Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who was forced to step down as president of the Spokane NAACP chapter last year after it was revealed she had been pretending to be black, will be appearing this year at the Naturally Isis Braid-On, Economic Liberty March and Rally in Dallas, Texas. The announcement that Isis Brantley, the celebrity stylist, beloved natural hair activist, and owner of the Institute of Ancestral Braiding, had invited Dolezal incited outrage among many in the natural hair community who questioned why a woman accused of appropriating black culture would be featured at a black cultural event.
Brantley said she hadn’t heard of Dolezal’s reputation, but that she decided to invite her after she saw some of Dolezal’s braiding on television. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Brantley of the social media backlash she received after announcing Dolezal’s inclusion. “People threatened to boycott me. They are calling me a sellout and saying that I am ‘Massa’s girl’ or some mess like that. I just stopped looking and blocked everybody.” Brantley added that Dolezal would not serve as a keynote speaker, but would instead perform primarily in a “meeting and greeting” role.
Many fans of Brantley, who has fought to ease requirements needed for braiders to practice legally ever since being arrested for braiding hair in the late 1990s, said they doubted she hadn’t heard of Dolezal. “Sisters are hotter than a straightening comb in a beauty shop full of women on the day before Easter,” said Olinka Green, a Dallas community activist. The only “black girl magic” people wanted to see from Dolezal, Green added, was her ability to transform from “pale white to golden brown.”
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