Natural Hair in the Corporate World and Acceptance in American Culture

My natural hair journey was a struggle when it came to accepting my kinky curls and develop a relationship with them.

It’s not as simple as getting up one day and deciding, “Yes! Today is the day I wear my curly crown and put my middle fingers up!”

It’s so much deeper than that, it’s psychological, emotional even.

I’m a woman of color with kinky bouncy curls and I wasn’t around my African American side of the family while I was growing up to educate me about my culture or my hair.

Now knowing, that hair care is a HUGE part of my culture.

When I was younger, I went to a private school that was predominantly all White so I didn’t have much to reference when it came to finding people that looked like me.
Everyone had stick-straight hair that was nowhere near as kinky as mine.

So, I would just gather up my curls and slick it back into the tightest of the tightest of ponytails which was my desperate attempt to conform my coif to fit in with the rest of the plain Janes at school.

Little did I know the damage I was causing to my edges!

My edges are still paying for all that lack of blood flow and toxic hairspray, I’m so sorry babies.

Long story short, I was not raised to love my hair which was absolutely not my parents fault, my mother did her absolute best to care for my curls and did a fantastic job while my dad, well come on, he’s a dad, he was just happy my hair was tamed, let alone cared what it looked like.

Culture Fuzz natural hair
Natural hair was not celebrated back in the day the way it’s beginning too now, and there’s still a long ass way to go. If I wore my hair curly and out while in grade school or high school, I would get the most unwanted attention. I became a specimen or some kind of anomaly that the kids couldn’t wrap their minds around. I felt like a fucking sting ray in the petting section of the aquarium and experiences like that made me loathe my curly hair.

Fast forward about 10 years and that’s when my journey began. My journey of self-love I like to call it. By that point I had met enough people who showed me how to care for my curls in the proper way and once I reached my “fuck it” point and got sick of straightening my hair all of the time, I got what is now infamously known as THE CHOP. Cutting off all the dead hair and beginning my expedition of loving myself the exact way God made me.

Having that type of attitude and acceptance towards myself actually motivated a lot of my “curlfriends” to join me on my natural hair quest and I became addicted to helping women find the beauty in their “curly crown”.

I became addicted to helping women love themselves.

I’ve been wearing my natural hair for over 10 years now and can’t remember the last time they touched heat.

I embrace my curls and baby haired crown wholeheartedly. I embrace them hard and wear my big hair loud and proud.

I honestly didn’t know i felt so passionately about this until one day, I was joking around with one of my best friends, who is not a WOC (woman of color) by the way, and we were going back and forth about clients and meetings and I jokingly said, “Girl, bring me with you and I can complement the deal!”

She then said, without skipping a beat, “You would have to straighten your hair first.”

She meant nothing malicious by that comment, we have a friendship that is 14 years old and she knows my hair journey. But her statement made me realize how much of a stigma having curly hair still is in corporate society, and to be frank, I just ain’t having it. I am determined to dominate as a business woman period and not feel ashamed for letting my curls be free.

I used to work for a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills where image is EVERYTHING hunnty and from time to time I would get interesting looks, or comments from my ex boss letting me know, ‘wow, you’re making a statement with that hair’. Why does it have to be a statement? Why can’t I wear my normal natural hair without being stereotyped into being a rebel, or a feminist or a proud black queen? Why can’t I just be, and be good at my job?

I’m not allowing my curly hair set the standard for my work, my actual work ethic and demonstration of working hard is what I want to be known for.

To all of you magical women of color who still struggle with this complicated journey:

Yes, the world may be a little taken aback at first because you didn’t conform to corporate standards, but babygirl, I promise you, if you stand your ground and demand, through your work ethic, to be judged by how you work and not how your hair looks, they will have no choice but to accept you as…well… you.
Do not care what other people think, we need more warriors to continue to blaze the trail for the younger girls preparing to step into this world.

It is up to us to set the standard on curly crowns in the corporate world.

Let’s face it, when America talks about a beautiful women, they’re not talking about cute ethnic girls with kinky hair, we know exactly what they are referring too and I’m not that. I will never be that. And I love that.

Yah, sure, I could conform, straighten my hair and be a good little worker but everyone takes that road and no one is any better of a person. I have always been one to stand up for myself and make waves so this is definitely a lifelong battle I choose to fight. Yes, I love to play around with different looks but my curls are my crown and they have become a strong part of who I am. I cannot compromise who I am because of the standards society has set. I want to go against the grain, I want to give little girls hope, and I want to be a vision of inspiration to others.

I want to help change the world, one curly head at a time.

Rissa SoFar
Rissa SoFar

Rissa SoFar

Rissa SoFar is a lover of building bridges and creating a safe space for people to have important conversations. As the founder and creator of Culture Fuzz, Rissa works to bridge the gap to people, places, products and ideas will surely make a quality difference in your life.

One thought on “Natural Hair in the Corporate World and Acceptance in American Culture

  • Avatar
    September 26, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this fantastic blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand
    new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *