Perm or weave? Rachel Dolezal puts hair questions to rest

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WASHINGTON — It’s among the many questions burning up the Internet since the Rachel Dolezal situation came to light.

Sure, we’d like to know why she identifies as black if her parents say she’s white. Or, what about that lawsuit against Howard University claiming discrimination?

But what Twitter REALLY wants to know is how did she get her hair to do that?

In one sign that she’s being treated like a black woman, folks are questioning how she nailed the look, from her bronzed complexion to the authentic hairdo.

“Everyone wants to know: How do you do your hair? Is it a perm, is it a weave?” NBCBLK’s Amber Payne asked her in an interview. “Everybody’s asking.”

It’s true. From long braids to curly weave, her various hairstyles have been the object of ridicule, admiration and speculation. As one person said on Twitter: “I know hairdressers traditionally keep secrets, but whoever did Rachel Dolezal’s hair all these years must have buried Hoffa, too.”

It comes as little surprise that her fascination with African-American culture would extend to beauty and hair care. Her LinkedIn profile includes “Master Artist, Model, Ethnic Hair Stylist and Piano Teacher” among past positions.

One person even dug up a talk the Eastern Washington University adjunct professor gave on the role of hairstyles in the Black Power movement.

Dolezal finally cleared the air in her sit-down interview with Payne after the interviewer pressed her, asking whether she uses ethnic hair care products such as Mixed Chicks or Miss Jessie’s.

“Because you’re you and I’m here, I’ll tell you. If I’m at the grocery store or anywhere else I’d be like, ‘none of your business; back off,’ ” she said. “This is a weave, and I do it myself.”

She went on to say that, as a stylist, she has done dreads and braids for others, too. No one has come forward yet as a client, but her mother told People magazine that she has a gift for applying makeup.

As for her complexion, Dolezal told NBC’s Matt Lauer, “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun” when asked about changes in her skin tone over time.

Why the current do? “I haven’t had time recently to change for a couple months,” she told Payne.

“Usually when it hits summer, I go back to my locks.”


  • superdave

    I wonder what the job description says for the role she played. Threaten people and make them feel uncomfortable until your lies become truths or until you get what you want?

  • Ashera Cabrera

    Not sure why this is newsworthy, but you have to admit that her hair looks absolutely gorgeous and well-taken care of. I’m not really into curly hair, but I love it. She might be using an organic shampoo or something, though I have to find her stylist first!

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