By Erickka Sy Savané

When news reporter Dana Whyte of Michigan recently took to her twitter account to profess that she had worn her her natural hair on-camera for the first time, ending an internal struggle that had plagued her since the beginning of her career, I thought, “Whoa, baby, we still got work to do!”


 Dana’s Tweet

So let me say that I was a bit surprised that someone with Dana’s loose texture waves was struggling to show them. I mean, when it comes to rocking our natural hair at work, the tendency is to think of afro hair in its more kinky varieties. The fact that this woman struggled with showing her natural waves on TV is a testament that we still have a long way to go. We still have bought into this idea that one drop of kink makes our hair unprofessional and therefore unsuitable for the workplace. So we  hide our authentic selves in exchange for a look we feel can pass the workplace paper bag test.

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And it’s kinda interesting when you look at these two photos of Dana because there’s not a huge difference in the natural (left) and straightened (right) hairstyles. It makes you wonder, is this idea of no kink at work only in our heads? 

Well, not so fast….

Louisville, KY high school ban

In Louisville, Kentucky, just last year, a high school banned natural hairstyles that it deemed distracting. While ponytails- a more European style- was just fine.

Pretoria, high school girls via

There were also the young girls in Pretoria, South Africa who in 2016 had to fight their school to change a long-standing dress code that banned cornrows, braids, locs that are more than a centimeter in diameter, and afros that weren’t pushed back or tied up. Many students recall being told that they need to “fix” their hair.

And let’s not forget the on-again-off-again ban on natural hair in the military. 

So it’s no wonder some black women are more than a little squeamish about showing any sign of kink. However, things are changing and natural hair is popping up in places where it hasn’t been before… 

Tweet via Blavity
I mean, check out news commentator Angela Rye who can now be seen in cornrows, depending on the day…

Simone Sanders 
And political analyst Simone Sanders who is taking no prisoners with her bombass fade.

The truth is, there will always be people against our hair. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t be our authentic selves, that we can’t push the boundaries of what is ‘acceptable’ at work, school, or the local bar. Kudos to Dana and women of color everywhere who are coming out of the woodwork, proudly showing their kinks, no matter how loose or tight, because it’s the only way that our hair will be ‘normalized.’

Do you think that natural hair is becoming more acceptable at work?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in,,, and more. When she’s not writing…wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or