WASHINGTON — Apparently, hearing that Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was rocking a most questionable handlebar mustache, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper decided to have his shaggy hair woven into cornrows.
He shared the news on his Instagram story on Tuesday, before getting in a workout at Marlins Park:
While you can’t see his full face, that appears for all the world to be a picture of Harper, with his Nats hat in the corner of the shot, with lyrics referencing Pouya & Fat Nick’s “Middle of the Mall” lyrics.
Fans and critics wasted no time responding. Twitter, known to be a breeding ground civilized discussion, split off in three directions as screenshots began to circulate.
In one camp, there was the general reaction of approval or passive indifference. Let’s call it the smallest group of people who responded to the image.
In the second–and perhaps largest–camp, are the people who think this looks really bad. There is objective value to this perspective, as this hairstyle looks really bad on Harper. It was a nice try, and it’s nothing personal against cornrows or Harper. Some people look good in braids, and Harper joins a large group of people who do not.
On the other hand, Harper did once rock the man-bun. So with that in mind, this is really not that bad.
In the third camp, there’s the issue of African American cultural appropriation. This group was irate, comparing Harper to other celebrity appropriators of cornrows, such as:
- Katy Perry
- David Beckham
- Alyssa Milano
- Britney Spears
- Kylie Jenner
- Coco Austin
- Bella Thorne
- Emeraude Toubia
- Lena Dunham
This is a complicated reflection of the discussion of race in the United States right now. It is also just a hair style belonging to a player on the disabled list, who won’t spend much time in front of a camera in the next several weeks.
Regardless of how you feel about Harper’s hair, it exists now and isn’t likely to get unwoven anytime soon. When was the last time he cared what critics thought anyway?