04 Dec My Nappy Hair!!
I’m up this Saturday morning dreading the routine detangling, shampooing, and moisturizing the natural. Lying in bed, I mull over the desire to keep it; riding the same emotional rollercoaster for two years now. Then I dig deeper..
Picture this: You have an interview for a Fortune 500 company, an interview for a position that not only will allow you to showcase your talent but garner you the salary that you deserve. The day before you have your two piece black suit laid out with the matching pumps and minimal accessories. While practicing your interview skills in the mirror you are faced with a dilemma. Keep or forego that crown of kinky-curly hair otherwise known as the afro.
With the downturn of the economy and decline in jobs this has been a hot button discussion among ethnic women. Hair worn by these women in its natural state absent of straightening chemicals is wooly, thick, kinky, and or curly appearing somewhat disheveled yet stylish. Looking in print magazine ads and television commercial this has become the new face of beauty for ethnic women, yet it cuts like a double edged sword.
Many in the unemployment lines have complained that while getting interviews the focus seemed to be more on their hair than the skills. “After the interview, I was bombarded with questions on the products I use and what methods I used to style my hair,” commented one woman. The idea of corporate diversity seems to be just an idea. Could it be that the afro has a negative connotation such as rebellious and strong willed or seen as some kind of political statement? Yes, if it were the 1960s or 70s. Mind you, the pick that many use to tame an afro is one that has a black fist formed at the end of the handle. A quick glance over history show those fighting for change sporting an afro; Stokely Carmichael, Jessie Jackson, and Angela Davis to name a few.
While the origination of the afro can be reminiscent of a very political and emotional time, many wore this style in defiance of what natural beauty was perceived to be, as a display of pride for African American beauty, or as a simple protest of inequality and injustices in that era. Today this style has proliferated through the ethnic community for various reasons however hair health, fashion, and embracing natural beauty are the front runners.
The notion that corporate America is not ready for radical looks that are deemed unprofessional only seeks to take society a step backwards and forces individuals to play a game to get a foot in the door. Some have called this game of straightening one’s hair to be accepted into a firm, selling out. The issue of hair styles seem trivial compared to the societal issues that plague us yet it’s one that deserves acknowledging especially if it causes one to be boxed in for the sake of fitting in.
The fro lives to see another day!!