Is It Because of My Hair?

Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Jennifer Machiorlatti

Second Advisor

Steven Lipkin

Third Advisor

Heather Addison


Is it Because of My Hair?: Young Black Women, Hair, and Professionalism, is a digital video documentary that focuses on the stereotypes and identity issues associated with African American hair relative to the workplace. This documentary explores the conventions of natural hair, and discusses the origins of these conventions. Female African American participants offer their personal experiences regarding their natural hair. Afros, weaves, braided hair, and other natural styles are explored and discussed in this documentary, with the primary focus being the acceptability of such styles in the workplace. The women in the documentary (ages 20-22) share their diverse experiences about having ‘black hair’ and discuss social norms and expectations about this key component of their identities. This documentary’s intended audience(s) are those who are in business-making decisions like human resources, and other services. This documentary is to raise awareness for individuals in hiring positions to support intercultural awareness, particularly of natural-haired candidates who they may have applying for positions in their organizations. This documentary additionally caters to a student audience in an academic setting as a platform to discuss race, gender, and identity. The final audience that this documentary serves is a black female audience. For this audience, this documentary is designed to empower and enlighten so that African American women can share their stories and experiences with one another, and benefit from those shared experiences.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Artist Statement.pdf (113 kB)
Artist's Statement

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