We cracked up at Ramsey’s hilarious parody because we could certainly relate, most notably to the scenes where she depicts her White friends reaching out to touch her lush, 8-year-old locs. Naturalisatas have long dealt with having strangers want to touch our hair, and Ramsey's series of comments in her video such as, "Is this real?" and, "It kind of feels like a Brillo pad" sound all too familiar.
We sat down with Ramsey to get her take on hair-touching etiquette and why so many people are still fascinated with Black women’s hair.
ESSENCE.com: What inspired you to include the scene about people touching your hair in your video?
FRANCHESCA RAMSEY: People are always asking to touch my hair so it’s something that I deal with on a regular basis. When I talk to my friends it seems like they deal with it too and that’s why I really wanted to put it in there. I think my experience is similar to that of a lot of people and it can be really awkward at times. I can recall an instance where I was in a meeting at work giving a presentation in front of my board of directors. I was taking questions at the end and someone asks, “Is that your hair real?” The man then reached out and started stroking my hair. It was completely bizarre to me.
ESSENCE.com: Why do you think there is such a fascination with Black women’s natural hair?
RAMSEY: It’s different. It’s unknown. It’s not mainstream. I’ve had a few people say to me that there really aren’t that many natural women in mainstream entertainment. We’ve got Solange and India Arie but they’re not on the same level as Beyonce or Madonna. So a lot of people don’t understand natural hair. They only understand what mainstream media tells them which is that most Black women wear weaves.
ESSENCE.com: What are your rules for hair touching etiquette?
RAMSEY: Keep your hands to yourself. If I know you and you want to touch my hair, you should ask me first and most of the time I’ll say yes. But if I don’t know you and you just reach out and touch me without asking or touch while simultaneously asking, I’m going to give you a side eye.
ESSENCE.com: In your video, there’s a funny scene where you depict someone calling your locs Cheetos. What are some other examples of things people have said about your hair? Do you find it offensive?
RAMSEY: The Cheetos comment was actually made to a good friend of mine and I thought that was hysterical! When my locs are curly, I've heard them called curly fries, but to be fair, they do kind of look like curly fries (Laughs). When people make comments like that or touch my hair I try to take it in stride. I don’t normally think that’s it super offensive which is something that has been a little misconstrued about the video. I don’t think saying the things in the video makes you racist or a bad person, it just means that maybe you are a little misinformed and sheltered. So that’s another reason I’m happy to have started this dialogue. For that very reason, I’ve done my job.
Check out Ramsey's "S**t White Girls Say...To Black Girls" video below.