When I turned 16 and was eligible to obtain a worker’s permit, there was one thing I was often told by my family. That was… natural hair was not considered “professional”. Business Insider created a top 20 list of components that create a professional appearance. Let me know when you find “Natural hair for black is not professional”.
- Make sure your clothes fit.
- Don’t be too sexy.
- Wear glasses that fit.
- Dry your hair.
- Pay attention to your bag.
- Don’t wear strong perfume.
- Wearing nude pantyhose is hip.
- Wear well-kept, polished shoes.
- Avoid ankle socks with slacks.
- Get regular pedicures.
- Don’t over-accessorize.
- Your jewelry shouldn’t make noise.
- Pay attention to your watch.
- Facial hair shouldn’t overwhelm your face.
- Grow facial hair on a weekend or vacation.
- Trim your beard.
- A goatee is rarely a good idea.
- Wear rich colors to portray authority.
- Avoid neon colors and overly flashy clothes.
Sadly, my family was right. When I turned 18 years old, I decided to “test the waters” and where my hair natural without it being straight. I was treated differently than when I had my hair flat ironed. I remembered walking into the room and all eyes were on me and my hair. I was bombarded with questions about how I got my hair that way? Was it mine? Why did you do that? and comments in a negative tone like, “that’s different”, “you look like a chia pet”, “when are you going back to your straight hair?”. Unfortunately, I allowed their ignorance and negativity affect me. But I will no longer allow ANYONE to determine my choices.
Throughout the #BlackLivesMatter course, I learned more about who I am as a Black woman. We did an exercise that helped us mapped out our identity and I realized that I am not defined by hair. My hair is only a component of my body that enhances me not sets me back. Now, I can proudly go back and forth between my straight hair and my natural curls. Both styles only compliment to the strong Black woman I am and does not diminish my creditability…. I LOVE MY HAIR!!!!!!