TV anchor allegedly banned from wearing natural hair on air, told to look more like a beauty queen

An African American TV anchor reveals her story after she was fired by her employer for wearing her natural hair while on the job. 

TV anchor Brittany Noble-Jones is speaking up about the unfair treatment she’d been getting while working for Mississip “WJTV This Morning” whose news director terminated her for her natural hair.

Noble-Jones recounted her story on Medium hoping it would shed light on the discrimination she experienced working for a news outlet. 

According to her boss, her natural hair was "unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store.'"

THE PROBLEM WITH HER HAIR

She said the problem started after she gave birth to her child and requested that she be allowed to wear her natural hair which she would normally straighten out when delivering the news. 

Her news director agreed at first but called her back into his office a month later to ask her to straighten back her hair. According to her boss, her natural hair was “unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store." He reasoned that “Mississippi viewers needed to see a beauty queen.”

Following the incident, Noble-Jones filed a complaint against her boss to Nexstar Media Group, the company that owns WJTV. It would be the first of two that she filed which eventually resulted in her termination.

PROBLEM WITH BREASTFEEDING

The second complaint she raised was in relation to her demands as a breastfeeding mother. She claimed she was not given adequate breaks to pump her milk and she was asked to do so inside a storage closet for which the key she had to constantly ask for. 

Months later in April 2018, she filed her complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which handles civil rights in the workplace. 

HER TERMINATION

The following month, Noble-Jones was surprised to learn she was being terminated from her job. The reason given was her use of a sick day to tend to her dying grandfather. But she believes it was her previous complaints that irked her bosses and sealed her fate. 

“America needs to take care of our journalists, especially journalists of color. We are crucial to democracy.”

OTHER CASES OF DISCRIMINATION IN HER WORKPLACE

Noble-Jones cited other discriminatory cases in her recollection on Medium, one of which was when her news pitches in relation to race would be shot down because they “are not for all people.”

She also disclosed that the management makes it a point not to have two black anchors on air at once to avoid viewers’ misconception. 

Moreover, after announcing her pregnancy, she felt ostracized because she was no longer included in commercials and wasn’t allowed to attend events for the station. 

At the end of her recount, Noble-Jones said she hopes her story would help news corporations “understand our responsibility to America.”

“America needs to take care of our journalists, especially journalists of color. We are crucial to democracy.”

ON THE GROWING TREND OF EMBRACING NATURAL HAIR

At this day and age, more and more African American women are embracing their natural hair and should be allowed to do so. According to an article on Refinery29 written in September, “more and more news anchors are rejecting the old rules of broadcast journalism — and wearing their hair on their own terms.” These include WESH 2 News anchor Jazmin Bailey, “New York Live” co-host Jacque Reid,  and WFAA’s traffic reporter / anchor Demetria Obilor. 

Other celebrities have also caught on the growing trend. “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts, after surviving cancer, ditched her wig and declared “I am not my hair.” Talk show host Loni Love has also publicly celebrated her natural hair and so has Rihanna who would reveal pictures flaunting her inherent locks. 

All these women are prominent personalities who are beautiful in their natural hair. 

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