Natural hair on black women isn’t anything new or uncommon among some, but with others, it’s something they’re still trying to embrace, especially in the workplace.
WNCT news anchor Angela Green posted a video on her Facebook page Monday discussing natural hair at work. Green said that WNCT’s intern, Madison, wears her hair natural. Green also pointed out that she herself wears her curly hair straight because her bosses like it that way.
From the video, you can see that Madison’s hair is curly and loose; some might even refer to it as “big.” Green said that Madison is about to start work on a production, but an issue came up with her hair. Madison was told that her hair was too big and “distracting.” Green explained that there are people out there with all different types of hair, and how it should be worn in the workplace depends on the market you’re in, as well as your bosses.
“My advice is to straighten it out, just to please everybody,” Green stated as her advice to Madison.
But did Green give Madison the right advice? She asked people on Facebook what they would tell Madison, and needless to say, some people were upset with Green for giving what they thought was horrible advice:
Forget about it being the style and trend. Growing hair out of one’s scalp is not a trend, it’s just how it is. If people are distracted so much by hair they can’t watch the news, the problem is not your intern. The problem is people. And you are a lovely woman and I understand the importance of People of Color just getting in and occupying jobs we are not usually privy to, but the answer to “straighten it just to please people” was very sad to me. People need to get used to seeing a diverse cross section of humans on their tv, as characters and trusted TV reporters, etc. When it becomes NORMAL to wear your hair the way it grows out of one’s head- that’s when we’ll have true progress in this conversation.
I feel that it was absolutely horrible that you would advise her to straighten her hair. You’re teaching her to hate herself. She could easily put her hair in a bun or wore [sic] it in its natural state. Are you advising her to conform on the basis that you are afraid to stand up for yourself? Stop hating who you are. I work in corporate America and has [sic] never been asked to straighten my hair. I can not understand why the hair the [sic] grows from your scalp is unprofessional!!!
I think she has to decide for herself, but her natural hair should not be offensive or a distraction. There are many ways to beautifully style curly hair that looks elegant and professional. You should not project your own decisions onto young interns. Guide them to find their own voice while still fulfilling their responsibilities in the workplace, not follow your footsteps as if you have paved the ideal path. You sound like a mindless drone: “My bosses like my hair this way so that’s why I straighten it.” Your hair should not be a part of corporate attire or treated like a uniform. It’s no different than the color of your skin or color of your eyes, you were born with them. Imagine if someone said wear color contacts or lighten your complexion because the hues are a distraction? Even the military doesn’t require women to straighten their hair. The way you presented her tells it all. You can do better than that and you should. For yourself and those behind you. On the other hand I think she does dye her hair so straightening her hair may not be a big deal for her if she is a not hardcore about it. Keep in mind straightening her hair with heat or chemicals does cause permanent damage to hair. So the choice is hers. […] After typing all of that I bet you both posted this just to raise a reaction.
But not all of the comments were in disagreement with Green. Some people indicated that she gave the intern great advice, since she was speaking from experience.