Now that Rihanna has rocked a “doobie” at the American Music Awards, everyone is wondering: Will this become a trend?
The look, which the superstar wore to pick up the AMAs first ever icon award Sunday night, has caused a stir.
Why? The doobie is usually worn for setting relaxed hair with a slight bend without using heat — not as a polished look.
Rihanna’s style ruffles feathers
African-American and Dominican women have brushed their hair around their heads securing the hair with large bobby pins for sleeping at night while creating a slight bounce for decades. Thus, Rihanna’s choice of coiffure was akin to going out in public with curlers.
“Was Rihanna rocking a doobie last night? In public? On stage? My latina grandmother will be horrified,” tweeted WNBC New York anchor Darlene Rodriguez in a response that summed up the feelings of many black and Latina women.
On a positive note, one user responded with the assertion that Rihanna’s hair might lead to better understanding about black women’s hair — a topic that seems ever-mysterious to the general population.
“At least now everyone in America will know what it means when a black girl says, I’m bout to wrap my hair,” tweeted SweetTayPie0104.
People still fawning over the doobie
This happened two nights ago, but people can’t stop talking about it. Even top black hair and beauty experts are weighing in.
Speaking to style blog The Cut, celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson, famous for enhancing the tresses of Gabby Douglas, mused: “I think she was just trying to say, ‘I’m Rihanna. I want to create trends. I want to be beautiful. As an icon, I can do whatever the f**k I want to do.'”
Felicia Benson, of the popular blog ThisThatBeauty.com, added: “I think she did it to highlight a point of difference. She’s always pushing it and [Sunday] night was no difference. To me, it seemed like, I’ll wear a doobie. And I’ll throw on some bedazzled hairpins.”
Should the doobie cross over?
Yes, the popular singer, who boasts millions of Instagram followers and Vimeo plays, did enhance the style that night for her performance of her hit Diamonds by adding jewel-encrusted pins. Was that enough to upgrade what many see as tasteless to timeless?
Maria G. Valdez writing for the Latin Times begs to differ. “Going outside with a ‘doobie’ is like submitting yourself to a world of shame,” she wrote. “Women’s beauty secrets are kept in the privacy of hair salons, and you wouldn’t want your significant other to see you halfway through the beautification process. It’s just unacceptable. So please, although Rihanna rocked the ‘doobie’ (it pains me to admit it) please don’t make it into a mainstream trend.”
Lauren Valenti, writing for the Styleite blog, is more forgiving to the point of being curious. “For us, her look has not only stoked our interest in the doobie wrap technique,” she stated (after admitting she had never heard of it), “but also as to whether RiRi might have just started a new trend — one that makes setting hair with bobby pins the main event instead of just a preparatory measure.”
Race tinges judgement of Rihanna’s doobie
The acceptance of the style seems to fall along racial lines — for good reason.
Like many things deemed “ratchet” today, when it crosses over, many in the communities of color from which these styles are culled express discomfort at the appropriation. It is unclear how the general population may use (or misuse) the form of expression, and how perceptions of these trends may negatively impact the usually marginalized people who created them.
Then, of course, there is the concern that once the mainstream “takes” something indigenous to urban life, it won’t be enjoyable anymore.
“I’m looking at the comments already,” fashion journalist Jihan Forbes told The Cut. “Everyone’s initial concern is, They won’t let the hood have anything. At the end of the day, Cara Delevingne could end up wearing a doobie in Vogue Paris.”
Would that be so bad? Or is Rihanna’s doobie wrap about to become analogous to Miley Cyrus’ controversial popularization of twerking? Leave your comments below!
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.