Crochet styles and box braids were one of the most popular hair trends of the summer. But let’s face it, box braids have always been a staple when it comes to young women of color. Despite the undeniable influence that Black women have on… well, basically everything, our hair is still relatively taboo in the workplace.
This week, Banana Republic employee, Destiny Tompkins took to social media to share her frustrations after her employer sent her home. After being quizzed by two white managers, Tompkins’ hair was labeled both “unkempt” and too “urban” for the Banana Republic image, and she was promptly dismissed. In addition to their debasement of Destiny Tompkins, the managers also informed Tompkins that she could not schedule any further shifts with the store until she removed her braids.
The battle for equality for women of color has been an uphill one. There are supposedly laws in place to protect against this kind of wanton discrimination. But even the lawmakers have a very skewered perception of equality in the workplace.
Just last year, the federal appeals Chastity Jones’ employer’s decision to ban locs, a traditionally Black hairstyle.
The post has since been shared over 20,000 times on Facebook. Many calling for the public to boycott the clothing brand. Following the uproar, a spokesperson from Banana Republic stated that “as a company, we have zero tolerance for discrimination. We take this matter very seriously, and we are actively conducting an investigation. We are committed to upholding an inclusive environment where our customers and our employees feel respected.”
Trying to rectify this poor lack of judgment will be an onerous task for the brand. In the meantime, it might just be time to #BoycottBananaRepublic