One of the most unexpected celebrities to emerge out of this round of mayoral campaigning is Dante de Blasio’s excellent, much-photographed hair. Candidate Bill de Blasio’s 15-year-old son starred in a campaign ad earlier this month, calling his dad, among other things, “the only one who will end a stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color.” It was a little canned (we doubt most teenagers get that excited about their parent’s “bold plan to build affordable housing”), but sweet nonetheless.
Besides galvanizing the discussion about Younger De Blasio’s ‘do, it’s had a nice side effect: a race that was mostly about Anthony Weiner’s penis just a month ago has turned into, at times, a more substantive discussion about race and class inequality. Other times, it’s just a stupid, mean series of semi-veiled insults about a black kid’s hair, like when Hunter Walker at Talking Points Memo told his parents to tell him to wash it more often.
On the whole, then, it’s tough to be anti-fro, especially given the positive changes it’s wrought during this endless campaign season. But what in the hell is going on with the #GoWithTheFro campaign the de Blasio campaign tried to launch on Twitter yesterday? A little before 3 p.m., this popped up on our computer screens:
— Bill de Blasio (@deBlasioNYC) August 27, 2013
What in God’s name? Let’s be clear: our complaints have nothing to do with, as several lunkheaded Facebook commenters put it, de Blasio’s attempts to “appeal to a misplaced sense of racial loyalty” or “exploit” his children for votes. Dante is 15, and he and his 18-year-old sister Chiara have made it clear that they’re voluntarily participating in the campaign. We’re just upset at how godawful that fro drawing is.
Seriously. It looks nothing like Dante’s fro, or anybody else’s. It looks like Elvis slept on a couch for six weeks. Outdoors. During a hurricane. It looks like Dolly Parton’s least-successful hair era. It looks like Starsky and Hutch-era Ben Stiller with somehow even less sex appeal. It looks like Johnny Bravo stumping for votes.
Why not just use another image of Dante? Or if he’s getting sick of the limelight, one could always reach for the platonic ideal of fro-ness and just use a picture of 70s-era Angela Davis. Using a photo of a former Black Panther would be just the fake controversy we all need to get through the slow season. Please, Lord, just let it end.