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A restaurant in Toronto, Canada is facing backlash after a Black employee in training was sent home because of her natural locks.

CBC News reports that Akua Agyemfra’s encounter with her manager at Jack Astor’s happened on her third day of training, when she wore her hair in a bun. The 20-year-old was hired on the spot for a waitressing job at the restaurant. While she wore extensions for her interview and first two training sessions, she decided to wear her hair natural that day.

Manager Sabrina Chiodo, not pleased with Agyemfra’s appearance, sent her home because of her hairstyle. Agyemfra explained that she wouldn’t be able to wear her hair down and even took it out of the neat bun to show her.

Via CBC:

“She was really nice about it,” Agyemfra said. “She said a lot of the girls were talking about my hair and that it was in a bun and theirs isn’t. But it kinda sucked.” Agyemfra said “a lot of Caucasian people don’t really understand” that her hair doesn’t go down.

“But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that she sent me home.”

Speaking to CBC Wednesday, Chiodo did not deny that Agyemfa was sent home because her hair was in a bun. She added that the chain’s policy dictates that waitresses wear their hair down.
But Kathryn Long, the national marketing manager for Jack Astor’s, told CBC waitresses can wear their hair down or in a “stylish up-do.”

Agyemfra’s story has inspired many to boycott the restaurant and question why the young woman’s hair was scrutinized. Agyemfra says she hasn’t returned to the job because she doesn’t want to compromise herself for an employer:

I’m not going to compromise my roots and edges because my employer wants me to. My scalp has a right to breathe just as much as the woman standing beside me.

With that said, I know white women who only wear their hair up because their natural hair is too annoying to deal with. It’s much easier for them to straighten their hair or comply with the “straight hair” rule at restaurants. Unless your hair is permed, rarely does a black women’s hair stay down when it’s straightened. It may stay laid for a few hours but that style is only temporary. I just want equality. If a women, white or black, is more comfortable with their hair up, I don’t understand why it’s such an issue at a restaurant setting.

What do you think of Agyemfra’s situation? Sound off in the comment section below.



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