Imagine this: you’re just sitting in a coffee shop and hanging out with a friend. While minding your own business, two random strangers suddenly come up behind you and touch your hair without asking for your consent. Isn’t that uncomfortable and annoying? (It is.)
Well, that’s what just American singer Kelis had experienced.
On October 22, the “Milkshake” singer posted a video of her strange encounter with two women in Singapore who touched her hair without permission. She wrote: “I don’t even know what to say here.”
View this post on Instagram
In the clip uploaded on her Instagram account, the two women were seen casually approaching the singer and touching her braids. The two strangers were talking in Mandarin and seemed to be amazed by Kelis’ hair.
Kelis, who was visibly uncomfortable with what was happening, turned to the women and touched one of the women’s hair as well. It appeared that the two women didn’t get the hint and proceeded to touch Kelis’ hair—still without asking for her permission.
“Just embrace it,” Kelis’ friend quipped in the video, to which the singer sarcastically answered: “Oh, I like to be touched.”
Kelis has also explained on Instagram that she was caught off guard by the two women’s actions. “First, I was caught off guard. Second, they [two women] were enamored, as they should be,” the American singer said. “I don’t like being touched, and if we were in the States or Europe, my reaction would have been different.”
The singer isn’t the only one who became uncomfortable with the strange experience. Instagram users have empathized with the singer and shared their opinions and reactions to the video, with many of them sharing their similar experiences and praising Kelis for handling the situation with grace.
All comments are from the singer’s Instagram post
Now, while some may think that there’s nothing wrong with people touching women’s hair, especially Black women, you have to think again. For the Black community, their hair is tied with a uniquely meaningful history, symbolism, and values, and it’s an integral part of their identity.
Touching their hair without permission is wholly inappropriate and—as Dr. Tamecca Rogers of TulsaKids Magazine puts it—is a form of micro-aggression as it leaves an impression that it’s okay to touch their hair without their consent. Their hair doesn’t exist just for people to touch it like they’re on a display or something.
So, don’t go around touching their—and anybody’s—hair, okay? It’s disrespectful and a complete invasion of privacy. Let’s keep our hands to ourselves, honor people’s boundaries, and learn more about their history.
Other POP! stories you might like: