No Dreads, No Way!

Starting your own business seems a little scary for a college student. It is especially scary as a 20-year-old black female Penn State student, who has been told all her life about the adversities she has to overcome living in America.


“They won’t take you serious”

“You look to urban”

“Don’t wear your hair like that, it’s unprofessional”

“Make sure you don’t wear anything form fitting, your body is too much”


The sayings you have to remember to appear more professional as a black woman. While everyone else has to worry about getting the perfect resume or finding the right slacks to wear, when you’re a person of color, you have so much more pressure.


Your appearance is enough to offset a potential job or discourage people from taking you serious as a professional. Just recently the ruling of banning dreads in the workplace as "not racial discrimination" solidified the barriers of entrance for me. Dreads are a popular hairstyle for black people and is abundant throughout black communities everywhere.  In addition to hair, skin color, speech and attire; it seems as though the professional world was made to stop me (and people like me) from even entering it.


What about other hairstyles, that can be confused as dreads to people who are unfamiliar with African hairstyles. Are twist, braids and faux locs ban too?

Starting your own business seems a little scary for a college student. It is especially scary as a 20-year-old black female Penn State student, who has been told all her life about the adversities she has to overcome living in America.

“They won’t take you serious” “You look to urban” “Don’t wear your hair like that, it’s unprofessional” “Make sure you don’t wear anything form fitting, your body is too much”The sayings you have to remember to appear more professional as a black woman. While everyone else has to worry about getting the perfect resume or finding the right slacks to wear, when you’re a person of color, you have so much more pressure. Your appearance is enough to offset a potential job or discourage people from taking you serious as a professional. Just recently the ruling of banning dreads in the workplace as "not racial discrimination" solidified the barriers of entrance for me. Dreads are a popular hairstyle for black people and is abundant throughout black communities everywhere.  In addition to hair, skin color, speech and attire; it seems as though the professional world was made to stop me (and people like me) from even entering it.What about other hairstyles, that can be confused as dreads to people who are unfamiliar with African hairstyles. Are twist, braids and faux locs ban too?

Photo of Aisha Powell with a traditionally African hair style called "Senegalese Twist"

Starting a business, you want to be as professional as possible; to attract possible customers and other businesses in your industry. But, if a simple thing, such as a hairstyle, can completely set you off-track, who knows what bigger issues may completely destroy you.


            Was all of this a sign for me to turn around go back to the drawing board and lessen my goal? Maybe I could never assimilate to what the industry standards were; just by being who I am.


            A little discouraged, I can't allow the criteria of "standard professionalism" to deter me. I know who I am and I know what I can bring. Yes, some of the stereotypes and obstacles that were going to be put before me may push me back. But the world cannot change if I am not making a difference and being the change.


So here I give you the makings of starting a business, the black girl version.


References: 1. http://www.essence.com/2016/09/20/judge-ban-dreadlocks-workplace-discrimination

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/appeals-court-rules-dreadlocks-work_us_57e0252ae4b0071a6e08a7c3

3. http://financialjuneteenth.com/banning-dreadlocks-workplace-not-discrimination/

Drop Me a Line, Let Me Know What You Think

AISHA POWELL © 2020

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
BBS with Trademark.jpg
unnamed.png