The Workplace

The Time My Hairstyle was The Talk of the Office

By: Adwoa-Alexsis Mintah

I’ve always worked in companies that have had a good mix of people. Not too many of one kind of person but a nice mix of multi-cultural personalities and backgrounds. I suppose that’s one of best things about living in London. Up until the end of last year, I was working at an arts organization surrounded by similar people not just in color but in energy and diversity.

That changed when I decided it was time for me to make a change and move into the private sector. Now coming from an arts background, I knew moving into the private sector was going to be different, but how different, I definitely was not prepared for. I had gone from being one of many black women in a company to being the only one.

When I Initially started this new job I had a kinky straight 18 inch wig that I had been wearing for the previous six months. During my time with it, I had received so many compliments that I started to believe it was my own! When the weather eventually began to warm up slightly, I decided it was time for a change and I went from my kinky straight wig to a curly 12-inch wig.

Now in hindsight, perhaps this was too much of a drastic change for people who didn’t really know me, perhaps I should have been a little bit more considerate about the confusion I would cause them, but honestly I had never had any negative experiences in the workplace in regards to my hair, so at that time, these things didn’t even cross my mind.

The day I went in with my curly wig was one I shall not forget for quite some time. I work in a small office of just 6 (all women by the way) of which I am the only black woman. Not only am I the only black woman, I am the only woman of color to have worked at the company in all of its 12 year history. So here I am on an April morning working, when the first of my 5 co-workers walks in, closes the front door, then says,“Oh my god – what happened to all of your hair?”

I explained that the my previous wig had run its course and that I get bored easily with my look so I decided to change it up. She (we’ll call her Lucy) proceeded to then call the other 4 members of the office to let them know I had gone through a “drastic change”. Then one by one they all came in, looked at me, and then asked the same questions as Lucy. Now I can understand that in life not everyone is exposed to different cultures, but in London, it’s pretty hard not to be, unless you choose to be.

I received questions and comments such as:
“Gosh – your hairdresser must make a fortune”
“Do you not like your natural hair?”
“Why don’t you just have your afro out? – I love how soft they feel”
“So is this plastic hair or human because if its human that doesn’t sit well with me?”

I could go on. Now I appreciate that sometimes people say things and don’t realize how offensive or downright rude they can be, but in such a sensitive time both in the UK and US surrounding people of color you would think questions and debates like this would not still be going on in 2016, but they are.

Let’s fast forward to last week. I had decided that I didn’t like the curly wig as much as I had liked it on the Instagram model I had originally seen it on (that ever happen to you too?!), so decided to put in some box braids for a few weeks. Having learnt that my new work colleagues do not like surprises when it comes to my hair, I gave them a whole weeks warning.

When I arrived on Monday morning with my 20 inch braids, I thought there would probably be questions but nothing like before. Well just like clock work, Lucy arrived shortly after me and repeated her same antics, texting and calling the other 4 colleagues yet to arrive so that as soon as they walked through the door they were looking at what I had done to my hair.

I was as patient as I could stand to be until I realized that I couldn’t deal with the same conversations over and over again, like I was some sort of spokesperson for all black women and our hair.

I simply logged onto YouTube and sent an office email with the link to a girl putting in braids, of course this then led to another 30 minutes of questions but it seemed to have ended there. Now, instead of being excited about my next hair switch up (summer is coming after all!) I’m anxious and already irritated at the thought of having to answer questions for hours and days on end.

Have you dealt with a situation similar to this one, where co-workers of different races made you feel uncomfortable about your hair or choie of hairstyle? If so share your experience in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply

27 Comments on "The Time My Hairstyle was The Talk of the Office"

Leave a Comment


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

I work in the physical therapy department as an intern at a hospital. Every time I change my hair, its a really big deal and everyone has something to say about it. Then when I take my hair out, they’re like “What happened to your hair?” Its extremely annoying and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable but I never say anything because I do not want to lose this internship.

Guest
2 months 2 days ago

cole haan cheap

I’m nonetheless learning from you, as I’m trying to obtain my goals. I definitely liked reading everything which is written on your website.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it!

