Dana Whyte is used to straightening her hair for work — and that’s why a recent tweet of hers is going viral.
The Lansing, Mich. reporter recently shared a photo on Twitter, sharing her experience with wearing her hair natural on TV for the first time ever. The seemingly simple act took a lot of courage from the 21-year-old, who admits she straightens her hair daily.
I wore my natural hair on tv for the first time ever today! This has been an internal battle that I’ve been struggling with ever since I decided to become a reporter. Finally feeling true to myself 💗 #blackgirlmagic pic.twitter.com/f9x1u0XuQJ
— Dana Whyte (@WLNSDana) August 6, 2018
“I wore my natural hair on tv for the first time ever today! This has been an internal battle that I’ve been struggling with ever since I decided to become a reporter. Finally feeling true to myself #blackgirlmagic,” wrote Whyte on Twitter.
Whyte told Teen Vogue that she’s been considering wearing her natural hair for a long time — especially after noticing the toll daily heat styling was taking on her locks.
“I started as a full-time reporter in May , and I would straighten my hair literally every day,” said Whyte. “It was super damaging and my hair was starting to fall out, so I knew I had to make a change.”
But that wasn’t the main reason she wanted to ditch the straightener. She said straightening her hair daily made her feel like she was “trying to conform to a certain image that society wanted me to be.”
Whyte is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists — and it was at a convention where she felt the final push she needed to go on air with natural hair.
“I think natural hair in journalism is becoming more common, but it still has a long way to go in terms of acceptance. Representation is so important. Little girls sitting at home watching the news need to be able to see someone who looks like them on television, so they know it’s possible for that to be them one day,” she said.
Needless to say, Twitter had a lot of love for the young newscaster.
I understand this struggle because I'm currently dealing with it 🙄 great inspo! Looks good 😊
— Lex (@Lexii_Mathers15) August 6, 2018
SOOOOO LIBERATING sis @WLNSDana🙋🙋🙋 IT'S a shame that some people become so DISCOMBOBULATED when others choose to be free and embrace their whole SELF🙄🙄🙄 #MYhairISsoDOPE#SLAYINGtheSTIGMA#NaturalHAIR #sheROCKSthoseCOILSandCURLS
— Olivia PittsGonzalez (@OliviaSrvg1) August 7, 2018
Thanks for being who you are! Your courage makes it a safer for everyone else to be who they are, too. Best of luck! ❤️
— The Kitchen Coach (@HappyKitchens) August 7, 2018
You're a beautiful intelligent girl, be true to yourself. Let your light shine. ❤️
— thewhuthut (@zelda1954) August 7, 2018
Looks absolutely great! I hope that the young journalists that I know will be inspired by you
— JA Sampson (@joyeinmotion) August 8, 2018
A fellow reporter also commended Whyte fror her bravery, and shared a similar photo of herself rocking her natural hair.
Hello Ms.Whyte Just saw your tweet about your hair. Good for you – it's beautiful and the young women coming behind you need to know they're beautiful too. I've rocked my natural hair 4 much of my career. Its empowering. Keep rocking! #BlackGirlMagic pic.twitter.com/aJGsQuYR5V
— Pat St. Claire (@PatStClaire) August 8, 2018
A 2016 study in the United States found that black women feel more self conscious about their hair than white females. There was also a feeling of added pressure among black women to straighten their hair for work. The same report revealed that “a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their hair.”
As for Whyte, wearing her hair natural has made her feel more like herself — and she hopes it inspires other women of colour to follow suit.
“Now, I feel like I’m not hiding behind a mask and can fully be myself. I hope this helps others know that they can do the same,” she said.