The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Finally Happened!

I have been back in Nigeria for over a year and it finally happened. I have been wearing my hair naturally in Nigeria and it finally happened. I have been working at a bank for over a year and it finally happened. I have been attending interviews and it finally happened. It has finally happened o!

See the hairstyle above? That is how I styled my hair today for a chat with the GMD (Group Managing Director) of a Nigerian Bank. I thought it looked decent. *Shrugging* So when it was finally my turn to "chat" with the Boss, I was asked to go into his office by a lady. I sat down and a few moments later the lady sat down beside me. I was not introduced to her and, silly me, I did not ask who she is. So we chatted: I was asked questions and I asked questions.

Finally, Sister Lady sitting beside me said "I am going to give you some personal feedback and promise me you will not take it personally" Interpretation: "I am about to insult you but you will not be able to insult me back because you are trying to impress us." In my professional and accommodating way I cheerfully responded "I welcome feedback" *Smh*

Sister Lady: Blah. Blah. Blah ... In this environment, some people will judge your appearance before you can show them you are intelligent
Me: I don't understand
Sister Lady: The way you present yourself
Me: *smiling* I am sorry I don't understand
Sister Lady: It may be okay 'over there' (as in abroad) but you have to understand the environment you are now in
Me: *I look at the Boss and give Sister Lady a blank stare*
Sister Lady: The way you wear your hair may be acceptable over there but it may not be acceptable here.
Me: Oh! You mean my natural hair? It is not relaxed
Sister Lady: Yes
Me: You think I should relax it
Sister Lady: Yes
Me: *Colgate smile* Thank you for the feedback.

Now there are so many things I feel I should / could have said to her like "Sister Lady you are gonna get some education tonight!" OR "That's just BS talk!" OR "For medical and dietary reasons I cannot permanently alter the state of my hair. I cannot braid with extensions or fix a weave or use a wig because I saw in a dream that all fake hair is made from snakes!" OR "Are you speaking on behalf of __ Bank?" OR "Who did you say you are again?" I did not say any of these things: fortunately or unfortunately.

So many professionals face this sort of unnecessary "feedback" from colleagues and employers. How dare an employer or colleague tell you or me to use chemicals to permanently alter the texture of our hair? Sadly it happens daily, and women are forced and pushed to either HIDE their natural hair under some fake hair or worse; get their hair relaxed. I had heard stories about this sort of thing and now I am experiencing it for the first time in all my 14 years of working! It is unprofessional, unethical and just plain stupid to make women feel that their natural hair, worn naturally, is unacceptable in the workplace. Is it clean? Yes. Is it neat and tidy? Yes. Then what is your problem?

So Sister Lady, your feedback is one that I WILL NOT be implementing anytime soon. And who did you say you are again?

Keep it natural (for life)!



onyinyechi said...

no she didnt...if i were u i wld come to work in a puff on friday lolz...ur hair is real pretty

Anonymous said...

Wow....words fail me.
How ignorant/messed up are we that we can't appreciate what we were born with. So sad.

May be a good idea to anonymously slip the lady some education on being natural.


Natural Nigerian said...

Hmmm. I guess you won't be working there then...

Africa Naturalista said...

Ahn ahn.... what now? Your hair style looks very sane, so what's the issue?
You should see what's on my head now, wild twist outs turned into mohawk, which makes it look like TY Bello's big hair. and no one is giving me problems, because I made it look presentable.

So what if you go to deeper life or CAC or so? Will they force you to relax your hair when you doesn't permit it? Or they don't employ people from those churches?

I am so pissed. See why someone like me can't fit in a bank?

Omozo said...

@Onyinyechi: You read my mind! I thought of showing up with the biggest baddest afro puff and let me see what they would do. Thanks for the compliment.

Omozo said...

@Anonymous: Education is seriously required! and she said it with this "I know what I am talking about" attitude. *Smh* So wrong. So wrong.

Omozo said...

@NN: I love you!! Ha! Ha! Makes decision time easier abi!

Omozo said...

@Africa Naturalista: The thing is I have been working in a bank in this same Nigeria and never got a negative comment about the naturalness of my hair from colleagues or clients. My question too about religious affiliations: is it that they do not hire people from those affiliations? Na wa o!

Natural Girl said...

*smh, i had my own experience in February. My MD gave me an earful.... said my mini-twists were untidy and she had been keeping quiet about, my hair but couldn't anymore. Suggested i loc my hair( I don't wanna lock my hair) or cut it short (Wat, i am working towards BSL by December 2012). You just cant maintain Natural hair unless ur mixed.
I'm telling you the mentality is the same, even my MD who is "exposed".

Keep it natural for life jare...

