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Curly Nikki

Do We Need to Relax our Hair to Get Promoted?

By January 27th, 202113 Comments


  • Anonymous says:

    I guess that's what is meant by transitioning the mind. I'm newly natural, and still have hang ups about wearing my natural hair to interviews. Especially when it's kind of short, kind of long and you can't just put it in a bun, or anything like that.

  • luvleelox says:

    Interesting topic…in my experienced skills have spoken louder than hair (especially back in the day when I was a young professional and weave queen…I regularly wore a plethora of synthetic styles that would make me groan in embarrasment today) but I have also experienced being afraid to wear my natural hair after I BC'd after 9 years of locs…I am so glad I set myself free! I did flat iron my hair once after the BC just to check out the length/look and a blonde chic at work said it was "more professional" I smiled and thought to myself, "your opinion does not surprise me however this is SO not me…I am walking around looking like my mama on a bad hair day (I love my mama but she hasn't had a flattering hairstyle since her afro in 1972…which is why I truly believe some black people just SHOULD NOT WEAR STRAIGHT HAIR!)

  • Journey says:

    i think that it depends on where you work and who you work for. i work on capitol hill and for a long time african americans could not wear natural hair styles. management would not allow it and said it was not professional. then female members of congress started wearing natural hairstyles and the stigma changed. are the higher up happy about it, probably not. but now you cannot be harrassed for having natural hair. and yes it is different for men because there were some men with locs and it was not looked at the same.

    i wear my hair natural and i do think it affects how the "good ole boys" look at me, but i just try to let my job performance speak for itself and i will holler discrimination if i honestly feel it.

  • b. says:

    Anon 10:22…

    I live in Maryland and work in Virginia. I don't know what industry your cousin works for (gov't or what), but the general people in this area aren't afraid of afros. I have one (a big one) and it's fine here. I hope she lets her hair shine. Kudos to you for doing so!

  • Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with Krystality! I’ve been natural for 10+ years (various lengths, shades and styles) and have never felt “held back”. Mind you, I’ve worked many corporate companies when I have been one of or the only person of (any) colour around. It’s all about how you carry yourself and what you stand up for in regards to your career.

    I choose to tone down my normally very funky style while at work, and I suspect my non-black co-workers do the same-and that’s okay. There is a place and a time. . ..and there is nothing wrong with that.

  • Anonymous says:

    UNCANNY…I just thought about posting a question about this same topic.

    I recently bc'ed and sent some pics to my cousins overseas. I live in the caribbean and they live in Maryland,usa. My cousin wrote back to me telling me my hair was lovely and she herself had an afro but has been hiding it under weaves and lace front wigs for the past few years because her afro would scare the "white people" in her area .

    I was totally shocked to think that this sort of thing still happened…

    I really hope that she is an isolated case and this isn't the norm.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think there will be some of us with natural hair that keep it "professional" and "neat" that will be held back.
    I'm not saying just because you have natural hair you can't succeed but we can't act like the possibility isn't out there. Just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it hasn't and won't happen to others.

  • Maria says:

    I met the white guy from "Ask the White Guy" LOL at a company function and he was so nice.
    Anyway I really believe it depends on the culture at work and how you wear your hair. If you do quality work, your hair (no matter what the style) is groomed and you are dressed professional then it shouldn't matter if your hair is relaxed or not. I work for a Fortune 500 and there are diverse people of color there and you see everything from locs to TWA's. I believe that we are the ones that make more of a big deal than anybody else. I say find a mentor, focus on the quality of your work, and try not to conform because at the end of the day you're more than just your paycheck.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why isn't anyone asking if black men need to relax their hair or wear a weave to get promoted?
    This ish is crazy!! When will the fear, paranoia and victim mentality end? What will it take? A black president? Well, we all know THAT will never happen in our lifetime…

  • Accesuality says:

    Nope, and not even a weave. It's so funny but I just had this observation with one of my friends today. Before I would hide my natural hair under wigs and weaves and then finally I couldn't take it anymore. I said if they don't Luke my hair the way I was born ten tough luck but this is my hair!!! So I came to work one day with a TNC and the amount of compliments I got from my coworkers and Boss were ridiculous! They loved my hair the way it was! Furthermore they started inviting me to more client meetings!!!! And I GOT PROMOTED!!! I know this may not be the same experience for everyone but I guess I work for a great company. Now I do work hard and I do have a strong work ethic so that dis pay off but just wanted to say I wasn't looked over because of my hair.
    Too many people especially black people are caught up in thinking natural hair cannot be professional and they subconsciously give us the stigma that we need to hide our hair to move up in the company. Ladies the CEO of xerox has a TWA!!!!
    And to top it off!! I WORK AT A BANK!!! So don't listen to naysayers telling you, you need to perm your hair or press it for an interview. If a company doesn't hire you or passes u up for a promotion becaause of your hair, do you really want to work there?!??

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been with my company for 7 years and have worn everything from flat-ironed hair to locs to now a fro and I have yet to experience any issues with getting promoted or noticed or treated differently. I'm constantly on a steady incline with this company because they value my work and creativity, not my hairstyle. I will admit, I'm attractive regardless of how I wear my hair and my energy is incredibly positive from the moment I walk through the doors until it's time to leave so that could have something to do with my success.

    I've noticed unattractive people or the grumblers constantly get passed up and that's what the article should be about. Everyone has a glow and they should feel free to shine at work.

  • Krystality says:

    From my experience I have never been held back from opportunities b/c of my skin color (dark skin) or my hair(4b). In fact straight out of college I demanded only management positions and did not accept anything less. I think that no matter if you have relaxed or natural hair your hair has to be neat, clean, and styled. Just b/c you have natural hair doesn't mean you can walk around without combing your hair and then expect a management position or promotion.

    Yesterday Nikki posted two styles which where both beautiful but one was clearly more work appropriate and that's ok b/c not every style is appropriate for every occassion.

    I think that instead of placing the blame on someone else or something else why we don't get the promotions or the job or have the best career etc. we need to look inside ourselve and take the time to do the work and gain the knowledge to not only look different then norm but to also be different as fare as knowing more, working harder, staying later, always ready for a challenge, and always ready to out shine anyone that may be in our way.

    We have to be confident in who we are and what we know and be able to express it.

    What I am saying is yes there may be unfairness but it comes down to how bad do you want it and how hard are you ready to fight for what you know you deserve.


  • Anonymous says:

    Nope! you can get a weave or a sew in. hate to say it! but that's the truth!

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