Is African Economist Dambisa Moyo’s Weave Hurting Her Message About African Emancipation From Neocolonialism?

Some Africans are very  upset that economist Dambisa Moyo is rocking a weave. Weave politics is a very important issue in the African Disapora.

Dambisa Moyo she is an intelligent, glamorous, Zambian born economist. I think it is wonderful that an African woman is speaking up about African economics and politics.

I respect Dambisa Moyo, her educational credentials cannot be disputed. Ms. Moyo is an expert on the topic of economics and that’s why I believe her book “Dead Aid” is a very important book.

Ms. Moyo’s accomplishments are very impressive, she has a doctorate degree in economics from Oxford University, she also holds a  MBA degree from Harvard. In addition, Ms. Moyo holds a MBA in finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from American University in Washington D.C.

For centuries, the social constructions of African womanhood has been very negative. African women have been dehumanized since slavery that they are not beautiful, sexually desirable, or feminine.

Of course, black women have challenged the racism, patriarchy, and misogyny. Black women  are beautiful, sexually desirable and feminine.

However, the discourse is,  black women must conform to whiteness in order to be palatable to the mainstream culture.

Weave politics is a very serious issue. For instance, a few years ago a white female Glamour Magazine editor criticized black women that wear the afro and other natural hair styles such as twists and braids.

Some black women have been fired from their jobs and encountered employment discrimination for not wearing weaves or getting perms to straighten their hair.

Black men we have it easy, we can just walk into a barber shop get a hair cut for twenty dollars and that’s it. For black women, hair is a controversial issue

and yes hair has an impact on the lives of black women and black families.

Some African women believe they must conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty in order to be successful in society. For instance, in the pop culture,  Tyra Banks,  Beyonce, Venus & Serena Williams, are examples of  beautiful black women yet they all wear weaves.

The question remains, why do black women wear weaves when they have their own “natural hair?”

The American pop star John Mayer’s racist and misogynist comments in Playboy Magazine about black women presents  a modern example of this  dehumanization of black women.

Mayer’s comments attempt to separate black women from their rightful place in femininity. The subliminal messages of Mayer’s comments are that white women are more feminine than black women.

Dambisa Moyo she criticizes white pop stars Madonna, Bono, and Bob Geldof as being  “white saviours”. She believes the white celebrities intentions for the African continent are  racist and not altruistic.

However, another point to consider is, isn’t Dambisa Moyo also dishonest?

Hair is an important symbol of what a person thinks of herself . A hair style is a  presentation, it is an image a person presents to the world.

However, I wonder if some of the complaints about Ms. Moyo’s weave are sexist? After all,  why are people paying close attention to Dambisa’s Moyo’s appearance? Should it matter that Dambisa Moyo wears a weave?

Ms. Moyo she wears this brown mop on her head yet it appears to me her mind is still colonized. For instance, Mary J Blige and Beyonce are hypocritical, they construct this image that they are  strong black women yet they wear blonde weaves.  Mary J Blige and Beyonce are conforming to Eurocentirc standards of beauty.  I feel that blonde weaves are not a good look on black women. I believe blonde weaves reinforce images that black women are conforming to white standards of beauty.

Now, for people who don’t know  “weave politics” I  suggest  you watch Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair.”

A weave is basically  hair, it can be “real hair” which is more expensive or “processed hair”.

A woman can purchase the weave from a store or  hair salon and a professional styles the hair to make the weave appear to appear authentic.

Some Africans, believe Ms. Moyo is very hypocritical, that her weave distrupts and blurs her polemical book. Some critics charge Ms. Moyo she is sending mixed messages.

For instance, in Dambisa Moyo’s book “Dead Aid”,she  says that African countries must become independent from the Occident.  Her argument is the Occidental countries should cut off foreign aid within ten years. According to Ms. Moyo, foreign aid does not allow African economies to grow and be independent from neocolonialism .

Ms. Moyo argues that foreign aid creates a cycle of dependency and allows corrupt African governments to obtain “free money.” Ms. Moyo believes the corrupt African countries are not developing the infrastructure within their own countries. For instance, foreign agencies are creating schools, providing health care, and education.

Ms. Moyo’s message is that paternalism, racism, and neocolonialism are the root cause for foreign aid. The Occident wants to keep African nations poor in order to maintain the revenue that African countries generate for their economies.

However, Ms. Moyo’s African critics charge she is a hypocrite, she is preaching to the world that Africans must become independent from Europeans yet Ms. Moyo conforms to Eurocentric standards of beauty.

Shouldn’t Ms. Moyo take her own advice and cut off her weave and wear a natural hairstyle? Did Ms. Moyo’s publicists or agents tell her that a weave is important to sell her book to a white audience?

I am not suggesting that Ms. Moyo should not wear the weave if this is the hair style she feels most comfortable with. However, I can also see the argument of  the African people they believe  Dambisa Moyo’s  appearance cannot be separated from her message.

