Justine Skye purple natural hair vs Katy Perry purple hair

Justine Skye (left) Katy Perry (right)

I’ve had a thing for colored hair for as long as I can remember. In middle school, all the skater chicks and alternative girls dyed their hair every color of the rainbow after seeing celebs change their hair color on a weekly basis. We frequently dyed our hair with Kool-Aid and Manic Panic to our parents’ dismay, hoping the rain never came or we’d end up with a t-shirt soaked with orange, purple, or green streaks. At the time, most of these celebrity influences were white, but I never thought anything of it. When Lil’ Kim showed up to the VMAs with a purple wig and her sparkly dress, I thought she looked like a mermaid. When Charli Baltimore blew up on the hip hop scene with neon red hair, I was jealous because I didn’t want to bleach my relaxed hair and have it all fall out. I opted for a more subtle red tint to appease myself.

It wasn’t until I became older and witnessed internet sites like No Way Girl and World Star Hip Hop frequently posting pictures insulting black women with colored hair  and categorizing them as “hood.” Recently, I added purple/lilac highlights to my hair and when I was showing my friend inspiration pictures from Tumblr, he responded that they reminded him of the hair color of “hood chicks in Baltimore.”


 Elle with her newly colored hair

What? I had never thought such a thing about creatively colored hair in my life. And no, I’m not talking about hair that emulates the infamous pack of Skittles hair picture or hair that is green because a woman has a weave made of money.



I’m simply referring to hair that is dyed an unnatural color. But the funny thing is, the current pastel hair trend and creatively colored hair look is donned by non-black women all the time (Kelly Osbourne being one of my favorites), and I’ve never seen them referred to as “hood” or “ghetto.” More often than not, people find the look creative and cute – more of a homage to My Little Pony rather than an around the way girl. For white women, the look is considered fun, but for black women, it can be considered cheap and classless. Is this fair? I think not.

When I asked my friend to elaborate on his opinion, he expounded on the fact that the hair adds to an overall look – the weave, fake nails, huge hoop earrings, and any other style stereotypically considered to be “hood.” If you couldn’t tell, I keep putting “hood” in quotes because I don’t see styles as hood and find that word to be way overused. But is that it? Is the hair itself not classless, but an overall look displayed by some black women? Well, that’s not really fair either. I guess you could say that on the flip side, white women with colored hair and an ill sense of fashion may be considered trashy (Sorry, Courtney Love), so perhaps it could be a look that reminds people of the negative, outlandish stereotypical view of you as a person, regardless of color. Either way, I would say that the smartest thing is to not judge someone off of the color of their hair, because you never know where the inspiration came from, whether it be My Little Pony or Fantasia (the Disney movie, not the singer), or simply a pack of tropical Skittles. And if it were a pack of Skittles, is that so wrong?


Do you consider unconventionally colored hair to be “hood” or “ghetto”? Do you think there is a double standard between white and black women with colored hair?


Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.


Elle is the editor and creative director of the YouTube channel and blog, Quest for the Perfect Curl at www.questfortheperfectcurl.com. Her channel focuses on natural hair, beauty, and fitness. She loves products that smell like dessert, yoga, and glitter. Follow her @qftpc.

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249 Comments on "Double Standard? Why is It Considered “Hood” When Black Women Experiment with Color?"

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I don’t think it is considered hood when ALL black women experiment with color at all. I think “hood” refers to the tackiness of the color choices coupled with the style. “Hood” means you are following ghetto fashion which usually lacks class and is not considered professional. As a VP of Human Resources I see it a lot and in the workplace. Some black women in my opinion can sometimes go overboard with color and styling and don’t seem to know what styles are NOT appropriate for work. If a woman showed up for an interview with either of the… Read more »
I’ve gone to work with my hair lots of different colours in the past. Absolutely no problem in blue chips or smaller companies including consulting companies. Like when I first had natural hair the only people who have an issue with other Black women not conforming to their standard in real life are other Black women. In regards to turning up with unconventional hair colours – purple or blue hair if you hair is naturally dark doesn’t stand out as much as on women whose hair is a lighter colour unless you bleach it. So Justine Skye’s hair would be… Read more »

O…I just had to point out that you said it would work better on someone with naturally dark hair, therefore it would be fine on Justine Skye’s hair, but not on Katy Perry’s hair in the workplace. Katy Perry’s hair IS naturally very dark, she just has much lighter skin, which makes the hair stand out more. Double standard? I do think the style looks better on Justine, but both women have naturally dark hair.


The fact of the matter is that these same distinctions and conditional statements aren’t made for white people.

There’s no, “it depends on how you wear it” “well, some of it’s tacky.”

I never see tacky white girls being described as “hood.”


And I think the girl in the above pic is pulling off the purple better than Katy Perry


Yea, whoever Justine Skye is, she’s killin it with that gorgeous purple hair! Do your thang girl!




Surprisingly Nicole Richie is actually Black and Mexican


You’re right! Apologies, I should have written non-black. I believe she identifies as mixed race rather than black, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ll fix it on my reprint and ask the editors to update.


Her biological parents are black and mexican (Sheila E. is her aunt), but she was adopted at a young age by Lionel and his first wife, Brenda (both Afro-American). She has often been questioned about her ethnicity, and consistently identifies as “black.”


She identifies as black. I was a big fan as a teenager, so i remember. She got the race question in nearly every interview, she would always answer that she was black.

Looking at your pic and the one of the model, “hood” was the furthest taught on my mind. I think your hair looks creative and fun! Wish I could do it but I’m #toodamnoldforallathat! I do agree that presentation makes the difference in how color is percieved. If you have a bold, bright color yet you style your hair in a natural way (like curls,twistouts, buns etc) then you might be viewed as a woman experimenting with color/or are creative. If you have neon hair that’s styled like a flamboyant cockatiel and give companies free advertisement on the side of… Read more »

it depends on the style. certain styles are hood. period. they originate from the ghetto and there’s no refuting that. however, that doesn’t mean, just because a black woman colors her hair a funky color, she is “hood”. hood is a mentality, a culture, etc. and every black person isn’t hood even if they are from the hood! it just really depends on the style and the mentality of the person…what the individual is trying to do

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