Finding Gabby Douglas’ Strength

I never thought I would have a connection with a 16-year-old Olympian.  I haven’t won any Gold medals, nor have I been crowned “the best” at anything in my lifetime.  I just try to do a little bit here ’n there in an attempt to make a small contribution to society.  Who knew that my hair would be cause for such uproar?

Two months ago, I made the decision to remove my hair weave because it was causing baldness around my forehead.  Beyond accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, this is on the list of one of the biggest decisions of my life.  #keepingitreal

Yesterday, I received the following Facebook message from a family member who I haven’t heard from in a year:

My first thought was Gabby Douglas.  Did my relative not see the drama ensuing on International Television with Gabby Douglas?  Did my relatives and friends who were convening on my behalf to discuss the “atrocity” of my hair not see how much of an unnecessary distraction this has been for Gabby and BLACK folk in general?  I mean, I had heard that BLACK folk were complaining about her hair, but honestly I thought that was a typo.  Now I am clear, many of my people really DO have a problem with ourselves and how we were designed.

On the flip side, after taking out the $600 “easy, wake up, shake out, and GO!” weave and transitioning to the daily twisting, moisturizing, pulling & patting of my $200 natural kinky coils, I made a decision:  I am going to embrace me.  This is Kelly Chapman in her most pure, unadulterated state.  I even felt guilty putting on a lot of make-up with this new look.  I decided that at this point in time, I am going to learn to love myself not because of air-brush or a hairbrush.  Should I elect to put on a wig down the road or put in some extensions for either a photoshoot or a change of pace, I am CLEAR – I know who I am.  I know what I look like, and I embrace the ME that GOD designed 100% every day.  Whether my hair is straight, having a lovely day of coils or on the verge of a nappy Afro on day 5 – I will WALK OUT OF MY HOUSE BOLDLY.

…and let my hair do whatever she wants to do on that day.  I will rock ME.

I understand this concern was raised because I posted a ton of photos on Facebook of me working at the Kelly Chapman Ministries Mobile Pantry.  I was working in the 100-degree sun on the verge of heatstroke, passing out food to over 700 people in the City of East Cleveland.  As these “concerned loved ones” were viewing my photos, did they miss that I needed volunteers and/or tax-deductible donations for the pantry as they read my postings?  Where were they?  When I asked for prayer for my daughter’s vocal cords two weeks ago, did this same group convene, come over, or even call?  But the above message was sent after much thought and “prayer” to be exact.  And God supposedly said that photos of me passing out greens and bread with kinky hair to needy families is not “becoming”.   That my appearance is a bad look.  Or at a minimum, my hair is distracting them from being able to FOCUS ON JESUS???

Did Jesus make sure he had a “flat-iron” before he went out to feed thousands with two fishes and five loaves of bread?

I know that I have to accept that when I agreed to allow myself to be in the public eye, I would have to accept scrutiny.  I get people who “Pop-off” all of the time about lots of things:  Whether they like/dislike my music, my blogs, my posts, or my lifestyle.  People think I should fly all over the world for free and never ask for a dime to pay for my child’s food or shelter.

I could go on and on.  Yes – I get it all day long.

I really REALLY hope that God gives me the same peace that He gave to Gabby.  A peace that says, “I don’t have time for this”.  Even at only 16 years of age with a whole lot more years left than me, she doesn’t have time.

…and I don’t either.


Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2)