Hi SHE Fam! So I’m going to step out on a limb and discuss a topic that many of us shy away from…the difference in black hair. I’m not talking hair color here, I’m talking about being black and the styles we wear as black women.

The topic becomes a real issue in the workplace. Not because you’re not stylish but because not everyone understands versatility. And whereas, I embrace the difference, the reality becomes even more transparent that black women wear their hair in many different ways. My good friend and I were at a training and she had box braids. The braids were very neat and styled quite classy. After training we went to a dinner with coworkers and I can remember there being a full discussion around the dinner table about her hair. Men and women asking, how long does that take? How did they do that? Does it hurt? How long will you wear it? That isn’t all of your hair is it? Wasn’t your hair short the last time we saw you?

She was bombarded with questions and I felt like she was becoming overwhelmed and embarrassed. Of course, me being the assertive somewhat aggressive person (I’m working on the aggressive part), chimed in and ran to her defense. I went on to say how awesome her hair looks and that because we work as much as we do, we don’t have the luxury with our hair type to get up and go. Thus, we wear protective styles and easy styles so that we can spend less time on hair and more time making money. My rant came from the need to look out for my girl, but let me remind you, I’ve not worn braids since high school and only wore weave once in college.

I was happy that my rant shut the conversation down and so was my friend. However, I wasn’t at ease with the stereotypical black girl questionnaire that I feel comes with a new hair style. Outside of making me very uncomfortable, it confirmed my unknowing insecurity of changing my hair in the workplace. I realized at the moment that my friend was being interrogated that this is why I’ve never really worn extensions or stepped out to try different hair.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one who have ever felt this way. But I will say, shame on me for not expressing myself through my hair due to the potential perception of others. With age comes wisdom and with confidence comes the ability to step out of your comfort zone. I honestly believe that as long as your hair is tactful for the environment in which you work, there is no reason why you shouldn’t wear braids, weave or any other style.

This table topic made me embrace the difference in black hair and explore adding some length for myself. Before the discussion, I’d never realized how much your environment impacts you if you’re not careful. What was a simple conversation around hair, well it really wasn’t simple, opened my eyes and my mind to why it’s important not to forget that there is nothing wrong with different but not being willing to differ yourself.

Read more on this topic on SHE Blogs as fellow SHE Bloggers Christian Douglas and Cierra Zeno dive in on this topic.

Why Is Natural Hair So Unnatural In The Workplace
Naturalistas in the workplace: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.

With sass and class.

-Lyssa

We want to hear from you. What’s your take on how people view and question weave and braids on black women?