Gabby Douglas’ Mother Responds to Daughter’s Hair Critics


Natalie Hawkins Defends Her Daughter

After witnessing her daughter’s accomplishments being belittled by detractors who criticized the teen’s choice of hairstyle, Natalie Hawkins is speaking out. Hawkins, the mother of gold medalist Gabby Douglas, has had enough of people blasting her baby girl for her upswept bun common to gymnasts in the Olympic games. As previously reported the precocious teen responded fiercely to critics who likened her “nappy” hair to the underground railroad and made jokes about her forehead.”I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” she said. ”I’m like,`I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about [my] hair.”

Echoing her daughter’s sentiments, Natalie Hawkins spoke with about people’s hurtful statements and lambasted them for possibly hurting Gabby’s performance. “How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go. Are you trying to ruin her self confidence?,” asked the angered mother. “She has to go out there and feel good about herself, and if she feels good about herself on that floor, who are you to criticize her? What have you done to help contribute to her dream, that you felt it necessary to put it out there so that she could see it.”

Hawkins’ point was well made, Douglas did not receive another medal after last week’s all-around individual triumph and p0laced last in the uneven bars and seventh on the balance beam after falling off the apparatus. Could people’s comments have affected her focus? That is no doubt a possibility.

 Her mother says however that despite what people may think, Douglas’ hair goes through hours of upkeep by a hunted down hairstylist in her host town of Des Moines, Iowa. Douglas actually lives in the midwestern state with the Partons, a white family who agreed to “host” her while she works with famed trainer Liang Chow. She is 1,200 miles away from her mother. And while they are no doubt a blessing, the Partons do not have experience with black hair making for another additional tribulation.  “She lives with a white host family and they don’t know anything about taking care of her hair,” Hawkins told Fashionista, “And there’s no black salons in their area [in Iowa] –- not one. We had to work really hard to find a stylist to come and do her hair.”

(L to R) Missy Parton, Gabby Douglas and Natalie Hawkins

So what does her trainer Liang Chow think of the pint sized Olympian’s look? “She’s beautiful, you don’t need to change her hair,” Hawkins says he told her. “We need to focus on training, hair is secondary.”
We couldn’t agree more. -danielle canada  



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