Is an Afro Unprofessional?

 I’m curious about what you think of my hair.

 
  
  
  
 Asos vest // Alexander Wang Dress // Valentino Heels

Recently I’ve been having discussions about natural hair in the corporate workplace. This could be my own paranoia but I still think my colleagues find it inappropriate and unprofessional to wear an afro to work.

If you’ve been following me for some time now, you would know that I’ve struggled with this for a long time…having to wear “more professional- looking” wigs to work to blend in and not cause so much attention to myself.

At the moment, I am currently making a presentation/pamphlet that will be available to recent grads, in particular; providing all the necessary information needed to land a job after graduation.

At the point in which I discuss having a ‘wow factor,’ I am simply stuck.

Should your “wow factor” be limited to accolades and what you can bring to the job of your choice? How about your physical look? It is a discussion that can tread on the path of discrimination talks in HR depts… But isn’t it something everyone thinks of? Don’t we all know, for example, that a well-fit person is more likely to secure a job over an overly obese person?

And what about hair? Would I be discriminated against should I show up to an interview in the fro pictured above? With recent natural hair trends, you would think more people would e less ignorant towards ‘black’ hair. However, I’ll have you know, this is not the case. I STILL get ignorant questions and remarks about my hair.

So posing this question to anyone who wants to comment. Is natural hair, particularly a kinky type afro, unprofessional in a corporate work setting?

Let me know your thoughts below.

23 Comments

  1. July 20, 2016 / 10:22 am

    I love it and you look amazing hair should not define ones ability to get the job done!

    • July 20, 2016 / 10:24 am

      Thank you dear! I know. But it seems to be the evil truth that it does?

      • Michelle George
        July 20, 2016 / 4:05 pm

        Our Physical looks should not come into the equation when evaluating performance. Like you, I have natural hair and also work in a corporate setting; however, as long as your hair is not posing a hazard or you are not breaking any organisational rules, then there should be no real problem. The issue in some corporate settings is with some people’s perceptions of an afro or natural afro type hair being unprofessional. Unfortunately, some people do frown on natural hair. Dreadlocks (locks in general) are also given a bad rep and perceived by some as being unprofessional. Sadly, the “preferred norm” in Corporate America is to mimic your boss; who would, most of the time, have Caucasian hair. However, I think the most important thing is that your hair should not define your ability to get the job done.

    • July 20, 2016 / 10:25 am

      … Rather it seems ppl still subconsciously feel threatened by natural hair in corporate America?

      • July 21, 2016 / 6:15 am

        I feel they see the natural hair as a black power movement and they fear it! We should be proud of our natural roots and they need to accept because it’s here to stay ✊🏾

      • July 21, 2016 / 6:17 am

        Additionally, natural hair to many reminds them of the Black Panthers and they fear what they don’t know or understand so they automatically judge.

    • July 20, 2016 / 10:49 am

      Thank you and I agree.

      But they do say you should look and act like your boss to get noticed … Lol

      • Bukola
        July 20, 2016 / 11:38 am

        I absolutely think it’s still “frowned” upon in the corporate environment. I do not wear my Afro to work often, however when I do I’m no longer self conscious about it because I’ve come to believe that if I wow them with my performance/output my Afro is no longer their focus.

  2. Ada_ugo
    July 20, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    gurl, I’m just waiting for your video on that lovely hair. I’ve been waiting for months since you said you would back in like April or something, but issokay, I’m patient!… lol

    • July 20, 2016 / 2:04 pm

      Lmbooooooooooooooooo this is too funny!

      When you see the video you shall see why it took so long madam!

      • Ada_ugo
        July 20, 2016 / 2:12 pm

        haha… it better be good! 🙂

  3. Ada_ugo
    July 20, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    with regards to the hair, to be 100% honest, I think having an afro at the work place is taken to be a bit “in your face”/out there… should it be that way? absolutely not!!. But unless you’re planning to be the one to start the natural hair workplace revolution, and bear the consequences that come with it, then I’d advise it’s better to be safe and present yourself in a way that’s accepted as being more professional, and let the focus be on other things than your hair.

    It’s kind of like how asians and people who don’t feel confident in the way they speak go for coaching on how to speak better to make them excel more in a professional setting. Should they have to do that to succeed? I should hope not! does it help them move ahead professionally? Absolutely!… so I suppose it’s just a case of picking one’s battles – what’s more important to you – challenging the status quo on what has been taken to be acceptable for decades/centuries or excelling and thriving in your field? It’s a pity that a choice has to be made but…C’est la vie!

  4. Michelle George
    July 20, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    Also, your hair is absolutely fierce and very gorgeous!

  5. July 20, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Here’s the thing. This is the way hair grows out of your scalp. You shouldn’t have to chemically treat your hair…. To your detriment… To make other folks comfortable. And the people folks think you should emulate don’t have to chemically alter their appearance to make anyone comfortable.

    What’s next? Should you hack off your breasts to look like your male boss?

    • July 20, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      Yes! 100% agree!

  6. July 20, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Girl! Your hair is AMAZING! It is naturally beautiful and it’s growing directly out of your scalp! So YES, in my opinion it is classy, formal and professional. I would maybe sit in the back at work meetings as not to block anyone’s view, but that is the ONLY thing i would do to make other’s comfortable. Natural hair is SO versatile; there are so many styles to try besides the fro if you’re self-conscious. I, not to be disrespectful, I honestly find it very difficult to look through photos on your posts with wigs knowing the natural beauty that lies beneath.

    Any workplace that didn’t accept my natural hair would not have me as an employee. I know it can be a struggle to come to terms so I wish you the best of luck. Don’t lose your beautiful self in the process.

    And lastly, being your authentic self + loving yourself inspires others to do the same!

  7. lumynex09
    September 8, 2016 / 1:11 am

    Love..Love your HAIR!!!. Beautiful!! Afro hair is not at all unprofessional. I feel it depends on were you are working that is govern by what job site deem as a professional look. However, we do live in a free county (USA) and we can use our govern amendments when needed. If the hair is nicely done, clean, and style well. ROCK it to the fullest. If having one of those bad hair days, can put in a puff or accessorize with a scarf or sleek back, until AFRO can look well groomed/styled again.I am also a natural hair blogger. Can freely visit my site http://lumynexessentials.com/category/styling-your-natural-hair/

  8. October 3, 2016 / 10:30 am

    Your hair is beautiful and you look very professional. I have read some the comments and agree that it is fear, tethered back to the black power movement. But there is a fair amount of stupidity involved, too. We are not born with straightened or relaxed hair. Feeling that natural hair is unprofessional is ignorant, and makes one feel that you’d be more accepted if it were straight. But the truth is, if you succumb to their expectations of what your hair should look like, you be assimilating, and they would still work hard to find another reason to outcast you. Just be yourself and to hell with it.

  9. November 2, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    All those coils & curls are just perfection! Your Afro is so healthy looking & luscious!!! Like so many other comments have expressed on this post, I 10000000000000000000000000000% concur that an Afro is professional, classy & formal amongst other amazing things! So rock your beautiful God given hair! Bc you do it oh so well!

    Thanks for sharing xx

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