News anchors have a lot to consider before they go on-air. They’re juggling news sources, writing, editing, considering their surroundings, weather conditions, and a ton more. The last thing they should be preoccupied with is their hair, makeup, and wardrobe, but that is the reality of news programs. Now imagine what it’s like to have naturally curly hair. For a lot of Afro-Latina and black reporters on television, wearing their hair naturally isn’t part of the norm. There’s a lot of discrimination that Afro-Latina and black reporters face when dealing with their hair.
Brianna Hamblin, a 23-year-old on-air journalist, brought to attention the complexities of having naturally curly hair while being on television. She discussed that she had heard about the discrimination that her fellow Afro-Latina and black reporters had faced in the past regarding wearing their hair naturally. Fortunately, she hadn’t experienced it herself, which she understood was a rare situation.
“At industry events, I was hearing people say, ‘You shouldn’t wear your natural hair,'” Hamblin said in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle. “I was surprised by that. My news director had never once commented on my hair.”
Hamblin said that in the past, she’d straighten her hair, get weaves, or wigs to have the typical straight hair look that female reporters are forced to have. A problem began to reveal itself when the maintenance of having straight hair was too cumbersome, especially with humid weather conditions and hectic reporting schedules. It also became expensive to continue to get weaves and wigs.
“During the summer, I knew I needed a new wig, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay for it,” Hamblin said. So that issue gave her the incentive to ask her news director if she could wear her hair naturally. To her surprise, he told her to go for it.
“You might have noticed that I’ve been wearing my #NaturalHairOnAir recently,” Hamblin wrote on Facebook. “This might not seem like a big deal, but in the news industry, it is. I first want to shout out my amazing news director who, when I asked if it would be okay for me to try wearing my natural hair on TV he said, ‘Go for it!’ A news director so open to change is rare (from what I hear),” She added, “You’re told that your hair has to stay consistent throughout your career, which, as a Black woman multimedia journalist, that’s not as easy as it sounds. That means having a style that holds up in rain, snow, heat, humidity, wind, sweating while running around with camera gear, and still looking flawless by the time you get on camera.”
Hamblin said that she has gotten a lot of support for her hair transformation and surprisingly hasn’t gotten any hate mail. We’ve previously reported on other female on-air journalists who didn’t have it that support when they began to wear their hair naturally. One of the fantastic aspects of Hamblin’s story is the revelation of the Curly Girls On Air Facebook group. Now, all Afro-Latina and black reporters have a place to share their natural hair journey.