What is all the fuss about Black hair in the workplace?

Across industries and professions, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of fostering inclusive and diverse environments. However, the issue of how Black individuals choose to style and present their hair in professional settings has been a contentious one, highlighting the need for greater understanding and acceptance.

Dive into this collection of articles and informative videos that delve into the complex dynamics surrounding Black hair in the workplace. These resources shed light on the historical, cultural, and personal aspects that contribute to the ongoing debate, offering different perspectives and valuable insights for employers, employees, and anyone interested in this crucial subject.

From personal experiences to legal considerations, these resources aim to promote empathy, education, and dialogue, ultimately striving for a more inclusive future where everyone’s identity is respected and embraced.

Ten Black hair in the workplace explainers

  1. ‘We need to push’: hair discrimination fight moves to UK workplaces | Race | The Guardian
    This article discusses the new guidance by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that prevents hair discrimination in schools, and the need to extend it to workplaces and other public settings. It also features the stories of some campaigners and activists who have experienced hair discrimination and are working to raise awareness and change policies.
  2. UK sees first black ‘hair code’ to protect employees against discrimination | The Independent
    This article reports on the launch of the Halo Code, a campaign by a group of young black activists to create a code of conduct that celebrates natural hairstyles and protects workers from race-based hair discrimination. It also mentions that Unilever has become the first company to adopt the code and support its employees.
  3. ‘Black Hair’ is Never ‘Just Hair’: A Closer Look at Afro Discrimination in the Workplace
    This blog post explores the legal and social implications of hair discrimination in the workplace, and how it affects the identity, confidence and career prospects of black people. It also provides some tips and advice on how to challenge hair discrimination and seek legal redress if necessary.
  4. How I fought back against hair discrimination at work – BBC News
    This article tells the story of Simone Powderly, a black woman who was asked to remove her braids during a job interview at a recruitment agency. She refused to do so, and later filed a complaint with the EHRC. She also launched a petition to make hair discrimination illegal in the UK, which gained over 100,000 signatures.
  5. Why Black Women’s Hair Is A Big Deal In The Workplace – Forbes
    This article examines the historical and cultural context of black women’s hair, and how it has been stigmatized, politicized and commodified. It also highlights some of the challenges and opportunities that black women face in the workplace when it comes to their hair choices, and how they can navigate them with confidence and authenticity.
  6. How To Talk About Black Hair At Work – HuffPost UK
    This article is a guide for non-black people who want to learn more about black hair and how to talk about it respectfully and appropriately at work. It covers some basic facts, common myths, dos and don’ts, and resources for further education.
  7. Why I Cut My Natural Hair Off After 10 Years Of Growth – Medium
    This blog post is a personal reflection by a black woman who decided to cut off her natural hair after 10 years of growing it out. She explains her reasons for doing so, which include wanting a change, feeling overwhelmed by maintenance, and facing microaggressions at work. She also shares her feelings after cutting her hair, and how it has impacted her sense of self.
  8. A conversation about Black hair in the workplace and the push to normalize its professionalism – YouTube
    This video features a conversation with two black women who discuss the issue of hair discrimination in the workplace and the push to normalize natural hairstyles as professional. They also talk about the CROWN Act, a legislation that aims to ban hair discrimination in the US, and how it can inspire similar changes in the UK.
  9. The Psychology of Black Hair | Johanna Lukate – YouTube
    This video is a TEDx talk by Johanna Lukate, a psychologist and researcher who explores the psychological and social aspects of black hair. She explains how black hair is influenced by historical, cultural and political factors, and how it affects the identity, self-esteem and well-being of black people. She also advocates for more diversity and inclusion in the media and society regarding black hair.
  10. No. You Cannot Touch My Hair! | Mena Fombo – YouTube
    This video is a TEDx talk by Mena Fombo, a coach, facilitator and activist who shares her personal and professional experiences of hair discrimination as a black woman. She explains how hair discrimination is a form of racism that dehumanizes and objectifies black people, and how it affects their mental health, education and career opportunities. She also introduces her campaign “No. You Cannot Touch My Hair”, which aims to raise awareness and challenge hair discrimination in the UK and beyond. She urges everyone to respect the boundaries and dignity of black people and their hair.

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