One thing I struggle with as a young professional is what to do with my hair. Usually I end up putting it into some sort of roll tuck and pin scenario if i’m going to be on set with the client or go to a meeting – but today I decided I didn’t want to pin it up because the shoot was so early in the morning and I was running late.
So I just wore my hair in a bantu knot out. (which looked super fly btw)
Keep in mind, no matter what I wear to work if the client has only talked to me on the phone/emailed with me there’s usually the handshake accompanied with a “wtf I had no idea you were going to be black, and my mind is blown because you speak-ah the english so good” face. Even when its a company that’s pretty racially diverse, not going to name anybody (see my work blog).
I guess because of my last name on emails everyone is assuming i’m latino/chicano/hispanic/mexican/spanish and mentally prepare themselves for that ahead of time? This still happened when my last name was Clemons though, either way they see me and their face reads:
“…you’re about 30 shades darker than I expected”
You get used to it. You shouldn’t – because its insulting, but you do.
Usually by the end of the shoot, when they realize that:
1. I know what the hell i’m doing (shots/angles/presentation).
2. I know how to conduct an interview (all the shooters, that are older and white usually are looking at me for the final say)
3. I can discuss at length whatever enterprise technology you’re making this video for because I did my homework, and I know how to get you to say it in a way that consumers will (a) understand and (b) want to buy.
They change their attitude.
It’s this weird trade off though, of sacrificing a bit of who you are for social convention and also realizing the importance of a first impression.
Even now, as I’ve embraced my hair– my “blackness” and feel the urge to express said blackness in my appearance, I still have my parents voices in my head:
You have to dress better
You have to speak better
You have to look better
…and somehow (even though you never will) blend in…
Because no matter how educated you are, the wealth of knowledge you have, your outward appearance of sophistication, some people will still look at you and just see a negro.
So, I return to my question. Was the fro a bad idea?