Can We Allow JT to Experiment With Her Beauty Looks in Peace?

Getty / Prince Williams

Image Source: Getty/Prince Williams / Contributor

It seems like every time Jatavia Johnson, better known as JT, posts on the internet, a thinkpiece follows. Known for sporting bold looks like V-cut bangs, blond bobs, and even green hair, the City Girls rapper has become a beauty role model for glam, alternative girls everywhere. But not everyone is a fan of her makeup, hair, and fashion choices – and the internet mob isn’t afraid to voice their (not-so-positive) unsolicited opinions.

“Why they put that wig on JT like that??” one user on X, formerly Twitter, wrote in reference to a photo used to promote the City Girls’ upcoming album. “That’s that Uzi getting to ya,” another said when JT wore a multicolored wig for a Beats ad on Instagram.

As has been proven time and time again, there is no one way to “look” like a Black woman. So why is it that when one of the most famous rappers of our time decides she wants to experiment with her appearance, she can’t do so in peace? Colorful hair or geometric cuts aren’t relegated to one sector of the human race, so why does she need to remain in this box that so many people want to put her in? Being a rapper doesn’t have to look like extra-long jet-black hair extensions, a soft beat, and long nails.

This is a plight that trailblazers before JT have also encountered. More than two decades ago, Lil’ Kim was critiqued for the way she dressed and her penchant for colorful hair and makeup. Missy Elliott was called weird and was forced to deal with inappropriate questions about her sexual orientation. Now, the two are finally getting their due applause: Kim has become revered for her foresight in merging beauty, fashion, and rap, with with the Baltimore Museum of Art displaying four recreations of the wigs she wore in the late 90s and early 2000s earlier this year. Elliott, meanwhile, is getting her flowers as people finally realize her creative genius.

History is supposed to teach us something – so what’s the lesson to be learned here? People might mock JT now, but in a few years, when everyone is trying to emulate the looks she’s currently putting out, she will be the one laughing.

It doesn’t seem as if JT has let these comments bother or get to her. However, for the young Black girls who look like her or want to experiment in the same way she does: do not let the opinions of others force you into some man-made box of expectations. Let JT serve as proof that you can continue to play with your makeup, hair, and nail choices until you find what makes you feel best. If, for any reason, you ever second-guess your journey of exploration, please remember that Black women have been the blueprint – and you can be just as iconic.

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