March 09, 2011

What She Said...

A good friend of mine was selected to serve as a panel member at an event last week and had a very interesting conversation with another panel member.  The purpose of the panel was to share their expertise in various facets of social media.  The attendees were mostly young people who have yet to enter the career world.  After a brief introduction and some small talk between my friend and this female, she starts making comments such as:
“I told these young girls, they better get out their flat irons”
“That natural stuff doesn’t work in Columbus”

I was floored when I heard these comments.  Not because I am surprised about the negativity surrounding the whole concept of being natural but more so because of the harsh tongue towards the young girls attending this charity event.  I am sure she is speaking from her experiences and those experiences have lead to her opinion, which she is free to have and I am not condemning her for it.  I immediately thought of a local media personality, Angela Pace.  She is a woman of great accomplishment with an impressive resume who happens to be natural.   Click here to read more about this pillar of the community.
Photo Source:
Other natural ladies in the Mass Media include:  
Robin Roberts from Good Morning America
Rochelle Ritchie of WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida

We’ve all read the recent article in Black Enterprise tackling the topic of natural hair in the workplace.  It set off a frenzy in the blog community, rightfully so.  It is a topic worthy of discussion and I’m sure is of greater concern when your workplace is in front of millions of television viewers.  I work in a corporate environment and last week, my natural sisterfriend/co-worker and I were in the elevator and a Caucasian gentleman gets on with us.  He says to us “I love your natural hair!”  Not your typical comment from someone in his demographic right?  He even went so far as to touch my hair and comment on how soft it was.  Nothing demeaning about it – just a genuine compliment and I thought it was awesome.  I have occasionally received some disturbing looks in the workplace but honestly, I expect it.  I am not going to say it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable at times but it has not deterred me from wearing my hair in styles that I feel are flattering.  I do, however, reserve certain hairstyles for certain occasions, as I believe there is a time and place for everything.  I reserve my “big hair” for those evenings with my family and friends because I think big hair is sexy and fun.  If I am running errands with my 2 year old son, my curls will be swept up high on the top of my head to keep it out of our way.  If I were to go on a job interview, I would pull my hair back into a neat bun because 1.)  I think a bun is a conservative style and it is what I think is appropriate for an interview.  I was the bun queen when I was relaxed and I am still a bun queen and 2.)  I do not want any pre conceived notions about me from someone like the young lady I speak of in the above scenerio.  It does not mean that other natural styles are unprofessional.  It is just the style I think of when I think “conservative”.  It’s no different than when I throw on my fake pearls and glasses when I am seeking a job opportunity.  It’s part of the costume.  Like it or not, we are judged on our appearance, right or wrong, it is what it is.  Traditionally people of color have not been viewed as images of beauty, yet alone people of color embracing their kinks.  I mean this is not a news flash.  On a daily basis, you will catch me in a braid out, which has become my signature style of late.  Here is a photo of me work.

I saw this on a forum recently and had to share.  This is not a natural hair forum, it is a city forum for newcomers.
“I'm in the process of transitioning to natural hair and in need of a natural stylist in the Columbus area.  I would greatly appreciate if anyone could pass along this information. Thank you.”
“Natural Hair is something that is hard to come by in Columbus.  I myself don't have natural hair because it’s hard to get a job in Ohio with it. I would say you best bet would be on the east side of Columbus (Livingston Ave) or North side near Northern Lights
Is this the same young lady form the panel?!  I have to wonder!   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm orginally from CMH and haven't seen Angela in years. She looks great with her natural hair!