Baby R said...

Fro for life! Napps for life! Kinks for life!! Keep rocking it. x

Omozo said...

@Baby R: For liiiiiife!

@Natural Girl: I am really sorry to hear this story about your MD. I cannot understand where the aversion, disdain, dislike, hostility etc comes from. And it puts pressure on you. Instead of you doing your job you are worrying about whether your MD will like your hair or not. Keep your chin up and keep your hair clean, neat and tidy jare and leave them to their wahala.

Oluyemisi Olotu said...

This is what just irks me. The same people talking stuff about other people's hair are wearing messed up wigs/weaves. I was initially rocking the wig at my present job because of a similarly veiled comment/suggestion but I got tired of looking ridiculous plus fearing the thing will fall off my head so I finally stopped. I like your hairstyle, i might bite it, LOL

Obi said...

I keep wondering why she had to mention people taking in your appearance and judging you before they find out you are intelligent, and your natural hair in the same sentence. Does natural hair mean lack of intelligence? You know, its quite funny when people carry their ignorance on a placard and then turn around and tell you they are wise. Tradition is no excuse for ignorance. I'm sure she will have something to say about wearing African inspired formal outfits to work ...

Anonymous said...

thank God for where I work! I work in an advertising agency and nobody has issues with what you wear or how you do your hair. Infact my boss loves natural hair and discourages us from wearing weaves and braids.
And we're all in this same Naija!!

Ololade Omo Docktor said...

i did my BC almost 2months ago and if anything is to inspire me more to keep my hair natural is the joy i will derive in giving a full yoruba wash down to any diva or ni**a that would call me 'razz' or 'indecent' or whatever.

This incident that happened to you has more than inspired me to keep my hair the way it is... Omozo you have no idea. Am excited at the thought.

Am an architect, so a lot of people can assume "its the crazy side of her", but chei, nobody should try me o. issokay.

osao said...

I am not shocked at the response of your GMD. Trust me there are a lot of people in your bank who think the same way but just dont have the guts to say anything. As sad as it sounds it's not odd to me cos most bankers have a dress code and as for me a former banker i think it's sad. Your GMD my have traveled a number of thime but he/she is not exposed cos thry they were they would know that the natural look no longer an issue. In the states you have investment bankers with Locs so come on what kind of banking do these so called bankers really do??? If you ask me i'd say you should have said something to your GMD cos the next time it happens he or she may get one accoss the cheeks. Just saying....

Cleopatra said...

I've had this conversation since I moved back in 2007. the exact same
conversation has now reduced to "...please go plait your
hair", which does change to " look like a school girl, why dont
you use weave-ons"?

Ang said...

Wow! I remember in the 80s here in the US we had law suits about discrimation- hair discrimination. I like your blog and am glad I stumbled upon it. Keep it natural.

Omozo said...

@Oluyemisi Olotu: Good for you that you now carry your natural hair in its natural state. Keep it up jare!

@Obi: Please ask her o whether natural hair means lack of intelligence. Ask her for me please!

@Anonymous: You are blessed that you have a boss like that! Maybe your boss should hold a seminar for other bosses on the "Appreciation of Natural Hair worn naturally".

@Ololade omo Doktor: even me sef I now dey fear to try yoo o! LOL

@Osao: when I think about it, I feel I should have said something. Anyway sha ... I have been praying and fasting for a second chance!

@Cleopatra: Ha! Ha! "Go and plait your hair"? Really? SMH

@Ang: Ah! That Law suit is going to happen sooner than you know.

Iyobo said...

Oh hell no she didn't? Who made her the hair police? How dare she!!! I am not natural but i can feel your plight and she's lucky it wasn't me. I would have given her a serious whooping with my

Omozo said...

@Iyobo: Yes she did! Ask her o: Madam Hair Olokpa! I am coming to learn that eye whopping technique because e be like say it might come in handy.

Miss Fizzy said...

My first day at work in a Nigerian bank I got asked if I was a witness... -_____-

Then came the snide comments from men, women, covert, overt... Everyone from GMs to cleaners had comments. I got questions like am I too broke to do my hair? Should they give me money... And worse. The first time I braided I got "shebi they've paid you now". I would eye their ratty weaves then calmly ask them how long their hair is and how long they've been growing it for, then casually stretch out a strand of my hair, show them 3 years growth, turn on my heel and sashay off. Naija people yeye!

Omozo said...

@Miss Fizzy: One thing Nigerians are good at is telling you their mind. Whether it is ignorant or not, they tell it.

mbabe douglas said...

I think that she was opening your eyes to the prejudice that does exist.
I didn't see anything wrong with the style or texture but she brought to your attention first,what someone else may have been about to.