This morning I came across a post from Somara Theodore a meteorologist with StormTeam 4/ NBC 4 Washington, of a direct message she received about her hair. The message said: “I wanted to be honest and tell you that you are a terrific meteorologist and your on-air presence is solid but your hair is sooooo unprofessional, Sorry it’s unbecoming and takes away from your presence substantially”.
Somara posted the message on her Instagram for all to see sharing that she was tired of this type of negative energy and that we still have work to do.
“And this is why we still have work to do …. literally got this …. after the show last night. hoping they tune in to our special today and tomorrow …. when i say I’m tired I don’t mean sleepy #naturalhair”
The truth is if Somara had curly hair that was a little finer, with less bulk and semi-straight, she would not have received this message. If she were of another race she would not have received this message. If she wore a wig during the segment she would not have received this message. That is the sad reality for black women who are of a certain natural aesthetic and like her I am tired.
The conversation around natural hair tolerance generally and in the workplace continues to be a real one and ironically, before receiving the above note, Somara shared that she was asked to be a part of a panel series that is dedicated to this very conversation.
The series is called Natural Hair: Black Women Return to Their Roots, discussing everything from maintenance to laws impacting black hair. (The series started today at 9 AM, Monday and Tuesday at 5 pm on NBC4 Washington)
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When @teneillegibson and @traceewilkins4 said come sit on this panel I did not know what to expect… My journey , like so many other African American Women has been a constant internal struggle with hours of mental bandwidth dedicated to thinking about my hair. For convenience I still love wearing wigs and weaves and and even natural clip ins like in this video, all sorts but I did personally have to take sometime away from it to learn how to take care of my hair underneath and really love it ! I’m so excited that NBC 4 Washington has dedicated news time to hear our stories!9 am Sunday Monday and Tuesday on NBC 4
I applaud women like Somara who are not swayed by ignorant messages, exposing them where appropriate and at the same time proudly rocking their natural hair without missing a beat. Her on-air presence is solid period!
Catch Somara’s forecasts during the weekend editions of News4, on NBCWashington.com and 103.5 WTOP Radio. She joined News4 in 2016.