“Two weeks earlier, afterwards aboriginal installing the coiled twist, my administrator fabricated a big accord of my beard change. She’d ask added coworkers, ‘Don’t you aloof adulation Ayana’s hair?’ bidding added conversations I didn’t ask to be a allotment of. She arrive the COO to my appointment door, answer how continued it had taken for me to complect my hair, and how ‘cool’ it was. He responded, ‘Huh, interesting.’
“Here’s the thing: I didn’t ask his opinion. I didn’t affliction what he thought, and I was pissed that my administrator had, already again, fabricated my beard the affair of accumulated appointment conversation. She may accept meant it to be an exercise in admittance – I was the alone Black woman in our accumulated appointment – but it acquainted like an exercise in ‘othering.’
“When a white woman changes her hairstyle, her coworkers acclaim her, or don’t, and they move on. Not so for Black women. A acclaim is fine, it’s appreciated. But it consistently seemed to go several accomplish further.
“I absitively to go accustomed ten years ago. I’d been alive at a academy area the agents and acceptance were predominately Black, and I acquainted appreciative to see all of the accustomed styles – alike prouder back I cut all my own beard off, antic a tiny Afro for a year or so. Accumulated America is not as welcoming.
“My beard is beautiful, it’s strong, it’s versatile. It’s me. I don’t want, nor do I need, non-Black annotation on what’s appropriate, ‘sophisticated,’ or ‘cool.’ A simple, ‘I like your beard today’ is great. But blackout works, too. I’ve back larboard the accumulated apple and now I abrasion an Afro-puff about every day.”
— Ayana King, 39, Owner of Maximum Communications, Wyandotte, Michigan
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