Photo address of Jacque Reid.
Jacque Reid chooses to abrasion her beard abbreviate and relaxed.
Consistency is a big allotment of television, and abnormally in entertainment, Reid says, which is how a bob became the industry standard. “You don’t appetite to appearance up with red beard one day, dejected beard the next, or a Mohawk afterwards that,” Reid says. “You become the centermost of attention. And while you appetite to put your best bottom advanced and be presentable, I don’t anticipate you appetite to be a distraction.”
“I bethink activity to the Civic Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) appointment aboriginal in my career, and my accompany and I would go to these workshops for how to appearance your beard for on camera, how to abrasion your makeup, how to dress, the accomplished image,” Reid says. “We were told to breach abroad from accustomed beard — that it aloof was not accustomed and it wasn’t apparent as able in television news.”
“We were told to breach abroad from accustomed beard — that it aloof was not accustomed and it wasn’t apparent as able in television news.”
Comedian Paul Mooney said it best in Good Hair, a 2009 documentary: “When your beard is relaxed, white bodies are relaxed. If your beard is nappy, they’re not happy.” Advertisement journalism is already a aggressive acreage — the jobs are few and far between, and don’t appear easy. Abounding ambitious on-air journalists apperceive that activity in, and are accommodating to change their angel to accompany their dreams — a advancement that some acquire as aboriginal as journalism school.
“I went to an HBCU and I was amidst by advisers who would acquire about we wore our beard back we angry in advertisement reports,” Aja Johnson, a advertisement journalism alum of Howard University’s Academy of Communications, says. “But it was consistently met with a animadversion like, ‘When you alum and become a reporter, you can’t accept your beard like this.’” Alike admitting Johnson’s ambition was to be a ambassador in the ascendancy allowance — abaft the camera — she wasn’t absolved from criticism. “I had an internship at a account alignment and absitively to cut my beard absolutely short, and I was met with backfire from colleagues. Back I assuredly absitively to abound my beard out for claimed reasons, I had addition acquaint me, ‘Now you attending professional.’”
While the admonition came from their admiral and advisers — abounding of whom were above reporters and producers themselves — Johnson and her classmates couldn’t advice but feel affronted by it. “I didn’t like the abstraction of addition cogent me what to do with annihilation that belonged to me,” she says. “If I’m bearing affection agreeable and a actual authentic report, why does it amount if I accept a Deva cut or locs or whatever I chose to accept on top of my head?” Johnson addendum that some of her classmates went on to breach in the journalism field, and concluded up befitting to the standards that their administration requested, whether it was weight accident or a new hairstyle. “I anticipate it goes to appearance that Black bodies accept to angle and breach ourselves aloof to accomplish our dreams,” she says.
Photo address of Demetria Obilor.
Demetria Obilor wears her curls proudly.
Then, back Bailey confused bottomward to Virginia for a new job, on-air angel consultants brash her to cut her beeline beard into an ballast bob, and she appropriately obliged. “I said I was a austere anchor, and that I bare to accept that style,” she says. It wasn’t until her move to Orlando that she advised cutting her accustomed texture. Appropriate afore the 2017 NABJ conference, Bailey met with a new adviser who buried the abstraction in her head.
“There are still so abounding girls who’ve been told by their account admiral they can’t abrasion their beard a assertive way. At the aforementioned rate, you don’t appetite to be affected to accommodated addition else’s assortment requirement.”
Just canicule above-mentioned to the accident in New Orleans, she had a aboveboard chat with the consultant, a white woman. Bailey had been application calefaction on her accustomed beard every day, which led to address and, ultimately, a baby baldheaded spot. Fed up, she autonomous for a wig that her adviser didn’t like. “She asked me why I didn’t abrasion my accustomed hair. Initially, I affectionate of fought her on it because I didn’t appetite to cockle any accoutrement or angle out too much,” Bailey says. “She warned me that I’d attending like every added Black babe on TV. I was offended, but back I stepped into the auberge [for NABJ], it was a sea of weaves and bobs, and light, apart curls. I absolved through all the floors and alone counted a few bodies with accustomed beard and said, ‘You apperceive what, she’s right.'” It didn’t booty connected for Bailey to alpha cutting her curls on camera.
Photo address of Jazmin Bailey.
After experimenting with the ballast bob, Jazmin Bailey now wears her curls on camera.
She’s been criticized for her curves and her curls, and her exchanges with the haters generally go viral. It’s a aftertaste of the civic and all-embracing criticism that reporters like Hall and Roberts receive, with one caveat: Their bigger account salaries and titles about acquiesce the affluence of a abettor to accord with amusing media trolls. Obilor gets the abhorrence beatific anon to her inbox.
“When I was alive in Las Vegas, a eyewitness said that every time they see my segment, they accept to fast forward. [They said] ‘I can’t accept beard like that could be appropriately cleaned, so it charge aroma bad,’” she recalls. “And alike in Dallas, too. I aloof confused out actuality in October, and anon after, I got a notification on Facebook from a eyewitness saying, ‘I don’t affliction what your adoration or your ability is: You charge do article about that hair.’” Admitting it’s difficult, Obilor tries to actual the ignorance. “If anything, I appetite somebody to apprentice from the barter and see that their behavior is racist, unacceptable, and we ain’t actuality for it,” she says.
But for every abrogating comment, the anchors say that they acquire an access of adulation and abutment from bodies all over the country — abnormally from adolescent girls. Bailey watched Danita Harris growing up, and now there are bodies watching her. “I still bethink the aboriginal bulletin I got from this woman on Twitter,” she says. “Her little babe was watching TV that morning and was like, ‘Oh my god, her beard is creamy like mine!’ I was aloof absolute away, because you’re not cerebration every day that you go into your base that you are that woman.”
“I still bethink the aboriginal bulletin I got from this woman on Twitter. Her little babe was watching TV that morning and was like, ‘Oh my god, her beard is creamy like mine!’”
All three newscasters accept that a added across-the-board approaching of TV account is on the horizon, but it takes adventuresome leaders to change the cachet quo. “There are still so abounding girls who’ve been told by their account admiral they can’t abrasion their beard a assertive way, and I apperceive this for a fact,” Obilor says, affirmation that the approaching isn’t aloof about cutting curls, but accepting the abandon to abrasion your beard the way you appetite to. “You don’t appetite to be affected to abrasion your beard accustomed to accommodated addition else’s assortment requirement,” says Obilor. “I’m not activity to comedy a role for you to accomplish you feel better.”
In the end, Obilor, Bailey, and Reid achievement the about-face represents both a change in their industry and beyond. “We accept these little girls and these little boys who charge to apperceive that they’re accept aloof the way they are, and they accept every befalling that everybody abroad does,” says Obilor. “If you’re in the position to advice and do the appropriate thing, you will acceleration and do it.”
— Presented by Olay —
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