Charlene White took to Instagram on Tuesday (15 September) to share some wise words for World Afro Day; talking about the value of representation and pushing back against the idea that afro hair is 'unprofessional'.
The ITV News anchor and Loose Women panellist explained her own decision to embrace her natural afro hair texture, sharing a picture from shortly after she stopped the process of relaxing – the permanent treatment that straightens afro textured hair.
She explained in the caption: "This pic was taken after I returned to work after baby no.1. Going natural wasn’t a big decision for me really. I hadn’t been chemically straightening it since I got pregnant, and I just couldn’t be bothered with going back to it again. I was bored with it to be honest."
While choosing to go natural is an emotional or complicated decision for many, everyone is different and for Charlene it was an obvious and practical choice; she was ready for a change.
"I’ve enjoyed the journey," she wrote, continuing: "And with two kids under 3 to tend to and working full-time, it’s easier for me to just do my hair at home rather than go to the hairdressers every week."
But with her high profile, her simple decision is having a big impact. She's one of the small (but growing) number of Black women wearing their hair natural on TV, despite pressure or expectation to straighten it.
She told followers: "I regularly get messages from parents about the impact of a Black woman on TV rocking the natural curls and I appreciate every single one. And I get it, other than Queen Moira[Stewart], we didn’t see it much growing up..."
She finished with some powerful words about embracing afro textured hair. Telling fans: "Wherever you are in the world... love your Afro hair however you choose to wear it.
"And kids, if any teacher dares to tell you it’s 'not professional', send them my way. Or... just show ‘em my picture, THEN send ‘em my way #WorldAfroDay"
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