Akua Agyemfra was excited about getting a new job as a host at Jack Astro’s Bar and Grill in Toronto, Canada. However, she soon became frustrated with her new position after facing discrimination over her natural hair.
According to CBC News, Agyemfra, 20, initially wore hair extensions during her interview. But on her third day of training, she took out her extensions and wore her hair in a bun. She was eventually confronted by her manager about having her hair in a bun. The manager told Agyemfra that she could only wear her hair down and could not put it in a bun.
Agyemfra showed her manager that her hair would not go down because she was wearing it natural. Her manager, who is Caucasian, told her that wearing her hair in a bun was against policy and sent her home.
The policy caters to Caucasian employees and Black women who straighten their hair or wear extensions. Black women who wear natural styles face discrimination at Jack Astro’s Bar and Grill. But it’s also an issue in corporate America and some private firms where Black women are forced to wear extensions and straighten their hair to not offend their White counterparts. Some individuals just don’t understand Black natural hair.
Even in pop culture, Black natural hair is often shunned until a popular White person embraces the style. The New York Post recently published an article which credited the rise of cornrows to female UFC fighters and Kim Kardashian. The article ignored Black celebrities who wore the styles years before White UFC fighters and Kardashian.
When Agyemfra told her mother about the incident, her mother advised that she never step foot in the restaurant again. Agyemfra eventually decided to quit her job and could possibly file a lawsuit.
Representatives at Jack Astro’s Bar and Grill said that they are looking to review its uniform policy.