Jack Harlow: From Brandy to bonnets
Thank you to Jon B., the Lawrence brothers and other white men who don't make me stare off into "But Why?" land
Jack Harlow choosing to wear a bonnet in public is stupid. I could try to find some clever way to open this post, but I’d rather just say that. I’ll admit ahead of time that I’m not a fan of his music nor even his collaborations. (“Psychic” may have been the song that Mainstream America was discussing on “Breezy.” But “Call Me Everyday” and “Survive the Night” are the best songs on Chris Brown’s 10th album — with entertaining promo from Jacob Latimore and Kevin Hart making those songs even better.)
Regardless of that, I’m aware that some sistas really have a crush on Jack Harlow, and that’s their business. I could stand on every “Bop” and “Teen Beat” magazine I ever owned to cheer on Matthew Lawrence and Chilli, so I do have my white boy crushes too. On a similar note, the best part of the “Brotherly Love” podcast is the trio of brothers belting out the most random ‘90s R&B songs — without their physical appearance looking like they study BET.
Meanwhile Jack Harlow is about three seconds away from saying “wifey” 50,000 times like Robin Thicke, getting cornrows like Justin Timberlake* or putting on a doorag like Eminem. Every time these moments happen, I stare off into “But Why?” land. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. There’s a reason black folks were as ecstatic to see Jon B. as we were Donell Jones on the “Soul Train Awards” and as an early guest on “R&B Money.” The Jon B.’s, the Lawrence brothers, the Chris Evanses and the Jon Bernthals of the world know you don’t have to try this hard. They stay in their lanes, live their especially cute white men lives and get a head nod of approval for doing so.
This brings me to my next point: the controversial bonnet moment at the Louisville City Football Club game on June 11. I don’t know what’s up with this guy and why he enjoys “But Why?” land so much. Just when I stopped shaking my head at him for not knowing who “Ray J’s sister” is, he does this nonsense.
I could easily go into the reason why black women wear bonnets on their heads and black men wear durags, but this TikTok user explained it well already. I could point out that absolutely nobody I knew was on board with Eminem and his durags either. I could count off my 41-year history of seeing black women who are relatives, friends and associates wearing bonnets, scarves and silk wraps on their heads before they went to sleep. And while most of the older ones would agree with comedian Mo’Nique’s dismay about wearing them in public, so far, this had been an insider’s debate.
But you would swear that bonnet-wearing for white people is about as common as a Chicago Cubs cap, judging from the way the European historians have popped up on Twitter. Every other comment looks something like this, with discussions about how in the 1800s, these “sleep caps” were worn by European women. I can’t speak for all black women, but I can say that any who have ever watched five minutes of MeTV knew this already. Also, you’re still missing the point.
Here’s the flaw in that pro-history argument:
It’s 2023 and the bonnets black women are wearing now are found in beauty supply stores largely and damn near exclusively surviving from black dollars.
Absolutely none of these Twitter users giving an ode to the European Calash (or the bonnets purposely sprinkled throughout this post) mention even ONE TIME about how their own mothers, sisters, aunts or even grandmothers wear a bonnet RIGHT NOW.
“Curly” hair on a white guy does not equate to the same texture as a woman with Type 4 hair. (And if you don’t even know what “Type 4” means, you definitely should remove yourself from the bonnet conversation.)