The Times podcast: In praise of long-scorned Black women’s hair

Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars for a joke the latter made about the hairstyle of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, it brought forth the politics of Black hair, especially the hair of Black women. Long maligned, it’s getting more attention than ever, from the sisterlocks of prospective Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to anti-discrimination bills passed on the state and local level.


Today, we talk about the issue with two L.A. Times writers who bring their own personal history to the subject.

Host: L.A. Times D.C. reporter Erin B. Logan

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: Will Smith’s Oscars slap of Chris Rock settles it. We’re done with Black hair jokes

California becomes first state to ban discrimination based on one’s natural hair

The world of Black hair magic, according to an icon of L.A.’s hair avant-garde

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.