WATCH: Rhonda A. Lee and Michaela Angela Davis discuss natural hair acceptance.
When TV meteorologist Rhonda A. Lee was allegedly fired for discussing her natural hairstyle on Facebook, a firestorm of controversy ensued. In a way, her image was placed on trial as a defendant in the case against black women who choose to wear natural hair in spaces where this is not fully accepted. Whether it is in the boardroom or on television, natural hair can still be taboo. Pioneers like Lee who choose to wear these styles are breaking barriers in those spaces for many who are shocked by the look. It’s no wonder that conflicts can ensue.
When a person like Lee sparks a national debate about the limits of free speech and self-presentation with her short afro, it provides the public with an opportunity to converse in meaningful ways. To help us untangle the complicated discourse surrounding black women’s hair that often leads to trials by fire such as Lee’s, theGrio invited image activist Michaela Angela Davis and Lee herself to discuss the issue.
In our talk, Lee calls black women’s hair “the last piece in a racial puzzle,” something we must come to terms with before achieving true African-American acceptance. This conversation unpacks the significance of this statement and more.
Click above to hear their words of wisdom, encouragement and insightful analysis, then join the discussion by leaving your comments below. Do you think natural hair will come to be fully accepted in every sphere as professional, tasteful and beautiful?
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.