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Nov 3, 2008

Locs in the Workplace

Since wearing my locs in Las Vegas, Nevada I have met some resistance. Especially since I have worked in a corporate atmosphere. Remember, Las Vegas isn't the East Coast, or the South, nor the extreme West. Which means people are still very limited to the amount of exposure they have or will experience. Most of the black women out here in Las Vegas, Nevada unfortunately wear weaves. There is nothing wrong with a good weave, but that's the point, half the time they aren't very believable, nor nicely done. I just think the Black people here aren't exposed to their culture enough. Which brings me back to the point of wearing locs, or natural hairstyles in the workplace.

Again, I walked up in the financial institution where their is maybe 5 black people in the whole damn division out of 65. Needless to say, the upper management never questioned me about my hair, but my peers were definitely curious. I even had a woman state that she didn't think that my hair was appropriate. Of course I challenged her, taking it all the way to Human Resources. You see, I refuse to allow anyone to attack me because of my culture, or make me feel like I need to change who I am just to fit into their standards. I ensured my hair was maintained meticulously. I wore it curled, crinkled, in an updo. All sorts of beautiful looks. I always wore very professional clothing, and suits and left no room for naysayers.

So, take care when wearing natural hairstyles and locs in the workplace. Ensure you keep them groomed to perfection. No need to shock, and try to make a point with overdoing it with adornments. Remember, corporate equals to conservative. Wearing your hair naturally is making a point. The point that you are comfortable in your own skin, that you love and appreciate who you are, and that you will not apologize for accepting and being the real you.

Has anyone worn their hair natural in a corporate workplace? Got a story to share? I may place it on the web. Remember women of color need to read similar stories, to get the encouragement they need to be natural.


Dr Locs said...

I recently interviewed for a senior position in a healthcare setting. My first interview ended up being scheduled for the same day that I had scheduled to have my locks installed later that evening. I almost cancelled the lock session to wait until after the outcome on the job but I figured, if they trip at the second interview, then I didn't need to work in that environment anyway. Fortunately, no issues and I started my new job a few weeks later. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of naturally coifed sisters that I have met so far - everything from SLs, traditionals, to TWAs and barely there fades. All very professional, all very appropriate and enviably beautiful.

Nihuru said...

When I begin my job I had TWA that I kept two strand twisted. One year later I was promoted into management. It was during this time that I decided to get locks. My employee has to maintain ACA Accreditation and during the last ACA audit, very high ranking officials from across the country came to our facility. One of the Auditors commented to the Superintendent of our facility, after meeting me, that he was glad to see that I was allowed to embrace my heritage without fear of retaliation. The Superintendent informed me of this at a later time. I was not only sporting my locs but I was adorned in full African Attire. The gentleman who made the comment was of pure African descent. Needless to say, we aced the Audit and in closing remarks this gentleman commented on his conversation with the Supt. regarding me. My co-workers called me "Ms. Audit" for a while after that because they attributed my appearance and attraction of this gentleman as the reason we got such high marks.

I will say that there have been trailblazers, well at least one, at my current facility. This gentleman had locks down his back,and lost his job when he refused to cut them because they were "unprofessional". He got his job back, locks and all, a lot of money in his pocket and he is still there today.

Be Blessed!