About orvillelloyddouglas

I am a gay black Canadian male.

20 responses to “Is African Economist Dambisa Moyo’s Weave Hurting Her Message About African Emancipation From Neocolonialism?”

  1. Colette R says :

    I just had a discussion with my Ghanian co-worker today who thinks I have an identity crisis because I say I am from NYC, not Jamaica (which I am very proud of and I have locs). I asked her how can she tell me that when she wears that hell of a weave on her head. She had to shut up.
    As Malcolm X did say, some people need to remove the kinks from inside their head first.

  2. Lang B says :

    I am sorry- I will keep saying it… Black women need to get a clue. I am against exaggerated weaves (down your back- blonde) to me it sends the wrong message about black beauty. So these women are only beautuiful with synthetic mops on their heads.People argue that white wome get weaves- yeah but their hair looks like that normally. Dambiso’s hair LOOKS fake. SAY NO TO TRASHY WEAVES LADIES! I am tired of looking at black women with plastic hair. Locks, short crop or afros is what BLACK hair is and does.

  3. orvillelloyddouglas says :

    I think the long weaves some black women wear down to their backs proves how entrenched white cultural domination is. Black women are beautiful and it is sad that some black women feel they must conform to white standards of beauty to feel attractive.

  4. EL says :

    This is unbelievable! This highly educated woman’s message is being overshadowed by something as shallow as her choice of hairstyle. The self hate lives on and will continue to divide and conquer!!!!!!

    • orvillelloyddouglas says :

      El are you black? I have to ask this question, because if you are not a black person you would not understand “weave politics”.In the African Disapora, the “weave” is a very controversial issue because it relates to white supremacy and the colonization of the black mind.

      Now here is Dambisa Moyo, she is a scholar, she is a very educated, beautiful black woman. However, Ms. Moyo she is wearing a long brown weave on her head. I think Dambisa’s message loses substance because she is saying Africans governments must become independent from white people.
      However, here is a black woman wearing a brown mop on her head? Give me a break!

  5. EL says :

    Orvillelloyddouglas-we can debate this until the cows come home and would not come to an agreement. A woman’s hairstyle no matter what race should over shadow the message.

    In particular the one she is presenting: financial sustainability for Africa Nations. It is too important of a concept to be dismissed or diminished due to hairstyle choice.

    Independence for financial viability is more important than independence of superficial symbols. Of course politically – charity giving to African Nations is such big business for those involved-who wants to stop the gravy train and therefore; to discredit the message superficialty rules. People should be smarter than that–sorry Oville-I wish for too much.

  6. EL says :

    Sorry I meant Orville. By the way she is wearing a wig not a weave.

  7. Weaver says :

    Its a pity that from all the arguments Dambisa puts forward and for all her efforts all you managed to pick up was the fact she wears a weave. Seriously? This is the kind of shallowness that has landed Africa in the mess it is. ”Petty politics”. You totally miss the point. Sorry.

  8. Weaver says :

    Iam tempted to add that your article is a classic Pot calling kettle black case.

  9. orvillelloyddouglas says :

    Weaver, I am not saying Dambisa Moyo does not make a cogent argument. However, I it is interesting, here is an African woman she says Africans must become independent from Europeans yet Dambisa Moyo hair is a signifier of colonization of the mind. Moyo`s weave is pathetic she is telling black people to be strong, be free, and become independent yet she conforms to Eurocentric standards of beauty.

  10. Weaver says :

    *head hits desk*. seriously? weaver exits discussion.

  11. Nadia says :

    seriously, should Dambisa round around in Bark cloth too?? Much as I find her hairstyle horrible, I dont think we should be politicizing hairstyles or dresscode for that matter to this extent. Should she have won an “African outfit” ( which is nothing but alleged african print wax from Europe and sewed in Euro fashions)?? It is a pity that women are reduced to their appearance, while ignoring their message and capabilities. Men can be as ugly as hell, dress like shit, but still u dont hear nobody complaining about how they are dressed. Please stick with the real issues. I dont think Dambisa was trying to be a Fashionista ambassador with her message.

  12. Vincent says :

    This is absolutely ridiculous,her hair style has nothing to do with the issues she speaks about, this is a highly intelligent woman with real solutions and ideas for a functioning african economy. Why on earth are people focusing on her hair !? It’s nonsensical !

  13. Namo says :

    You just don’t get it do you ? I’m a fellow Zambian and sympathize with her arguments.No one is trashing or even dismissing them on the basis of her hairstyle. But in the wake of her book’s success she has become something of a symbol or “face” of African economics indeed listening to some a representative of the African Intelligentsia in general. What does it say that the “face” of African “brains” refuses to look like one of her own people ? Hmm ? This is not just about looks. Apparently it is not just femininity and beauty but intellectual capacity that are being distanced from blackness. And as for the “bark” comment you would not have to be black to don a loin cloth , hair texture however relates to inherent biological,and yes,racial traits.

