warm! So I did. I twisted and locked my hair, letting it grow halfway down my back.
I moved to Atlanta where I became known as the RedHeadDread bc of my long, reddish brown locs. I enjoyed that persona. She was sexy and free, flirty and flighty. But, after 13 years, when I was ready to evolve to the next stage in life, I had to shed the weight of that person and that hair. So I did. The day of Big Chop #3, I showed up on stage at the Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival with a low 'fro to receive an award for RedHeadDread and confused the hell out of everybody.
This is really just my long way of saying that we are not our hair. Long, short, kinky or straight, it's only hair. Yes, our crowns are a big part of who we are, but you cannot cling to something so hard that it outweighs your common sense and safety. Tessica's hair is majorly damaged but let's hope for her sake her scalp is not.