Talk That Talk: I am NOT my Hair!

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This Talk that Talk Thursday is especially dedicated to my women of color. We have made major advances in Corporate America, putting our magical touch on the world. Oprah Winfrey, Debra L. Lee, Cathy Hughes, among many others have let the world not only know that we have something major to contribute, but that we are a force to be reckoned with. Why then, is our hair still a problem?

I bet you weren’t expecting that, but it’s true. Black women still have to be very cautious of their hair choices in corporate America. Last week my good friend, and co-blogger, asked me for the number of the hairdresser who does my protective styles. We then got into the conversation of how she wanted to do faux locs but she was nervous of what her co-workers may say. I currently have faux locs in and I work at a law firm. My friend also works in a business where she interacts with the public often.
When I interviewed, I had a bob, but when I started I had bob box braids. From there, I got a weave, but then I went through a break up. And ladies, what do you do when you break up? You chop off all your hair of course. So I cut my hair, shaved sides, and dyed it red. #breakuphair. One of my bosses told me that my hair was cute, so I guess from there I went a little wild because of the acceptance. Surely, I will not be getting pastel-colored pixie cuts. However, since then, I have had marley crochets that were two-toned (fuchsia and black), a tapered cut, and faux locs, but furthermore, no one at my job has ever said anything about my hair. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know there is something there. Though I know its there, I personally don’t care because I feel hair is an expression of oneself. Just like tattoos, and clothing, hair can make a statement. #rebel.
But my friend has been very conservative in her hairstyles. She loves braids as a protective style and when going to work, she puts it in either a high or low bun. She never goes crazy with the colors; she always does black. However, her co-workers do not even acknowledge her when she has braids. They feel she looks “aged” or “tired” when she has braids. (tuhh)

The Sad Truth
The sad truth is that as black women, we always have to do more in everything. Not only are we women, we are black. It’s just unfortunate that in trying to better ourselves, we have to suppress our uniqueness. Whenever going on an interview, as part of preparation, black women have to make sure there is something they can do to their hair, especially if their hair is natural.
The crazy thing is that men are not exempt either. A friend of my friend has a short haircut with a bit of hair at his crown. His boss told them that he needs to dress for the job he wants. Thoughts: “So the amount of work, overtime, and dedication that I put in doesn’t show that? It’s my hair?”
My friend feels that if you are doing your job well, why does it matter what I do to my hair and how often I change it? It does not affect business and the customers always compliment me. She thinks it is envy. I feel like no matter if it is envy or lack of education, you should do you. Thought it affects you emotionally and sometimes you just want to be accepted, I say: “Be the most phenomenal person at your job and rock your magical tresses”!
However, in conversation, my friend and I had to admit that some women of color with natural hair make it a bit difficult for the rest of us in the natural hair community.

PSA: NATURAL HAIR DOES NOT MEAN YOU DO NOT DO YOUR HAIR! Some natural women feel they can just get up and go. No, you cannot. Our hair is curlier than people of other ethnicities, so we have to add moisture. We have to protect our hair as well as it is more prone to breakage. Please do a twist-out, a catered wash-n-go, or a protective style. Regardless if you care of what people think of or not, take care of your hair. When you take care of your hair, trust me, it will look like something. Unfortunately, there are just too many of us who think we can go scott-free. Natural hair is not an excuse for laziness. Please sisters, lets make the world shine with our magic!

But we want to hear from you!

Should you tone down your hair for corporate America, or should you be free to express yourself?

What has been your experience in the workplace when it comes to hair?
What are absolute hair don’ts for corporate america?
Overall thoughts?
Nothing but love,

Sandra

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