Friday, August 31, 2007


Please, oh please. Tell us what you think about this. Even the historically black Howard University doesn't allow their business students to wear locks. I personally rock ruff-and-stuff with my afro puffs, but then again, I work in a 'more relaxed' atomsphere. It's interesting that the more artsy-fartsy and creative your work environment, the more you can 'get away with'. As if you aren't conducting real business. 'Oh, go ahead and let them be free.' It usally is the art department or the fashion department who have the liberties and as soon as you have to visit somone in payroll or accounting (Oh, gosh, and if you need help with your computer!) you tend to rethink why you rocked your 'I Love Beeing Brown' t-shirt, Rock & Republic lowrise jeans and cute new Uggs to work. And this is all being thought about in a relaxed environment. Forget a law firm or financial institution; you'd better be booted-n-suited. The article below was taken from The National Law Journal. This isn't new, but it somehow remains an issue. Hmm...


Cleary Gottlieb has a bad hair day
Talk about a Glamour don't.

Vivia Chen/The American Lawyer August 27, 2007

It seemed like a nice frothy summer treat for some hardworking gals at a hard-driving law firm. Instead of hosting another earnest discussion about client cultivation and leadership, the women lawyers group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton invited an editor from Glamour magazine. The topic: the dos and don'ts of corporate fashion.

First slide up: an African-American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the Glamour editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was "shocking" that some people still think it "appropriate" to wear those hairstyles at the office. "No offense," she sniffed, but those "political" hairstyles really have to go.

By the time the lights flicked back on, some Cleary lawyers -- particularly the 10 or so African-American women in attendance -- were in a state of disbelief. "It was like she was saying you shouldn't go out with your natural hair, and if you do, you're making a political statement," says one African-American associate. "It showed a general cluelessness about black women and their hair."

The episode also produced a "mixed reaction" along racial lines, says this associate. "Some [whites] didn't understand what the big deal was ... but all the black associates saw the controversy."

Cleary Gottlieb's managing partner, Mark Walker, who heard about the incident from some of the attendees, also saw trouble. Soon after the event, Walker issued an e-mail that denounced the hair commentary as "racially insensitive, inappropriate, and wrong." Calling the beauty advice "appalling," Walker says, "You don't tell people that their physical appearance is unacceptable, when certain characteristics are associated with a racial group." He asks, "What's the alternative? Straighten or bleach your hair?"

As for the identity of the editor, neither Cleary Gottlieb nor Condé Nast Publications Inc. (publisher of Glamour) would say. Indeed, almost all of the half-dozen Glamour editors contacted for this story professed not to have ever set foot in a law firm. "Cleary what?" asked several.

And Walker says he has no idea whether the editor who sparked all this controversy is a well-known fashionista. Not that Walker would know, even if Anna Wintour herself crossed his path. "Who is she?" Walker asks. "I really don't know people in the fashion industry." (If you have to ask, she's the editor of Vogue.)

So did the Glamour editor realize how many feathers she ruffled? Walker says that the speaker was "spoken to by one of the women partners" and that she sent an e-mail apology. "I assume she was oblivious; I doubt she's racist," says Walker. "She wasn't thinking and said something hare-brained."

Or is that hair-brained?

Until next time...

Be Seen at the Top!

1 comment:

Khalid Salaam said...

In this day and age you would hope that this type of ignorance wouldn't still exist. At least in the minds of major magazine editors. For all the talk about New Yorkers being so forward-thinking and liberal these comments are straight out of the jim crow south or at least the 1970's. Thats when many of our Black women workplace pioneers first deal with these sort of issues. Assimilate or starve was the message. Through much perseverance black women have been able to destroy these racist and ultimately dangerous mentalities. Braids, locks and afro's aren't anymore "political" than wearing a bob so for that editor to say that reveals serious about her mental faculties.