Wearing my Natural Hair to a job interview

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.

By AfroGlory

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What is Good Hair?

The topic of ‘good hair’ is often debated within the brown community. Those who typically qualify for this category tend to have 3C to 4C hair. New documentary Kinks and Curls looks at texture discrimination within the natural hair community.

In my opinion, good hair is healthy hair. But in the eyes of society, good hair is straight, sleek, and easy to tame – apparently everything that afro hair is not.

Growing up, I was always made to feel as though straight hair was better than afro hair. Afro hair was out of control and hard to tame. Back then, your hair defined you and your hair meant that you would be perceived in a certain way. To put it simply, straight hair meant good hair and natural hair meant bad hair. Because of this I grew up seeing my hair as difficult and problematic.

I had a lot of experiences with many people trying to police my hair and the styles I done with it. But I reached a point where I thought “Why can’t I do what I want with my hair?” I don’t like being told what to do.

I’ve also had challenges where people touched my hair without your consent, and when employers deem it as ‘unprofessional’ and ‘unsuitable for work’.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve accepted my hair for what it is and I embrace it. My afro hair is beautiful. My afro hair is soft, shiny and sleek. My afro hair is healthy. My afro hair is my crown and I wear it with pride, esteem and happiness, and nothing and no-one will ever change that.

So what is good hair?

Good hair is beautiful hair, regardless of type, texture and style.

 

By Chichi Ogwe

Find ChiChi on her blog here.

There is More Than One Way to Embrace Your Natural Hair

Light skinned women with loose curls are hijacking the natural hair movement. Huge hair care brands seem to endorse this biased image, that excludes the dark skinned woman with 4C hair. So just how revolutionary is the natural hair movement, if it only celebrates one type of natural? New documentary, Kinks and Curls delves into the politics of black hair as girls and women celebrate the different type of natural that isn’t always at the forefront of the movement.

The natural hair movement started when black women began to put down the relaxers. The iconic Black Panther afro circulated the black community, and black women refused to live their lives according to the European beauty standards. The same European beauty standards that the Europeans themselves couldn’t even live up to.

The natural hair movement was for the black women who grew up hearing “nappy”, “picky”, “unprofessional” and “untidy” on a daily basis. The movement was for the black women who were told that their natural hair, the hair that grows tall and strong is inappropriate. The need to survive, work or go to school in peace required a lot of black women to relax and straighten their hair. Women began to use wigs and weaves to blend into society, the same society that wouldn’t even class them as human.

Obviously not all light skinned, mixed race women with loose curls lived a life free from discrimination, abuse and ignorant comments. However it isn’t a bad thing to admit that, me a lighter skinned woman has some sort of privilege. I can admit that with ease because it doesn’t take anything away from my blackness, I am not less black, I am not immune to discrimination, however I am aware that my skin tone and hair type is the archetype for the black woman in the eyes of the media.

My hair takes to products well and I can achieve curly hair styles without much effort. This is something I have only recently started to pay attention to.

 I didn’t pay attention to the “your hair is so nice like that”, “how did you get your hair curly like that” comments.

I make a conscious effort to encourage women and men to explore their hair and to respect and love their hair as it is. Once you begin to focus on your hair, you begin to appreciate it; when it’s in “doodoo” plaits, when your satin scarf comes off whilst you’re sleeping, when your braid out comes out wrong and when you haven’t detangled your mane. Those moments that were once disasters or bad hair days become moments of laughter and creativity.

There is too much history within natural hair movement, for it to be ignored. Yes the natural hair movement is inclusive, but people and brands seem to be very specific about what naturals to show to the public.

Do you still love and appreciate your hair without the curl enhancing creams?

The natural hair scene has such variety; there are so many colours, lengths, textures and densities. There shouldn’t be a bias to a specific texture, length or skin tone. Your hair doesn’t need to curl a certain way in order for it to be classed as good hair day. Change the way to think and talk about your hair. If a larger variety of naturals are shown more, the natural hair scene will reflect what is being celebrated.

By Saabirah Lawerence

Find Saabirah on: Blogspot, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.