Just Kinky: 4 Millennials Share Natural Hair Journey in the Workplace

This is not another natural hair blog to convert you to the “other side.” Instead, let’s explore a deeper issue: where does natural Tiara Quote 2hair fit in the workplace?

Once upon a time, wearing natural hair was frowned upon in the professional realm. It is “mangy,” “unkempt,” “uncivilized,” “nasty,” “unattractive,” “nappy.”

(Gasps)

You: Did she just take it there?

Me: Yes, I did.

I and hundreds of thousands of other African-American women have probably learned that our natural hair is unfit and inappropriate for any woman who wants to advance in her career. This thinking has led to generations of routine relaxers and weaves – which is fine. I for one, do not sport a natural hairstyle, but have been amazed at its existence in the workplace.

The strong comeback of natural hair is spreading like wildfire in work environments across all industries. African-American women are rapidly abandoning the “Creamy Crack and are confidently embracing their natural tresses and rocking chemical free, unprocessed hairstyles in the workplace.

The recent wave of natural hair converts exist in the millennial generation, who often go through a phase self-identity in college and graduate with a degree and new hair ideals that follow them into the workplace.

The expectation of being accepted are high among this group – millennial African-American women want to be acknowledged for their personality, experience, and skill-set versus a spanking-new relaxer, flat iron, and an abundance of oil sheen.

In a perfect world, commensurable experience and interpersonal skills would overshadow any physical appearance that isn’t under the umbrella of a cookie-cutter image that is considered to be normal.

Nobody’s perfect, neither is the world.

I caught up with four African-American millennial women with four totally different experiences, yet a common theme: empowerment.

Each woman reflects about the transitioning process, reactions from family and co-workers, and how black women can empower each other and embrace their kinks.

The black career woman will endure different struggles throughout the course of her career. Why should the texture of her hair be one of them?

I’ll let you be the judge.

Whitney White is not natural. No matter how hard she tries the bantu-knots and roller sets binge, she can’t resist the essence of the creamy crack. Nevertheless, she values the opinion and self-expression of all African-American women who love the skin and the hair they’re in. Tweet her at @i_HEARTnews to answer one (or all) of the questions at the end of each story.

First up: A Claims Management Professional discusses how changing the African-American’s perception of natural hair can help change corporate culture. 


4 thoughts on “Just Kinky: 4 Millennials Share Natural Hair Journey in the Workplace

  1. Whitney,

    Another great article. I’m five months post relaxer, so this article will help me decide whether or not I’m going to keep on with it or go back to the creamy crack lol. It is sad that some companies and people have such a negative view toward natural hair, but at the same time, I believe that many of us black women have been raised and influenced to push away from our natural “unprofessional” texture and embrace straight hair (not that anything is wrong with either one). I really enjoyed seeing the different perspectives of the ladies in the article. Basically, as long as you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, it shouldn’t matter how you rock your hair. Great work!

  2. Whitney this is awesome content, however I didn’t vote because no of the options applied to me. But that’s okay because since I live a life of freedom by living on the beaches of the world, my hair is how ever it tends to be, but I really love protective styles so I’ve been wigging it out.
    My lifestyle is so awesome and because I don’t work a 9 to 5 job, being in the workplace with natural hair , I’v never had that hindrance. However, I can say that once you discover that being free is not a choice but a lifestyle you deserve, your hair will never be an issue. This was an awesome post by Bayonne Gresham about when in doubt just Wig it out with natural hair. http://bit.ly/1imTzj9
    When you have time, stop by http://bit.ly/1esWg1V and tell me what you think. Let’s lock arms and get more of this issue to more people who are want to hear what you have to say. Your words are truly powerful.

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