By Micah Bledsoe and Ashlea Brown
Men and women journalists at the 2019 NABJ Convention and Career Fair are celebrating their black hair. The many hairstyles worn and compliments shared in Miami have elevated hair to a hot topic of conversation.
A group of television journalists even got together for a photo showing off their styles.
“Spice it up,” Dijon McCain, an Intern with Go 95.3, says. “Choose a different hairstyle, a different flavor–dye it, even if Grandma will be mad.”
However, the issue of whether to wear more natural styles is one that children and adults face. Many professional black men and women are afraid of sporting their hair because of fear of being rejected or even fired.
Adrienne Broaddus, a reporter for KARE 11, said she used to not like her hair whenever she looked in the mirror and would even spend hours straightening it. Broaddus was even nervous to wear her hair in twists to this year’s convention.
“I was afraid people would look at me, specifically recruiters, with a side eye,” she said.
What hairstyles are appropriate for the workplace and even school classrooms has become news.
In August 2018, an 11-year-old Louisiana girl was sent home from her private Roman Catholic school because of extensions in her hair.
In the past week a Facebook post of a new hair policy at an Atlanta elementary school went viral. Styles deemed inappropriate included braids, twist and certain lined haircuts, all hairstyles that reflect black hair and expression. It caused conversational outrage among many parents and people on social media.
Daily Blast Live Host Erica Cobb says that because of such criticism, “For too long black women and men have not been their authentic selves.”
Brian Vines, managing editor and correspondent of BRIC TV, said he often hears more criticism from black people than from anyone else.
“It can be a sort of a double edged sword because people might know you more for the way you look than for what you say,” he said.
Candace Sautman, a producer with the NBA, said she has been wearing her hair natural before it became trendy, but it was not easy growing up.
“I remember kids even throwing things in my hair and like scratching my hair and like seeing things come out of it at the end of the day,” Sautman said.
Over time Broaddus has become grateful that she switched to more natural hairstyles. She was especially excited to meet up with her TV colleagues for the group photo.
“There’s a block on my counter that says, ‘Help me accept the things I can’t change.’”
The hair conversations will continue at the Natural Hair and Reporting workshop from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Palmetto 10.