Natural Hair In the Work Place - Announcement of the Career and Hair Series
One of the reasons I started this blog was to show the world that natural hair is professional and that it is acceptable in all spaces and circles. It's beautiful no matter the length, curl pattern or thickness. It's versatile and always appropriate.
Last month, I spoke on a panel at Democracy Prep Charter High School about natural hair in the professional realm. It was therapeutic to share my stories and hear from the girls as well. As I looked around the room, I was struck by the variety of hair styles. TWAs, twist outs, braids & twists, hijab, crotchet braids, and straight hair. I remarked that growing up, I had nothing even close to this. Everyone wore their hair straight or in braids/plaits and you were teased for being "nappy headed" if your hair varied.
The panel asked questions about discrimination and perception and maintenance and hair care. It was mostly a good time. The panelists and I couldn't think of a time when they were discriminated against in the workplace because of their hair, probably because we worked in liberal organizations -- tech, education, non profits. We all could, however, recall incidents and micro-aggressions in the work place. People touching our hair or making a spectacle out of your hair being in twist out one day, up do the next and straight the following day. We recalled the struggle to go natural and the discomfort everyone goes through when they haven't yet mastered their technique.
I wondered, as I encouraged the girls to explore their hair and do what made them feel good, how many of them will feel pressure to straighten or weave their hair in an effort to appear tamed at work. Is the natural hair movement a phase that will come and go like the Afro era of the 60s and 70s?
I honestly think natural hair is here to stay. Today, natural hair is less of a political statement and more of a declaration that I plan to accept myself and who I am is beautiful. Natural hair is seeping into the workplace and maybe one day our leaders and CEOs will be men and women who wear their hair in styles that embrace the texture. Locs, curls, braids and all.
And so, I am kicking off a series where I will profile professional girls (and maybe some guys!) who are bringing curls to corporate! Stay tuned and if you'd like to be featured in the "Work Crush Wednesday" series, fill out our questionnaire!