I remember the first time I went for an interview feeling relaxed about my natural hair. I remember being nervous and wondering how I would be received. Would the interviewer spend more time looking at my hair than listening to my answers? I had my hair tied in two afro buns. As I sat waiting for my interviewer to join me I felt both of the bands snap! Now I think of this as divine intention because suddenly and unprepared I had a full Afro out, unconfined and unapologetic. Even after all the worrying, there she was and there was nothing I could do about it!
I remember panicking for a few seconds and then thinking this is completely out of my control! There’s no point panicking and throwing myself off track to worry about my hair which I adore so much or I wouldn’t be growing it. Anyway… did I really want to work for someone who was willing to see my hair over my qualifications, skill and intelligence? Nope.
The door opened and another sign from the universe… my interviewer was a black man with short natural hair! At this point I was genuinely relaxed about my hair and concentrating on making the best impression I could. I had decided that whoever walked through that door, I was ready to impress!
Have you ever been getting ready for a job interview (or any important event) and thought so hard about what you were going to do with your hair? How you can make it PRESENTABLE? How you can make others feel RELAXED about your hair? How you were going to make the conversation about you and not your hair?
I certainly have and I felt that way because of the texture discrimination that goes on within our natural hair community.
The intense and heavy message I carried around for YEARS in my mind and on my scalp was rooted in texture discrimination. The idea that the texture of my hair was not beautiful or good enough to be on the cover of magazines, in an advert, on a model or anywhere that other people would have to see it was so deeply buried into my mind-set that I became immune to the idea of texture discrimination. I didn’t even realise I was being discriminated against. My first reaction as a child was to try to make it more like the hair that people wanted to see rather than using my beautiful hair to represent what I wanted the world to see and who I am regardless of their unachievable beauty standards set out for everyone but me.
I have to cut myself some slack though, after all I was a child. Children are easily influenced. This is why having these conversations now is so important. I hope that one day a little black girl buying a magazine would look up and see herself. I hope that she’ll feel that she is represented, important and beautiful… but it’s going to take more than a magazine to achieve this!
Watch New Documentary: Kinks And Curls uncover truths about Texture Discrimination within the natural hair community.