Are we for real?
On a day when Mayor Lori Lightfoot has to tell the world that while blacks make up 30% of the population in this city, they account for 72% of the deaths from this coronavirus pandemic, but we wanted to talk about why she got her hair done?
Apparently, this was deemed a public concern given that our mayor has been aggressive about asking us to stay home.
And in some minds, it is hypocritical for the mayor to get a haircut when barbershops and hair salons are shut down under a stay-at-home order.
What is it that we are supposed to chant?
“Stay Home. Save Lives.”
But I wanted to throw my shoe at the TV screen when reporters questioned the mayor about her “do” during Monday’s press briefing.
The question was not only asked but also dwelled upon.
And I cringed as I watched the mayor defend fussing with her hair.
“I’m the public face of this city,” she said looking somewhat taken aback. “I’m on national media,” and “I’m out in the public eye.”
The mayor also pointed out that the woman who cut her hair wore gloves and a mask.
“I’m practicing what I’m preaching,” she said.
But I couldn’t help but wonder if she had been a white male, instead of a black gay woman, would the subject of a haircut even come up at a time when death is knocking on our doors?
I don’t know what all those talking heads that advise us to “stay home” are doing about their beards, mustaches and manes, and I don’t care.
Whatever they’re doing, they are not on camera looking unkempt.
And while it may not be essential “to get your roots done,” as the mayor says in a public-service announcement, it is essential the mayor keep herself up.
“We are trying to do the best that we can under difficult circumstances,” the mayor told reporters.
“As an elected official and the public face of the city, I need to make sure that I am out there and visible through this crisis,” she said.
If the mayor says she needed to get her hair done, she needed to get it done.
After all, she’s not prissy.
There are enough memes of our mayor out there to show that to be the case.
Thankfully, there was a hairstylist willing to help her out.
While a lot of women — particularly those who wear natural hairstyles — can do their own hair, a trim — like tightening up a weave — is an entirely different matter.
Mayor Lightfoot’s haircut isn’t going to undermine the message that we all need to hunker down.
After all, the mayor got her hair trimmed for good reason.
She’s da mayor.
Is she really supposed to go out in public looking like Don King?
The meme-makers would have had a field day with that.
But this “gotcha” mentality in the middle of a crisis makes us look like the jerks President Trump always paints us to be.
“We’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot told reporters.
It’s certainly what I care about.
According to state health officials, 42% of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are African Americans, even though blacks make up only 15% of the population.
When I see younger African Americans unmasked, huddling at the bus shelters or on corners waiting to go into an “essential” business establishment, I shudder to think what the consequences of their actions could be.
The impact of the coronavirus will be felt in our communities and in our homes long after the health care community comes up with a vaccine.
Still, it doesn’t seem the appropriate time to be nitpicking over the mayor’s desire to be as groomed as she possibly can be under these circumstances.
I know that’s easy to say when you are where I am — sitting in the living room watching this pandemic unfold through daily news briefings and news reports.
But quite frankly, I don’t have room to be concerned about the mayor’s haircut.
I’m too busy trying to get the information needed to help my own family survive.