3 Black M.M. Stylists Share Their Thoughts on Hair in the Workplace
“Working in fashion, I am fortunate to be in a space that fosters and encourages creativity. But many cannot say the same.”
At that young age, I was reminded of the racism that still lingers between my strands. As someone who has had many different hairstyle eras, I have felt every emotion as a result of unwarranted comments. I have felt the embarrassment of being asked to sit in the back because my hair was too big. I have had to swat hands from my braids and reluctantly answer all of the “Is that your real hair?” questions. All of these harrowing experiences have shaped my relationship with my hair, first as a child in school, and now as a working woman.
Hair discrimination is nothing new, especially in the workplace. Black people are harassed and reduced to petting zoo animals because of odd obsessions with our hair. Corporations are firing Black employees because Black hair fails to fit their models of “company culture,” and most shocking of all, federal legislature must be drafted and passed just for our hair to exist in the institutions we navigate daily. Black hair should be able to just be: NO heavy petting, NO overzealous compliments, and definitely NO “I barely recognized you” comments when we decide it’s time for a change. Working in fashion, I am fortunate to be in a space that fosters creativity and encourages self-expression. But many cannot say the same.
Here’s what 3 Black M.M. stylists had to say about hair in the workplace.
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“Screw the boundaries!”
I choose to wear my hair shaved and natural. It’s less work to maintain but allows me the freedom to dye it different colors. I’ve always worked in a creative space that has allowed me to freely express myself when it comes to my identity. Although I cut my hair for convenience, my hair is still very much a part of my identity.
Keeping my hair short also gives me the ability to transition between hairstyles on a whim. I love starting breakfast with a blonde fade, switching to a 30″ wig for lunch, and maybe dyeing my hair pink by dinner. I would advise women in the workplace to adjust their crowns according to their own preference. The world is going to say something about everything we do, so we might as well be cute while doing it.
These responses were edited for length and clarity.