Rhonda Lee had long been told that she needed to make her natural hair "more pleasing to a wider audience," she told HuffPost Live on Thursday, but she never expected her hair style to actually compromise her job.
Lee, an African American woman who currently works as a meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, recalled how comments she made in response to Internet vitriol targeting her hair ultimately led to her being fired by her former network.
Lee's Article Highlights:
Rhonda says it's a blessing and a curse that people can say exactly what they think about you at any given time on social media.
It's amazing to think people consider statements about your own hair "controversial", as Rhonda said, she didn't consider her hair to be controversial but something that grows out of her head.
Rhonda Lee was told on her job interview at KTBS 3 News, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, Louisiana, that it was seen as "the white station" in town, later she was told she might want to change her hair to appeal to a "wider" audience.
I'm loving that Porsha's natural hair is looking so beautiful, I'm hating that she only shows it as a teaser to the next weave. I agree with Porsha's stylist, the constant weave is an illusion, I'd disagree that it's flawless though. The flaw is acting like your own hair isn't acceptable and not good enough to be seen in public.
Porsha looked naturally beautiful in her shortly-lived natural hair moment. Genuinely beautiful, but.... She feels the need to... Ahhh forget it. Do what you wanna do Porsha.
Porsha Williams is definitely a weave queen, it'll be interesting to see if that changes one day. Sometimes I have to wave the white flag and hope for the best, this is one those moments.
By and large, people assume that a Black woman wearing her natural hair is making some sort of political statement, which is why I predict that depending on how far she advances in the competition, Abena Appiah’s coiffure will illicit no small buzz once the event is televised.
We shall see!
Editor’s Note: From www.mindofmalaka.com -When the 63rd Miss Universe Pageant comes around in a couple of weeks(Jan 25, Sunday), we will see something that has never been seen before in a beauty contest of this magnitude.
The beautiful Abena Appiah will be the first Ghanaian woman to compete while wearing her hair naturally.
In the past, it was the norm forn black beauty contestants to rock straight hair in order to fit in, well Abena will stand out from the crowd. There's no doubt that Abena Appiah’s hair will be a central focus of attention and that's a good thing.
Why? Because she's showing women with her hair that they are also "universally" beautiful as their natural selves. I'll be tuned in. Here are our article highlights:
The standard of beauty in Western culture is overwhelmingly Eurocentric, which makes her decision very notable.
We are approaching a point where natural hair is becoming more mainstream than ever.
Although it's important, Abena Appiah is more than just her hair, she's an excelling and intelligent academic student, as well as talented musician.
This was a truly profound and REAL conversation about the way Western and American culture views and treats beauty that sits outside of it's typical standards.
Actress Nicole Ari Parker of Broadway's Streetcar Named Desire, University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler, cultural critic Joan Morgan, and CurlyNikki.com founder Nikki Walton, sit down with Melissa Harris-Perry to talk about the political messages behind black hair and hairstyles.
Editor’s Note: This set of videos is a classic throwback journalistic piece, in case you haven't seen it they talk about how more women have turned towards going natural since 2007 and are changing the economy of black hair.
The ladies really lay it out on the line in this heartfelt conversation, they speak very honestly about their feelings, how having children changed their perspective on their own hair and how America's view on black hair impacts the psyche of black women in their own self-perception.
They talk about the importance of telling little black girls how beautiful their hair is when doing their hair instead of saying derogatory remarks, like "you look a mess", "you ain't going outside looking like that" and "let's work on that kitchen". Here are our video highlights:
It's amazing that it's considered "revolutionary" to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head.
They talk about worrying about if black men will find them attractive, will employers want to hire them.
Black women have literally been dying of poor health because they don't want to workout and mess up their hair.
A little over a year ago, a group of black women caused quite a stir when they stood in New York City’s Union Square with signs that said, “You can touch my hair.”
Billed as an “interactive public art exhibit,” their event allowed anyone to “explore the tactile fascination with black hair by” touching real-life black hair on real-life black women.
Editor’s Note: Many black people were outraged at this display, but many were encouraged and uplifted.
Some thought the women subjected themselves to being treated like animals at a petting zoo. Some thought the women were opening lines of communication with people who may not understand ethic differences but aren't bad people because of that.
Look.... We're all human and want to be treated with equal respect. However, I think the main thing here is these beautiful black women are opening themselves up to the world in order to give insight to people who are curious, as well as shed some light on how women in general feel about their hair. As one woman in the video said, some women are more closed off, some are very open, and some feel their hair is an extension of their spirituality or their very being, so that is why it is so closely guarded. I think it's interesting that these women are willing to give this experience to people with absolutely none of black hair. Overall, I feel that without curiosity you can never learn or grow.
