Tonight Alive is an Australian rock band that recently announced their third album, Limitless, due sometime in 2016. I’ve known about this band for a couple years and enjoyed their last album, The Other Side. Tonight Alive is fronted by Jenna McDougall. When promotion for Limitless and their new single, “Human Interaction,” started getting traction, I couldn’t pay attention to the music at all. I could only focus on one thing: Jenna’s hair.
In recent photos Jenna has been seen with box braids. Box braids are a type of protective hairstyle that black women wear. This type of hairstyle helps protect a woman’s natural hair in a way where little damage is done to it.
Being a person of color (black & filipino) in the rock scene, I was astounded when I saw a minuscule amount of people talking about this very important subject. PoC (people of color) are already underrepresented in this scene and when an issue like this comes about, it’s as though people try to hide behind their ignorance or block it out in its entirety.
I’m here to talk about it. Representation is very important (especially in this scene) and I need to speak up on why Jenna’s choice in hairstyle is offensive.
Black women have been criticized for having their hair worn in certain styles, such as box braids, for years. Even in 2015, people still bash black women for wearing these certain protective styles. Now, when a white woman does this hairstyle, it suddenly becomes “edgy” and “different.” You see where the issue is? You cannot take a part of black culture and wear it how you want, especially when black women get called out for having this very hairstyle. There are various articles that discuss how it is more than just a hairstyle to us. There’s historical context behind all of this because today black women are being fired over their hair and they ways they choose to style it. We get dragged if it’s straightened, natural, in a different hairstyle, in a protective hairstyle, a different color, etc. I’m amazed that some people are praising Jenna for her hair…it’s actually ridiculous.
The scouring Instagram comment’s from the pictures Jenna has posted predominantly defend her and say that she can do what she wants, it’s her hair. This is wrong. What Jenna is doing is cultural appropriation. In the smaller rock scene, most people don’t see this as in issue because they don’t understand the historical significance behind it all. It’s bigger than a leader singer in a band, it’s bigger than fans of Tonight Alive thinking that this is okay. It’s a societal issue that in 2015 people are still facing. So yes, Jenna McDougall, your current hairstyle does offend me. I need everyone in the alt-rock community who are too small minded to grasp this concept, to realize it as well.
Are you ready to fight for something? ?? VIP Package tickets to #TheFightForSomethingTour with @setitoffband are now online! ?? http://fightforsomethingtour.soundrink.com ?? Numbers are limited & some dates are sold out already, so visit the link to check out what your package includes! (General sale for stand alone tickets opens this Friday) ? Photo by @jordan_kelsey_knight
I apologize if this takes away from the tour announcement, new single, and album artwork…I think this issue is more important.