What to Read Next

Gabby Douglas' Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter's Hair

August 7, 2012
Gabby Douglas' Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter's Hair
Gabby Douglas' Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter's Hair

Although she has won two gold medals, Gabby Douglas is making headlines for more than her Olympic victories in London -- with some critics slamming the 16-year-old's hair for its appearance and supposed failure to "represent" the African American community.

Douglas' mother, Natalie Hawkins, quickly slipped into mama bear mode to defend her daughter -- and her spunky ponytail.

"How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go?" Hawkins fumed to Fashionista.com on Monday. "Are you TRYING to ruin her self confidence?"

PHOTOS: Meet Team USA's gymnasts


Douglas' chemically-straightened hair, pulled into a ponytail with barrettes and gel, matches the coifs of her four Caucasian "Fab Five" teammates Aly Raisman, Mckayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber. Since gymnastics involves flying through the air, strands are bound to fall out of place. But it's not just the style that is under fire -- it's the fact that the 4-foot-11 teen is an African American rocking straightened -- not natural -- hair.

"It's really been African American women that have come out and attacked her," claimed Hawkins of the tweeters who criticized Douglas. "They don't know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28 to 30 hours a week. We grew her hair out because she preferred long hair."

PHOTOS: Ha! Stars choose their Olympic sports

"I'm not going to make her cut her hair just to please someone else," Hawkins added of women who want to see Douglas with unprocessed hair in the form of braids, an afro or kinky curls.


Together, Douglas and her mom are approaching the hair controversy with a sense of humor. "She said, 'Really?! I won two gold medals and made history and my hair is trending?' So we laughed about it," Hawkins recounted.

PHOTOS: Team USA's all-stars

Hawkins isn't the only woman rushing to her daughter's defense. Actress Gabrielle Union shared her thoughts via Twitter.

"Gabrielle Douglas is a winner I am proud of her. She is beautiful exactly the way she is. She's #Gabulous. #byehaters," Union, 39, posted on Sunday days after Douglas took home the gold for the Women's All-Around finals, becoming the first African-American woman ever to accomplish the feat. "Anyone who insults a TEEN who's accomplished so much while displaying grace and dignity is beyond lame and should be ashamed of themselves. #byehaters."

This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Gabby Douglas' Mom Slams Criticism Over Daughter's Hair

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

This Movie Deal Is Sure To Get Your Attention!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Compare rates. Save big.

We'll compare rates so you have more time for important things… like cats.

Novant Health E-Visits

Have the Doctor at your fingertips. Visit novanthealth.com/evisit.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

What Causes Heartburn

Wondering What Causes Heartburn? Learn About Causes of Heartburn, Including the Types of Food That Can Trigger Heartburn.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Help your customers on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's customers are social, so you should be too. Read this e-book to learn six things to consider as you plan your support strategy.