So this one Day I get an email saying that this TV show is looking for white fathers of bi-racial daughters. The premise of the bit is that we oafish Dads may be ill equipped to do the hair of our daughters, especially if they don’t have the same hair types as our collective selves.
That email was well directed.
I had never heard of the show and for good reason- this call was for its very first taping. What I did know was the name of the celebrity headliner, because every boy of my generation knows the name Tyra Banks.To make a long story short, you did not miss our episode. It never aired. Which makes this post exclusive footage, but that isn’t really my point. I will eventually get to some sort of point. Eventually.
So I show up, bi-racial daughter in tow, and I meet a bunch of other guys who are there to play the role of expert hair-doing dads. I am the only oaf. Normal.
Once the cameras got rolling I realized it wasn’t just Tyra but a cast of characters hosting the show including this one woman I know as Mrs. John Legend.
This is the part where I get to my point. Sure I was on a television set with celebrities and producers and such, but I was more interested in this ivy league professor, and academic rock star friend of mine who has a borderline unhealthy obsession with John Legend. The obsession is understandable as John is after all the coolest, smoothest, and arguably smartest crooner alive today, and here I am hob-nobbing with Mr. Legend’s Sports Illustrated cover gracing wife.
I told Chrissy Teigen I was good friends with someone who may be willing to pay me an unreasonable amount of money to somehow, anyhow, make her husband “available.” She admitted there were many people with the same intentions.
My wife is by far the best, I am more Doug Heffernan than Cassanova, and I am not even close to Tony Soprano, so Chrissy and I settled for texting my professor friend a picture of the two of us together.
And of course I had time to do all this because Tyra was working on my little girl’s baby hairs. Then, when it came my turn, they cut to commercial and a crew of actual stylists came in to do what they were sure I could not… make a pony tail.
Perhaps the reason why we didn’t air was my little girl’s hesitation to perform while sitting on Tyra’s lap. Too young to be star struck, she was comfortable enough talking, but Lil Bit refused to look into the camera and say “My baby hairs are on fleek.” She acted all shy and stuff.
Driving home I asked her why she wouldn’t say it. “Did you get scared?”
“No Dad”, said the seven year old, “I don’t know what fleek means. I’m not going to say a word I don’t know on TV.”
I am apparently even more deficient in teaching my children vocabulary than I am in making pony tails.
5 thoughts on “That One Time I Hung Out With Tyra Banks: My Baby Hairs are On Fleek”
Curious? Do your daughters see themselves as Black-girls or as girls who just happen to be Black?
After reading your Black history posts, it seems that for many we have a long way to go.
I moved down South with little understanding of the social and/or cultural limitations many put on ‘race’. I think the multiethnic diversity and exposure of my childhood kind of diminished my ability to understand the complaints many have about their mistreatment predicated on race.
My girls see themselves as bi-racial… but they are still young. We talk regularly and openly about race. My wife and I feel it is important they know and identify with both sides of their family, understand how the world works, and have the broad set of knowledge/experience to interpret events as they unfold in their lives. Race will likely always be a part of how the world interacts with them, including grouping them in with “Black” no matter how they self identify. It is a nuanced thing to help them value however they decide to identify, giving them that leeway, while still being intentional in ensuring they have a positive view of blackness, as our current society does not do this naturally.
Yeah, bi-racial seems to be more of an option these days. My dad was Creole and my mom is half-Spanish/half-Native but I always just saw myself as Black.
I don’t think I suffered much because of my race but apparently that is not the perceived norm. I was aware that I am Black but Panther and NOI teachings at the neighborhood head start program offered enough history to balance my perspective to what is seen in the media. Bourgeoisie relatives also helped to shape my level of expectations.
Honestly – being bi-racial myself – I’m not even sure about how I would parent a bi-racial child.
Oh, and are things any different for your family (racially speaking) in the IE than they were in other parts of the country?
My kids likely have a much more direct “white” family influence than you did. Me, and my side, are about as Anglo-American as they come. when you have that sort of direct link to the mainstream, it can have a bigger influence on your experience and perceptions. I have to be careful with that.
The IE are pretty good re our racial experience. Our school and neighborhood are very mixed; visible black middle class, lotta Latino, lotta Asian, and white. People mix but they never talk about race. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue, it just means people don’t talk about it… unlike Philly where everyone talked about everything all the time. Philly is just a rougher place which forced people to deal with their issues. Race was rarely THE issue but people understood it played a part in a whole slew of other issues. Cali pretends it doesn’t have anything to do with anything.
When we lived down south we would get a lot of suspicious reactions. People would see us all together and get real jumpy, waiting to see what our angle was.”We” weren’t natural so we had to be up to something.
Did you ever see the show air? My daughters and I still haven’t seen the show. Hope all is well!