• brejaminperkins

Bending the Rules

Just want to have a real discussion.

For decades now, the typical Anchor/Reporter you see on local and national news outlets have looked remotely the same hair-wise. Acknowledge it or not, but there is an unspoken Eurocentric outward standard of beauty, especially in the media. Many of us who've decided to pursue careers in this field have been brainwashed to believe we must bend to get jobs, look professional, or be accepted and taken seriously by industry professionals. In some aspects this is still true. But thankfully, the floodgates of individuality and choice are slowly opening as women around the world are taking back their power and self-identity.

Bending the rules.

I've been fully natural for nearly two years. If you aren't certain about what I mean when I use the term natural in reference to hair, please take a brief intermission from reading and hit up Google.

The first time I decided to wear my natural hair out at work I was a nervous wreck, but I also felt empowered. Surprisingly, the community of viewers who watch me daily and those at my workplace have accepted and embraced the crown on my head many still consider unruly. But I know my experience is not one many other African American female Journalists have had. Many have been faced with ridicule, social media bullying, threats to be pulled off the air, or just flat out told what to do and what not to do with the hair on THEIR heads. Sounds crazy, right? In an industry where your looks are put on display for criticism every day, this only adds to the never-ending stress.

Change and versatility are apart of Black culture. It is who we are! I've said this once and I’ll say it again. Telling any woman, no matter her ethnicity, that she changes her hair too much is like telling the sun that it shines too bright.

When I rock my natural hair on television young girls and women everywhere get to see themselves authentically.

I returned to work last month from vacation with waist length box braids, a very bold move. I was prepared to have "the talk" with management and even expected to receive a few foolish remarks from viewers. But, I got away scotch free with no negativity! The entire experience was such a breath of fresh air. And I continued to wear my braids for the remainder of the month. This victory may seem small, but I count it as a win for the culture! I got a few strange looks the first day, but I can deal with that. What I can't deal with, nor should anyone have to, is another person telling me what I should look like. What good is an "image" if it's not a true reflection of who you are?

Recently a fellow TV sister, Demetria Olibor, received a hateful comment from a viewer regarding her size and the clothing she wears on air. She's also received distasteful remarks from viewers regarding her natural hair in the past.


Credit: NBC News

Viral incidents like this are unfortunate and pretty ridiculous. But they also spark necessary conversations that need to be had. Don't criticize what you don't understand. Instead, take the time to educate yourself, and others, in hopes of gaining a better understanding.

We were not designed to look the same.

© 2020 Brejamin Perkins. All rights reserved.