by Sheena L. Young of Sheenalashay.com

THE TAMING OF THE CURL. That’s what I just saw on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. “Oh really,” I thought as I grabbed the paper, “Just what do they have to say about a curl and why in the hell does it need to be tamed?”

I quickly found the article and skimmed it. I came across some phrases like “fear of frizzy curls” , “wild, curling tendrils”, “pressure to tame”, “can’t look unkempt”, “makes it a prettier curl”, “curly hair in theory”, “too big…undefined…looks a mess” and “kinky curly…. more manageable.”

The title of the post made me look up the definition of ‘TAME’, since my first reaction was, “Who said it needs to be tamed?”

This is what I found. TAME means…

  1. Changed from the wild or savage state; domesticated
  2. Docile or submissive
  3. Lacking in excitement; dull; insipid
  4. Spiritless or pusillanimous
  5. Not to be taken very seriously; without real power or importance, serviceable but harmless
  6. To deprive of courage, ardor or zest
  7. To harness or control

Listen, I know there are various schools of thoughts and personal experiences as it relates to natural hair in the workplace, both negative and positive. I’ve even been asked my opinion on various Natural Hair Features. Occasionally, I talk about it on my “Natural Hair” topical videos too over on Youtube.

.My easy answer is…
  1. Curly hair is suitable for the workplace.
  2. My curly hair has never hindered my professional life… both in corporate America and in the arts.
  3. Depending on how you style ANY hair; straight, wavy or curly…you can come across as unkempt or kempt.
  4. Depending on your place of employment, they can be as picky as they want. (One company wanted me to wear company issued red lipstick and corporate pearls around my neck. Just put me in chains, why don’t you!)
  5. For most corporate companies, taking a pick and fro’ing your hair out probably isn’t best! But wearing your hair as it naturally grows like a wash & go or styling it “appropriately” while still being stylish, is more than okay!
I live a successful life in “corporate” America, and in my artistic endeavors, and I’ve never once thought that I advanced or was held back because of my hair…. or my height, or eye color, or weight, etc. I suppose, it is because the fields that interest me also pay little mind to that. Even my day job in the financial industry on WALL STREET in downtown New York allows me to rock my curls. And I rock them in a variety of ways from twist-outs, to braid-outs to curly puffs, curly fro’s, twist knot-outs, etc. Usually, at my job, the bigger the better!

My colleagues take joy in my hair actually. I’m not surprised by this since after interviewing for a job that fulfilled all my qualifications, I also paid special mind to their company culture.

For me, that is just as essential as the pay, the work, the benefits, perks or location. Who are the people? How do they work together? Therefore, the majority of their acceptance of my hair was expected and its always appreciated, although I don’t need it.

I say majority because there’s one associate from one of our firms who projects her issues of insecurity regarding her wavy hair onto my big, curly hair. Whenever I wear my various fro styles, she always has something to say. I hardly ever pay her any mind. She’s not the God of my life, or my source. In fact, BE YOUR OWN SOURCE!
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Besides, for the three comments she made in regards to my hair, the OWNER of the company often stops to compliment my hair. He usually speaks up when I am wearing a curly fro or a big poofy puff. “I like your hair,” he’ll quietly say as he passes by my desk. He’s most vocal about my full out afros. One of my former managers would often say, “I love your hair. I wish I had hair like that!” His wife, who’d visit the office would say, “You always change it up. I love your style.” Another colleague jokes that depending on the day you just never know what I might look like.

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That’s the type of environment I live and work in. If your environment is domesticating you, taking your power and trying to harness and control you until you are spiritless, I’d consider finding a different environment or developing your own. You make the rules. Don’t just go with the flow, BE THE FLOW!

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The Wall Street Journal interviewed an image consultant who added her own two cents and I’m sure her observations will probably discourage a natural or deter a transitioner and it’s unfortunate. I’m sure some people have preconceived notions regarding hair, but that’s only some people. I work for a high powered company that’s changing the world and our look isn’t even suits and ties, or business casual. It’s casual. Colleagues walk by in flip flops and board shorts in the summer. Some people wear the same t-shirt three days in a row. People have piercings, tattoos, and huge FROS. And they are multi-millionaires changing the finance industry every day!

The dream that you want and the ability to be yourself while you achieve it CAN HAPPEN. Perhaps you want to be the top prosecuting attorney in the country. Or you want to be a neurosurgeon, or a best selling author, or the next president. You can be anything you want and you can be yourself while achieving it.

Sure, its easier for me to boost my style and personality in the theater and art industry but I was able to find a corporate job on Wall Street where I could FRO it out too!

Look at the definition of TAME up above? Do you really want someone taming any part of you, including your hair?


Domesticate your horse but I will be damned if anyone ever tames my curls!