June 1st, the start of a new month and also the day I decided to wear my natural hair to work.
(Pause for back story) I had recently began working at a very prominent PR firm in Detroit. I am the youngest person and the only African American in the office; so you can understand why I was a little apprehensive about wearing my hair in its natural form. My boss and coworkers have only seen me with long weave, first twists then a luxurious 24-inch unit. #Bundles My real hair is not 24 inches and it is very tightly coiled.
I walk into the office and no one says anything until my boss walks in and gasps. At this point I think I’m fired. But she says she loves it. Then everyone jumps on the compliment train. “That must be more summer friendly.” “How’d you get your hair like that?” “My daughter has curly hair too.” I smile and accept all of their compliments but I’m wondering if they think I chopped my hair off.
Being the only Black women in the office can be hard sometimes, especially when it comes to hair. A lot of times we aren’t met with a reaction like this. People think it’s unprofessional to wear our hair in the state that it comes in. To this I say, Bah Humbug! If Suzie and Becky can wear their curly locks to work, so can I. People think our hair is exotic and unnatural but it’s natural for us. By telling me that my natural hair is unprofessional, you are saying that I, as a person, am unprofessional. I am my hair and she is me. I hope more Black women start go natural at work helping to make an “acceptable hairstyle” for the workplace.