Mariah Carey ‘Grew Up Thinking Her Hair Was Supposed to Look a Certain Way’ as a ‘Mixed-Race Person’

by Xara Aziz

Global superstar Mariah Carey, the iconic beauty with a voice from the heavens, has inspired millions with her style and sound, but in a recent the Sunday Times interview, the 53-year-old singer confessed that she grappled with her hair as a woman born to a Black father and white mother.

“I grew up thinking hair was supposed to look a certain way,” Carey told the British-based publication. “As a mixed-race person with a Black father growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods, it was difficult. My Black friends were able to do different types of treatments on their hair from the ones who were mixed. My white friends didn’t have to do anything — they just woke up and their hair was fabulous.”

The five-time Grammy Award winner added that her family “didn’t have conditioner in our house because my mother was like, ‘Whatever, it looks fine.’ Now I’m never far from a bottle of conditioner. I travel with one.”

Carey has been open in the past about her ex-husband and Sony executive Tommy Mottola, who told her early in her career to keep her identity “ambiguous.” She says she now wants her 11-year-old twins, Moroccan and Monroe, to recognize the beauty in their hair.

In August, Carey spoke with Meghan Markle on her Spotify podcast Archetypesabout their related experiences growing up biracial. Carey remembered feeling isolated, saying she “didn’t fit in anywhere at all.”

“I remember being in school in this predominantly white neighborhood where my mom felt comfortable and I tried my best to feel comfortable,” the singer reflected.

“This kid was in the hallway and he said, ‘Mariah has three shirts and she wears them on rotation!'” she told Markle. “It was true, but the fact that he noticed that, I’m like, ‘why are you so obsessed with me?’ No, but really, I was like, ‘why do you care?’ But in a world where you’re the mixed kid of a full-on white neighborhood, that’s what you get.”

The Fantasy singer also discussed feeling pressure to choose between her Black and white identities, rather than embracing them both.

“That’s an interesting thing: a ‘mixed woman,'” Carey said. “I always thought it should be OK to say ‘I’m mixed.’ It should be OK to say that but people want you to choose.”

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