During the past decade, large numbers of African-American women have walked away from harsh chemicals and returned their hair to its natural state. Recently, I’ve learned about the desire for some African-American women to go natural but they are concerned about the impact on their careers. In simple terms, due to going natural, these women are worried that they may lose their job or that career opportunities will be limited. So I decided to reach out to professional Naturalistas to get their thoughts on the subject. Below are their comments.
“You can come to the table just as you are. You don’t have to alter or augment yourself just to have a seat at the table. The ultimate key is walking with confidence in the business world. Be confident in who you are, be confident in your ability to do the job, and the rest will take care of itself.” LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte, NC City Councilwoman.
“One month before I began law school, I started Locing my hair. While in law school and after I began to practice law, I didn’t think that my hair would be an obstacle or limit my ability to grow in my profession. I can’t separate my hair from myself; it was, and is, too much a part of who I am for me to view my hair in a negative light. From my experience, my hair is somewhat of an ice breaker with my clients, attorneys, other legal professionals, and judges.” Karen Darlington, Jr, PLLC.
“During law school, I was an intern at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office. I received numerous compliments from people of different ethnic backgrounds about my various natural hair styles. As an intern, I wore my hair in braids, a blow out, and twists. No one in management asked or encouraged me to change my hair styles. Later, after joining the Public Defender’s Office, I can say with confidence that my hair did not negatively impact my clients in the court room.” Salena Davis, Attorney.
“Once you become comfortable with your own definition of beauty, the transition to natural hairstyles becomes easier because you accept yourself as you are. Women who are concerned about transitioning have doubts because natural hair doesn’t fit the stereotypical definition of beauty. Once you embrace yourself, Corporate America isn’t going to tell you that your beauty isn’t good enough to wear your hair in its natural state. The real question is not what Corporate America thinks about your hair, it’s ‘What do you think about your hair? How do you feel about your hair?’” Lashawnda Becoats, Life Coach.
“It is important for Naturalistas to be confident in themselves and their natural hair. During the interview process, it’s extremely important to effectively communicate that you are qualified to do the job. With regard to your hairstyle, I suggest modest or conservative natural hair styles such as: Twist Outs, Bantu Knots, and Buns. I advise against the following hairstyles in the corporate environment: Mo-hawks, Fro-Hawks, extremely large Afros, and what corporate America would consider unusual colors (bright red, blue, purple, orange, etc.).” Demetra Moore, Career Coach