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Friday, April 11, 2008

Judge Mablean Ephraim, her hair and FOX network

I don't know how this escaped my attention, but I never knew that one of the issues over which Judge Mablean parted company with FOX and Divorce Court was her hair.

I had read that compensation was at issue. I had also read that Judge Mablean had requested time off to attend the convocation of her church organization, but was denied the time off. But it seems that the hair issue was of equal import. I found 63 webpages about Judge Mablean's hair on google.

Judge Mablean Ephraim with braid extensions added to her natural hair

She left the show two seasons ago, but I think her statement regarding FOX and her hair was poignant:

"The most unacceptable demand to me was when FOX said, 'There will be no changes in the current hairstyle to avoid time consuming issues regarding her hair,' I found this to be offensive. The requirement also comes very close to a violation, if it does not in fact violate, the Fair Employment Practices Act. An employer cannot demand one to wear a particular hairstyle unless it directly affects or impacts the employee’s ability to perform his or her employment duties. My hairstyle does not meet this criteria, it is, however, a racial and ethnic issue.

"Suddenly, after seven years of a show that has run neck- in- neck with the other top rated court shows, why is my hair an issue? Why, I ask? Because of my ethnicity - African American, Black, Negro, whatever term you prefer to use. Because of my genetics (short, curly, hair) which requires the use of chemicals and/or a hot pressing comb to straighten and curlers to style. It cannot be styled by a wash, blow dry and set. Therefore, in FOX’s opinion, it is a time consuming issue.

"I wore a short hairstyle which was my own hair. Due to a misapplication of a chemical process, I lost a substantial amount of hair in season six. Out of my desire to maintain continuity, and the image I had created (for the last five years), I elected to wear a wig last year for continuity. Had FOX asked me to maintain a short hairstyle for continuity and for image, it would have been a different issue. But they are saying I must continue to wear the wig because that would expedite the hair styling process. However, my hair has now grown. I had not yet decided what hairstyle I would wear for season eight. If I were to accept their demands, I would have been unable to make that decision.

Judge Mablean permed

Judge Mablean 'wigged' after losing most of her hair due to relaxers

"I therefore ask the question, when will FOX and the rest of America accept our cultural differences as African Americans and embrace us with all of our different hairstyles, hair textures, hair color, skin color, skin differences, whatever it may be? We take the time to learn about them, to learn about the different cultures in our society. They however have still chosen to neglect us, to disrespect us, and refuse to see us. We are still the invisible person."


Lakia said...

This info was a great find. It was rare that I was able to catch her show, but what FOX did was absolutely wrong. The media should have made an issue out of this.

lockedwithpatience said...

Judge Mablean is right on! Concerning her hair this just sounds like FOX was being just lazy and didn't want to waste a dime on how she looked. I'm sure this is not the case for their other t.v. shows, where they would probably spend 1000s of dollars for weaves, hair color, cuts, etc for just once actress.

Now I do know actors have to ask for permission when they change their hair, it's a really big deal to the network. And even i can understand the whole idea of keeping an "image". But FOX was just being cheap and unaccepting of what would fit for her, someone who isn't even an actress.

Naturally Sophia said...

What a great find indeed! I never new the reasons behind her leaving. Awesome info.

nita1 said...

Thanks for getting this information out. I always wondered what happened to her becasue I miss her from the show and now I don't watch as much as I used to. She looked really good after loosing weight on celebrity fit club and I think that the network could have come to some kind of compromise if there was an image issue.

Anonymous said...

I work in television news and in our contracts (white, black, etc) it specifically states we must get approval for any hairstyle change. It seems strange but viewers have severe reactions to any change in hair on any person. Interestingly enough, only black on air talent is allowed to wear mustaches.

Docs Locs said...

@anon - yes. of interest is always the 'acceptable range of hairstyles' adn who determines this range and; to what degree the media leads the public or the public leads the media.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has a right to wear their hair the way they want and to feel comfortable and confident in doing so!!! Fox was very wrong for doing what they did to judge mablean!! I miss her show and wish her the best in whatever she does in life!!! Keep appearing in the tyler perrys movies!!!

Anonymous said...

That's right hair shouldn't have been an issue..it basically was that they were intimidated by her intelligence..for being smart black & a woman as powerful authority as a higher power as a female Judge..

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