  14. Vincent says :

    You’re extremely shallow to place so much significance on her appearance in relation to representing African Intellectuals. Though i’m sure she would find this article amusing. Her views on race most likely differ from your own. Its irrelevant to her. Shes a worldly person.She of course feels a duty to help her continent.” Femininity,Beauty and intellectual capacity being distanced from Blackness”. This seems to be of your own conjuring. Shes obviously a beautiful and intelligent person. Many would agree with this, rehgardless of “race”.

  15. orvillelloyddouglas says :

    Okay Vincent you are entitled to your opinion but my opinion is not shallow I am just being honest. Vincent whose feminity and beauty standards is Dambisa Moyo conforming to? I am not sure you understand my argument at all. Black women face incredible pressure by white society to conform to whiteness. The white female standard of beauty is forced on to black women across the world.

    I wonder if you know Vincent in Africa there are skin bleaching soaps that blacks purchase because they want to appear more white.

    In India, millions of Indians purchase skin bleaching soap because they are conditioned to believing that looking white makes a person more palatable.

    I understand Dambisa Moyo is a very intelligent, beautiful, black woman. I just think it is very sad that a highly educated, beautiful, black woman still feels the need to conform to white beauty standards.

    The personal is political Vincent. A public figure is judged not just by their words but also their actions and image. It is a part of being in the public sphere. Dambisa Moyo looks foolish with that bad weave on her head. Can’t girlfriend purchase a better weave? Dambisa Moyo is saying African people need to liberate ourselves from neo colonalism. However, I see a black woman whose hair is colonized. Dambisa Moyo talks a good game yet girlfriend is feeding into Eurocentric beauty standards. Did Dambisa Moyo purchase the fake weave in order to be acceptable in the white society? There are a lot of pressures on black women to conform to white beauty standards.

    Would Dambisa Moyo be respected if girlfriend rocked an afro or braids?

    Why is Moyo wearing a tired ass weave?

    She tells black people to be independent yet here is a black woman that wears fake white people’s hair.

    Dambisa Moyo’s weave does say a lot about her. First, the weave doesn’t even look that good it looks completely fake and whack!

  16. Susan says :

    Very interesting to see the various reactions. To put it plainly. What this article is gunning at (although from a very weak stand point) is that Dambisa is an African woman who is rocking a weave, you all (who think this ridiculous) can state how trivial this is but soon as you begin to ignore that which identifies you then you might as well lay down your pride.

    She is intelligent, check. Has a terrific resume, check. And it would be nice if she wld loose the weave, wig or whatever they call it (no pressure though). She doesnt even have to be the representative face for African intelligentsia to qualify such scrutiny. It’s time African women (that means African-American women too) embrace that which is significant to their roots and by the way Asian women have fallen to this mind colonization too. Case in point is India, they have one of the highest imports of skin lightening creams>>> because beauty for them lies in the tone of skin color (google social castes in India). Their women straighten their hair too, so may I say women all over the world, wake up, you are beautiful JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

    Overall, loose the weave Dambisa. Natural hair rocks.

  17. Danielle says :

    I think that her hair is irrelevant. We often essentialize ‘true blackness’ and ‘black pride’ as having natural hair. She may in fact still be brainwashed, and this is why she is adhering to Eurocentric standards of beauty. However, she may just like how it looks. Black women’s feelings of hatred towards our hair are very deeply entrenched, but I think it’s unfair to always assume that she is still mentally imprisoned by the residual effects of colonialism. Once we start reducing acceptable activism to some rubric in which all requirements must be met, we run the risk of alienating potential catalysts for change. What if she’s a Christian? (I am one too). Many would argue (and have argued) that Christianity, is a “white man’s religion” that was forced on us, and that if we really wanted to be free from white influence and paternalism, that we would revert back to the customs and beliefs of our ancestors. I know this post is about hair, so I apologize for getting off topic. But you see my point: Just because she is choosing something that is not in line with the standard definition of black liberation, this does not necessarily make her a hypocrite. Maybe she’s just tired of combing through tangles everyday, or with all of her degrees and speaking engagements, she just wants a style that requires very little maintenance. I don’t know one way or another, I just think we’re jumping to conclusions and not being fair with her. I’d like to see her address the issue.

  18. Anonymous says :

    Has anyone ever considered that Dambisa could have alopecia or an ailment that affects how her hair grows, and maybe that’s why she wears a wig?

  19. Anonymous says :

    Its ok for her to wear a weave, but why does it have to be so raggedy and cheap looking? Person of her status should go ahead and spend the thousand bucks it takes to get a top quality weave rather than that PVC, Chinese factory made, bought it from the Vietnamese hoodrat supply beauty supply type joint.

    Nothing wrong with a sista wearing a weave, but spend what it takes to make it look official.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 274 other followers

%d bloggers like this: