corporate ladder

Is corporate America ready for natural hair?

Can you guess what happened when I wore my “big hair” to work exactly one month ago to the day?

Sorry...I don't really like this picture of me, but I wanted you all to see the hair. It doesn't look as big as it felt!!


a.  Female co-workers (of Hispanic origin) hovered around and asked “where can I go to get my hair done like that?!”

b.  Conservative “suits” gave me the side eye every time they passed my desk afraid that I might, at any moment, stand up and raise my fist

c.  Liberal “suits” said they liked it and walked away pleased with themselves for their “tolerance” of such a bold and brassy new ‘do

d. b & c

e.  all of the above

Note: Natural hair, in this article, refers to Black hair in its natural state, curly and unstraightened. 

If you answered (D) without cheating, you are correct. 

     For some time, I had been flirting with the idea of wearing my hair to work unstraightened, but I always decided against it, figuring “they” weren’t ready for what “they” were going to see.  After all, I work in an office in Orange County with all male attorneys, 99% White.  Sadly, I even thought that wearing my natural hair to work would be deemed unprofessional since I have so much hair and it’s relatively long.  This young lady made me realize how ridiculous this sounds…in a hilarious way!!

     Don’t get me wrong, the decision not to wear my natural hair to work was not at all a reflection of how I feel about my own, or other natural hair.  I am simply accustomed to having straight hair being that I got my first relaxer at the ripe age of 3 (my poor little baby scalp) and didn’t grow said perm out until I was 24.  Personally, I love my hair now that I know what it actually looks like!  It’s thick, long and extremely versatile.  I have instant stage hair without adding pieces or wearing wigs.   But, more importantly, it’s cooperative, and usually does exactly what I want it to do, which in my book, makes it good hair. It’s really good hair actually – not in the sense of being relaxed, straight or having a wavy texture, but in the sense that it’s healthy, it’s shiny, and it’s all mine.  

     Being that, after only wearing my hair curly on the ends,to work, I received snide remarks from one attorney who stated that he “thinks I look better when my hair is straightened,” I was more than prepared to handle the feedback I’d receive from wearing it curly all over.  Of course he would be much more “comfortable” with my typical office persona – straight hair, non-confrontational, and relatively pleasant, but I think it’s time he got to know the REAL me – the same person minus the straight hair.

     This experience, although troubling (because of some reactions), was extremely liberating and a test of my strength and self-confidence.  Now, I realize that regardless of what “they” are ready for, or what “they” think, I have to be gutsy enough to be myself.  Despite some unfavorable feedback, I fully intend to wear my hair natural again and again, so they’d better get used to it. 

If you’d like to learn more about natural hair, or you are considering going natural, this article provides some valuable information:

     Natural hair has been a hot topic as of late and has become much more prevalent and acceptable in the workplace and in society, in general.  What has been your experience with wearing natural hair?  Do you think wearing natural hair to work is unprofessional?




  1. Pingback: Crowns of Glory | thirtythoughts - September 2, 2011

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