But yes, there is a definite line that shouldn't be crossed. Never force your curiosity on someone, especially if you don't know them. I think one of the women in the video was correct in saying that people should make friends first or at least be in a close enough relationship/acquaintance to warrant asking about personal hygiene. Giving compliments, admiring, asking how they get their hair so shiny, those things shouldn't be so taboo though.
At the end of the day, these videos are a nice gateway to not feel so shy or like it's taboo to talk or ask questions about things that we as humans have to deal with on a day-to-day basis like hair care, skin care, fashion, lifestyle etc. Just don't go touching people all random schmandom, you might get hurt that way. Here are our video highlights:
Black women feel persecuted for their hair and for good reason.
Some people are "honestly ignorant" and those are the people tht can be helped understand the differences in human beings.
Hair is an emotional topic of conversation for many women.
I think what is important about Viola Davis taking her wig off on How to Get Away With Murder is that it illustrates that there is a mask that women are thought to have to wear. For black women, it can be a more complex mask. Our culture has created a very limited view of what beauty is and can be.
Editor’s Note: I've always loved Tracee Ellis Ross and her hair. Being a Detroit boy myself I have a special place in my heart for Motown's own Diana Ross and her daughter. I have to agree with Tracee that it's so good to see natural black hair on TV. Little girls of all races need to see that in mainstream media and know that it's something beautiful. Here are our article highlights:
It is important that black girls and women see beautiful images of themselves in the media.
Tracee Ellis Ross says she's done playing society's game in order to be considered beautiful.
A Black woman’s beauty is far from the European standards of beauty this country follows.
10-minute mini documentary that discusses the historical context of African-American women that are on television and natural hair. The doc highlights Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Harris-Perry, Rochelle Ritchie, and Rhonda Lee.
Editor’s Note: This was a nice and quick 10-minute documentary with a panel of four professional black women talking about the pressures of needing to constantly worry about how they and their hair are seen in the eyes of Western society.
The panel discusses experiences of prominent black women in the media and Professor Yanela Gordon raises an interesting point when she says that in the United States black women and black hair has been portrayed as the opposite of beauty and that tactic was used in order to create and develop an inferiority complex which was required to enable slavery to work in the first place. Finally, there was a point that I couldn't agree with more, and that was that little black girls need to see black women BE black women in order to feel pride in themselves. Here are our article highlights:
The panel of black women talk about how they have tried to fit in with the majority "white" look when interviewing for jobs.
A lot of times women don't want to associate with their natural selves because they don't know the history behind it and that it's something to be proud of.
According to Melissa Harris-Perry, dreadlocks are "locs" not "dreads" and not something to be dreaded.
The panel of women thinks that more and more young girls will embrace their natural hair in the future.
The film (Dear White People) is partly about the black characters coming to terms with the white characters, and partly about the black characters coming to terms with each other—with the many different possible ways to identify as black.
The characters’ hair becomes a stand-in for their relationship to their identity. As the story unfolds, each character chooses to transform their hair in some way—except for Troy, who tellingly chooses to not change his hair at all. The superficiality of appearance is directly connected to our deepest notions of identity. Olivia Pope from “Scandal” has walked in and out of the White House for every episode of the show without ever revealing to its interior what her hair really looks like.
Editor’s Note: Sonia Saraiya does a good job of highlighting the big year that natural black hair had on television and films in 2014 in this year end review, I'd actual never even heard of "Dear White People" before reading this article, but I'd like to give it a look now and I think I will. It's good to see more of natural black hair on display, I look forward to the time when it won't be so rare that it needs its own article. More than that, I look forward to it being shown in a good light more consistently and presented as beautiful because it is. Here are my article highlights:
Without a doubt, the defining moment for natural hair this year was Viola Davis’ character Annalise Keating taking off her wig in “How To Get Away With Murder.”
If there's one way 2014 introduced texture and variety to the cultural landscape, it's in the realm of hair.
Olivia Pope from "Scandal" finally showed off her natural hair in the fourth-season premiere.
Article Snippet: "Her hair is just wild," Rooks notes. In this version, Annie is played by the African-American actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild. And Rooks says Wallis' hair, as Annie, continues to stand out.
Editor's Note: A very uplifting article talking about the new "Annie" movie coming out and the new dynamic of having black hair as a central part in the promotion of the movie. I am just now hearing about this movie, I've been out of the loop but I'd like to see it now. My boy Jamie Foxx is in it too. Here are my favorite quotes from the article:
"The 'fro is too political or too threatening or too black or something?"
"what we hear is that white mothers do not know what to do with black children's hair."
"It's difficult for us to find cultural productions that are about the love and care of little black children, I give them two thumbs up for that."