ATLANTA – You’ve probably seen more people wearing their natural hairstyles these days, from braids and twists to Afros.
Channel 2 Action News glanced at the dark haired. and why so many men and women choose to wear their hair natural, especially in work spaces.
Audrey Washington from Channel 2 talked to many people who see the trend as a movement.
When you search for the terms “African American hair” online, a number of images appear from women with braids, weaves, perms, and twists to black men with afros, bleaches, and dreadlocks. Dark hair can be straight, frizzy, curly, and controversial.
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“In 2021, talking about hair not as a beauty, but as a barrier to housing, to the workplace of education, in general, is really awkward,” said Representative Kim Schofield.
In Texas, a black student received a suspension from school and was banned from walking after graduating from high school due to long commutes. He refused to cut them, and in August a court ruled that the district’s hair policy was discriminatory.
“All of this stigma around professionalism and what professionalism looks like (is embarrassing),” Schofield said. “We had to put chemicals in our hair to make sure we had work, and it shouldn’t be.”
Many black people said they did not feel accepted with their white counterparts, especially in the workplace, if their hair was not straight.
After a number of cases of discrimination, California passed the Crown Act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair. The law, which was also recently passed in Clayton and South Fulton counties, prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture.
Schofield is now pushing to extend the law statewide.
Old The anchor of the chain 2 Monica Pearson said she too faced difficult choices about her hair.
“When I first came to work at WSB I had an Afro, but I got really good advice 45 years ago that if I was going to break into the Atlanta market, I was going have to look more Middle American, which basically says you need straight hair, ”Pearson said.
Over the decades, Pearson has worn several different hairstyles on the air, but said changes weren’t always welcome. She said she received negative responses from viewers after wearing her hair in braids.
“Your hair is distracting, please change it,” Pearson told a white man. She removed the braids a few days later.
Washington asked Pearson how those comments felt.
“It was hurtful, it actually made me feel less than that,” Pearson said.
Pearson said she ultimately wore everything from perms and wigs to natural short styles on the air.
Celebrity hairstylist Derek J., owner of J Spot hair salon in Buckhead, said more and more of his clients these days are asking for natural styles, which means no perms, no weaves, just styled. of the way hair grows naturally.
“It gives women a chance to take a break from handling their natural hair, whether it’s heat, chemicals, or any of those things,” Derek J said. you consider yourself professional is not what my hair does, so you make me do something that my hair does not do naturally. It’s almost saying that being black is unprofessional.
At WSB-TV, some journalists and presenters follow suit, sporting braids on the air. After 15 years on the air, Washington finally decided to wear her hair in braids on TV as well.
“For me and for so many other black women, the change was both genuine and liberating,” Washington said.
As for the future of the natural hair movement, many are optimistic.
“This movement is not meant to conform or disrupt. It’s around acceptance and alignment with the person we are on the inside and the hair we project on the outside, ”said Schofield.
Derek J. said he believes that over time natural hair will become more acceptable.
“But right now we’re just fighting to be who we are,” Derek J said.
Pearson said it’s important the movement continues for the next generation.
“Being able to do your hair in a teeny-weenie afro, in a big afro in braids, in locs, as you want to wear it, is more than a simple expression of who you are, it is an expression for a child of who they can be, ”Pearson said.
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