Just when it seemed Rihanna was going “soft” with her hair style (thanks to a mom bob last week), she emerged from last night’s American Music Awards with fresh hair and fresh controversy. No sooner had Rihanna appeared onstage than Twitter erupted with opinions about her slicked and bobby-pinned new look. For those unfamiliar, Rihanna’s hair was not a faux pixie crop, but what is commonly referred to as a doobie (pronounced by Dominicans as a tubi.)
A doobie is a wrapping process commonly utilized by women in African-American and Dominican cultures to keep their freshly heat treated hair intact. As celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson told the Cut: “This is a do they do to get their hair dry before they blow it out or flat iron it.” Says Jihan Forbes, a freelance fashion journalist who was vocal about it on Twitter, “It’s something you wear to go to bed, like tying you hair up in a scarf.” Forbes remembers: “If my mom saw [me] walking from my house to the corner store in a doobie, she would be like, ‘No, you can’t do that. You aren’t going to look ratchet.’”
Some believed that Rihanna’s hair was a deliberate statement, in keeping with her signature nonchalance. Gibson suggests: “I think she was just trying to say, ‘I’m Rihanna. I want to create trends. I want to be beautiful. As an icon, I can do whatever the fuck I want to do.’” Felicia Benson, a prominent African-American beauty blogger for ThisThatBeauty.com, agrees: “I think she did it to highlight a point of difference. She’s always pushing it and last night was no difference. To me, it seemed like, I’ll wear a doobie. And I’ll throw on some bedazzled hairpins.”
Judging from Twitter and Instagram, it was a polarizing move: Some questioned whether this was really a “hairstyle,” while others suggested that it should be brought to the mainstream.
The doobie quickly made its way onto Instagram:
Will Rihanna’s doobie become the beauty equivalent of the twerk? Forbes adds, “I’m looking at the comments already. Everyone’s initial concern is, They won’t let the hood have anything. At the end of the day, Cara Delevingne could end up wearing a doobie in Vogue Paris.” But could that be a good thing? Forbes muses, “I guess it could be a good thing for me and my laziness. When I go to the store, maybe I won’t be ashamed with my night cap on.”