Sydney N. Sweeney

Let’s talk about Justin Bieber’s hair

Because that shit is more than just ugly. It’s racist — and proves that Bieber’s “allyship” is performative. Gasp!

A photograph of the backside of Justin Bieber showcases his two dreadlocks, tied into two pigtails. He’s wearing a football jersey.
Justin Bieber in his new dreadlocks.

You cannot call yourself an ally to my community if you — a racially and ethnically white individual — wake up one morning in the year of 2021 and think, damn, I’m gonna get my pasty ass some dreads today. Because simply not doing that (and therefore not engaging in anti-Blackness) is, surprise, pretty fucking easy.

…To me, and millions of others who are legitimately trying to dismantle systemic and institutionalized racism and anti-Blackness, the singer’s new dreadlocks are a swift reassurance that as much as Bieber frames himself to be an ally to the Black community, he’s just another white kid infatuated with Black things — but uninterested in Black liberation.

I guess I understand why probably no one wants to be the nigga who tells Bieber what’s right from wrong. There’s a sizable chance that truth runs a risk: the jeopardy of losing a client, a collaborator, a gig, a “friend,” and, above all, access to someone with power, money, opportunity. But in this case, the cost of being yes folk is high and humiliating; the Black people that surround Bieber are enablers.

Sydney N. Sweeney is a writer, editor, and critic based in Los Angeles. Her work focuses on culture, music, identity, and pop nostalgia.