I’m Sending Thoughts and Prayers to the ‘Gorilla Glue Girl,’ Tessica Brown

Straight talk: Straight hair has been slowly killing Black women for years

Photo: Maksym Panchuk/EyeEm/Getty Images

I’ve watched in horror over the last few days as this tragedy unfolded when Tessica Brown said she used Gorilla Glue instead of the horribly named Gorilla Snot to lay her hair down. She apparently went to the emergency room this weekend and is thinking of suing the company because the product label didn’t say it couldn’t be used for hair.

I won’t criticize or “drag” her because most Black women have several horror stories in trying to get our hair to look like White people’s, and this story is no different. Tessica is like millions of Black, Brown, and mixed girls across the African diaspora who’ve gone to desperate measures to get our hair and edges to lay perfectly straight. I wrote about how my mom left a relaxer in my hair too long and didn’t read the instructions, which resulted in severe chemical scalp burns and my shoulder length hair literally melting off my head.

My hair texture, length, and thickness never returned, and my hair never grew past my neck until about two years ago—almost 30 years later.

My hair isn’t the only loss. My favorite hairdresser died from cancer at a very young age, and she said her doctor said it was from inhaling the chemicals from the shop. A lot of our hair care products, from chemical hair relaxers to braiding hair, are made from toxic chemicals, and we should limit our exposure or stop using them altogether.

My thoughts and prayers are with Tessica—not as a joke but for real because hair is serious for most women, and for Black women, it’s a source of pride, joy, shame, and great expense, time, and effort.

I hope her scalp isn’t permanently damaged, but most of all, I hope her spirit and mind recover from this traumatic and embarrassing mistake.

Lesson to learn: Black women — start learning to love our natural hair and edges in their natural, unruly state. And businesses — stop making Black women conform to European hair and beauty standards to be deemed “professional” or polished. The Crown Act should be state and federal as no one should be policing Black women’s hair and bodies.

Thank you Adrienne Samuels Gibbs for inspiring this piece and Nia Simone McLeod and Allison Gaines, Q U I N T E S S A, Kesia Alexandra, and all my natural hair #WEOC sistas for rocking your natural locs.

Gorilla Glue released the following statement:

Twitter statement from Gorilla Glue

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Writer, Founder WEOC and Editor of Writers and Editors of Color Mag Bylines in Zora, Momentum, An Injustice!, POM, Illumination, The Pink, and Better Marketing

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