‘I feel powerful,’ says reporter Akilah Davis after wearing locs on air for the first time 

After years of wearing a wig during telecasts, journalist Akilah Davis revealed her locs — and hopes to inspire other Black women and girls.

For the first time in her 10 years on television and in celebration of Juneteenth, North Carolina news reporter Akilah Davis wore her natural hair on air on Monday. Beginning her “Natural Hair Freedom” segment on ABC 11-affiliate station WTVD wearing a pin-straight wig, Davis reported her natural hair journey, sharing a personal statement, pictures, and interviews with her parents, Terry and Debra Davis. She ended the special segment with a triumphant reveal, sporting her shoulder-length locs.

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Akilah Davis reveals locs during a Juneteenth “Natural hair freedom” segment. (Screengrab: ABC 11-WTVD)

“Growing up, my hair texture was misunderstood. My tight curls were difficult for mom to manage,” Davis said in the video, per People magazine. “Unknowingly, I internalized this idea that straight hair was ‘good hair’ and Afro hair like mine was not.”

Davis’ perception of her hair led her to wear wigs and weaves throughout her broadcasting career. However, as the world shifted in 2020, so did her mindset. Following the murder of George Floyd, Davis noted a “quiet movement among Black women” rooted in reclaiming their Blackness. Recognized as a form of self-expression and freedom from toxic societal norms, Black women increasingly began loc’ing their hair. Davis was inspired to follow suit. 

Three years later, on Juneteenth 2023, a day commemorating the freeing of Black enslaved people in the United States, Davis felt moved to fully set her locs free. 

“This has been years in the making for me. There is a mental switch that happens before someone makes a decision like this, introducing you to their parents and sharing their personal stories. And the switch has been happening for the last couple of years,” Davis told People. “Why not embrace who I am? It’s me.”

“There’s an emotional exhaustion in waking up and braiding your hair down and putting a wig on top of it to appear presentable for other people every day,” she added. “And I got tired of it. I started my locs with the intention of this day coming.”

Since her “hair liberation,” Davis has no plans of hiding her hair again. The race and culture reporter shared that moving forward, her viewers will be seeing her locs on the air. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, it seems viewers won’t mind; especially Black women. 

“They watch me on TV, and I was once them,” Davis told People. “So if I could appeal to a little Brown girl that has braids or locs and let her know that her hair is beautiful too, it is professional too, and society is making space for her, then my job is done.”

“I’m hoping to inspire women and little girls struggling to embrace their roots,” Davis said in the segment. “I see you, sis, and I’m with you.”

Following her big reveal, Davis reports feeling a sense of fearlessness and freedom.

“There is power that comes with being your true self,” she said. “I feel like I can take on anything.”

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