This is one of those touchy feeling subjects: What folks don’t realize hair loss is not simply about race nor gender. Black and white women spend billions of dollars in hair care and skin care beauty products. Excerpt: I asked my stylist if he was worried about the recession, he said no because black women will always get their hair done, says Peta-Gaye Watson. Hair relaxers promise to take the “kink” of black hair and make it bone straight and whether they are glued in or sewn in, hair extensions give black women the shine and length they want while wigs make it possible to do all three in less than five minutes. Dr. Larry Shapiro, a dermatologist in Delray Beach, has been doing hair transplants for more that 20 years. He says all this manipulation black women do to their hair is causing it to fall out. A black newswomen goes natural and found out that she is beautiful by her colleagues. As quiet as it is kept and not a discussion typically in the beauty industry nor the fashion industry. It is not a black women thing, it is an universal women thing. All women after a certain age need to retire the glue, dye in a bottle and the weaves. Ask Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardasian how they maintain those long weaves they are wearing….white girls get weaves glued to their head as frequent as black women. Women of all ethnicity and backgrounds need to find their natural selves. The million dollar question is will they like what they see in the mirror once they rid themselves of all the faker y? The Good Hair ft. Chris Rock documentary did it for me along with a few conversations with my sister about how I was perming my hair too much. I am not saying don’t slap a weave in your hair, throw on a wig or a perm but a women must live with those decisions. African American women can not dye and perm their hair at the same time….it will fall out. Trust me I know….I have had a love and hate relationship with my hair up until three years ago. What is horribly screwed up is someone lied to black women and told them that they don’t look good with their natural hair? Black women should not wear their natural hair in the workplace….it is too Afrocentric. Uh Huh!
Ritchie posted her story.
“Making the decision to go natural was not an easy one, especially being a black female reporter. After graduating Western Kentucky University in 2004, I accepted an editor position at a local TV station in my home of Lexington, KY. I had sent out tons of resume tapes hoping to one day be a reporter. But I didn’t get one interview with my relaxed shoulder length hair. One day an anchor, black female, told me I needed to get extensions if I wanted to land a job. I got extensions and made a new tape with my new look and I started getting calls immediately. From there the belief that I needed extensions in order to be hired set in. I spent more money on my hair than anything. In six years I spent $9600, my student loans are $9500, so that should give you an idea of where my priorities were.
“The story about going natural developed while I was having a conversation on the phone with a friend at work. My producer heard me saying, ‘I am going natural, I am tired of wigs, weaves and relaxers.’ She (producer) asked me what I meant by that and I showed her YouTube videos of black women who were on the journey of going natural. She was stunned and said, ‘Rochelle that would make a great story for sweeps.’ I pitched the idea and with her support as well as our female anchor they allowed me to do it. My news director’s response was great. His only concern was just keeping up with the process of my story and hair. My general manager is a great guy and totally supported me as well.
The fear of getting a new job with my new look does not scare me because I believe my work and passion for this business will shine through.
“I have had such an AMAZING response from the community. People of all genders and races have completely supported me with positive feedback. Of course if there were any negative emails my news director does not send those to me. But personally I haven’t gotten one email or Facebook comment that was negative. A matter of fact many of my white and Latino colleagues say I look more professional. I believe this as well. I feel I look more polished and sharp. I also feel like I think better without all that fake hair on my head! lol….
“For my ‘black female reporter hopefuls’ I say let your work show your ability to be a good, excuse me a great reporter. My story is a way for me to pave the way for black women’s hair to be acceptable not just in the professional world but on TV! I would say if you are natural. Keep it neat. And if you are worried about getting a job the fabulous thing is we can straighten our hair for the interview and go back to our beautiful curls when we leave.
“Do I have any regrets? Yes I do. I regret denying my natural beauty. I regret falling into the belief that I needed to look a certain way to get into this business instead of believing in my ability as a reporter. I regret allowing someone to cover me up. But no more! This is me, Rochelle Ritchie a natural, professional and happy television reporter. And I feel more confident now than ever before and look forward to climbing the ladder of success with all my kinky curls.”