Guest
2 months 2 days ago

emu boots cheap

I really like your writing style, wonderful info , appreciate it for putting up : D.

Guest
2 months 1 day ago

montblanc pen refills

Daniel, yea I can see what you probably did there. I really favored that part, however hehe I am not that harsh like my dad with these things. He all the time tells me loopy stories again within the day and calls me a loser. I assume it is time I move…

Guest
2 months 1 hour ago

buy chanel bags online

reproving unidentified mulder Hera Carmelina hunchback slid constanta croaker

Guest
1 month 30 days ago

cheap roger vivier

The way you write make it truly effortless to read. And the theme you use, wow. Thats a really decent combination. And I am wondering what is the name of the template you use?

Guest
1 month 27 days ago

cheap michael kors outlet

I have been examinating out many of your articles and i can state pretty nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your blog.

Guest
1 month 25 days ago

gucci bags outlet

Howdy, I was looking for Web Design and SEO company located in Glasgow. I believe that Micrositez would be the best choice. Thanks!

Guest
1 month 25 days ago

chanel handbags online store

hmm.. Very thorough post. I have found myself directed here before from aol search and undoubtedly will find myself here again. I just thought I’d take a minute out of my day to express. As a website owner myself I know that is is nice to get some fee…

Guest
1 month 22 days ago

cheap ugg boots

So not really on the same topic as your post, but I found this today and I just cant resist sharing. Mrs. Agathe’s dishwasher quit working so she called a repairman. Since she had to go to work the next day, she told him, “I’ll leave the key under th…

Guest
1 month 13 days ago

cheap berghaus boots

Thanks a lot for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this subject. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your web site with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. My best…

Guest
1 month 12 days ago

cheap fjallraven

Just like the other person said. Get rid of the spammage!

Guest
1 month 5 days ago

cheap patagonia sale

This post is really helpful for some1 who has been having difficulties with this situation. I have looked at a number of resources but to no avail. I will continue reading and learning here in the hope of ultimately getting past this.

Guest
28 days 18 hours ago

arcteryx online shop

Thanks for putting this up, it was quite helpful and helped immensely

Guest
25 days 18 hours ago

moncler store online

I was browsing on line for some information since yesterday night and I at last found this! This is a magnificent webpage by the way, except it seems a little hard to read in my i phone.

Guest
24 days 20 hours ago

UGG Boots outlet

Gracias muchache. Am learning to blog here in Mexico city and this has been most useful for me.

Guest
22 days 9 hours ago

cheap marmot online

Nice site, looks very organized. Finally found what Ive been looking for, thanks!

Guest
21 days 11 hours ago

merrell shoes for women

Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely excellent. I actually like what youve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still…

Guest
18 days 21 hours ago

discount moncler outlet

Fantastic job here. I definitely enjoyed what you had to say. Keep going because you definitely bring a new voice to this topic. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Nicely, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see a…

Guest
17 days 23 hours ago

ecco usa outlet

I am not really sure if greatest procedures have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your good job is clearly identified. I was thinking if you offer any subscription to your RSS feeds as I would be very interested but i cant find any l…

Guest
15 days 9 hours ago

Lafuma store online

Wow, simply changed into aware of your post through Bing, and located that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate for those who proceed this in future. Lots of other people will be benefited from your post. Thanks…

Guest
14 days 12 hours ago

barbour waxed jackets

I added a link to this site on my blog! can you add a link of my blog to your site

Guest
11 days 23 hours ago

moncler jackets online

Oh boy! Its like you understand my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, just like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pictures to drive the content home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great re…

Guest
7 days 7 hours ago

mountain hardwear聽jacket

What I want to know is why I should care? I mean, not to say that what youve got to say isnt important, but I mean, its so generic. Everyones talking about this man. Give us something more, something that we can get behind so we can feel as passionatel…

Guest
5 days 21 hours ago

Millet for sale

Tyvm for the useful information! I wouldnt have found this otherwise!

Guest

belstaff leather jackets for sale

You made certain nice points there. I did a search on the theme and found the majority of persons will have the same opinion with your blog.

Guest
3 hours 28 minutes ago

belstaff outlet sale

Extremely helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

wpDiscuz