Blogosphere Booms About Black Women's Hair, Lady Gaga

Guest host Allison Keyes and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, hear reaction to Keyes’ commentary on touching black hair from a white who explains how the sensitivity isn't only limited to black women. Also, a listener from Australia weighs in on the hype surrounding Lady Gaga and the gay community.

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ALLISON KEYES, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere, and get to hear from you, our listeners.

Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here. What's up, Lee?

LEE HILL: Hey, Allison. Well, you have definitely become the life of the party in our blogosphere.

KEYES: Of course.

HILL: Earlier this week, you took to the airwaves with this commentary about why it is not okay to touch a black woman's hair.

(Soundbite of recording)

KEYES: For the past few weeks, I've been rocking an Afro-puff, that's a round, fluffy puff perched atop a braided or twisted up-do. It is fierce. And I must admit, the texture does look inviting to touch, but walking up and palming my puff, particularly without permission? Can I just tell you, speaking colloquially, that is not cool.

HILL: Well, that drew over 400 comments and counting one of the strongest responses we've ever had for a piece aired on this program. And there's even a spin-off discussion from your commentary happening on other Web sites. Now, I caught up with one listener who wrote to us - and I'll let her do the talking.

Ms. ANNE(ph): I'm a 43-year-old white woman. I grew up in Seattle where I was bused for voluntary desegregation. But my middle school bus was racially integrated. I'll never forget the day when a black boy pulled my long, straight hair out and passed it around as white girl hair. It was funny. It hurt. I got it. I never touch anyone without asking. But I get why people are curious.

KEYES: Thanks, Anne. Lee, TELL ME MORE producer Douglas Hopper also lit up the blogosphere recently, writing about his deep affection for pop sensation Lady Gaga.

(Soundbite of song, "Telephone")

LADY GAGA (Performer): (Singing) Stop calling, stop calling, I don't want to think anymore. I left my hand and my heart on the dance floor.

KEYES: Douglas, who is openly gay, explained how the eccentric artist known for her outrageous outfits and behavior made him nostalgic for his early life as a gay youth just trying to express himself.

Mr. ARTHUR: Lee, lots of people also commented on that piece. We spoke with blogger author who lives as a gay man. He had this to say.

I do not think that Lady Gaga is gay friendly at all. If you look at her music videos, they are targeted towards male heterosexual fantasy such as lesbianism. Lady Gaga's videos are censored of any male to male sensuality whatsoever.

HILL: And Allison, in case people are wondering about that accent, we should note that Arthur reached out to us from Australia.

KEYES: Good to know TELL ME MORE is global.

HILL: Yes it is.

KEYES: Anything else, Lee?

HILL: Yeah. I just want to flag that there is a very spirited discussion happening right now on our blog as we learn more about the protest surrounding the health care legislation on Capitol Hill. We'll have another blog entry later today, and we hope to keep that conversation going well into the weekend.

KEYES: Thanks, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Allison.

KEYES: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Remember to leave your name and tell us how to pronounce it. You can also log onto our Web site. Go to NPR.org, click on Programs and then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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