Pittsburgh news anchor defies convention by wearing braids on air

In any given professional setting, the controversy surrounding hair and its acceptability continues to persist, particularly for individuals with kinky hair types. Shockingly, only 19 states have implemented the CROWN Act, a legislation that aims to prohibit discrimination against protective hairstyles commonly worn by individuals with kinky hair.

Unfortunately, instances still arise where children are prevented from participating in graduation ceremonies or attending school, while adults face termination solely based on their choice of protective hairstyles, which are often unjustly viewed as untidy or unprofessional.

Over the years, discriminatory dress code policies, which often include specific rules regarding hairstyles, have compelled women with kinky hair to resort to chemical straighteners in an attempt to meet the standards of “professionalism.” However, recent studies have linked these straightening treatments to uterine cancer, shedding light on the risks associated with such practices.

Although some individuals continue to use straighteners, many opt to conceal their natural hair with wigs or weaves, while men may feel compelled to cut their hair to secure and maintain employment.

Unfortunately, these practices contribute to a lack of representation in professional environments when it comes to diverse hairstyles. This is precisely why Royce Jones, a news anchor for KDKA, a Pittsburgh-based affiliate of CBS News, made a bold decision to wear cornrows on air. Jones, typically seen sporting loose and curly hair, recently had his hair braided and proudly showcased his new look in front of the camera.

People with highly curly or kinky hair textures possess more delicate strands and require specific products and styles to protect their hair from breakage. Cornrows, box braids, and two-strand twists are all examples of protective hairstyles aimed at preserving the health of the hair.

Yet, the concept of wearing such styles in corporate settings is still relatively new, even as those in leadership positions become more knowledgeable about the intricacies of caring for kinky hair textures.

That is precisely why Jones’ decision is so remarkable. While society may be more accepting of different hairstyles, representation in professional roles, particularly those classified as “business attire,” remains scarce. Nevertheless, there was Jones, confidently seated behind his anchor desk in a suit and tie, proudly displaying his freshly braided cornrows.

Taking to social media, Jones expressed his reasons for wearing braids on air and expressed gratitude for the support he received. He wrote, “Here’s a reminder to be the representation you wish to see (in any space)! Feeling confident, happy, and proud wearing my braids this week! Thanks for all of your supportive/encouraging messages. And s/o to my stylist, Mia, for doing the thing.”

The response to his post was overwhelmingly positive, with fans and colleagues showering him with support. Fellow reporter Briana Smith commented, “Love it! You can rock anything & everything! Keep being you! That’s why people love you my friend!”

“Braids on KDKA!! You look fabulous! CONGRATULATIONS,” exclaimed one commenter.

“Royce, you’re the total package, good looking as heck, a great desk reporter and field reporter, and greatly entertaining when you ‘step out’ of the narrow reporter box like you do with Ray…and the braids? Honey, you’re fire,” praised another individual.

“I love that you challenge the old stodgy rules about what a news anchor looks like. You keep on rockin’ it,” expressed a supportive commentator.

Undoubtedly, Jones has received an outpouring of support from both his fans and colleagues for his decision to wear braids on air. The representation of protective hairstyles in professional settings is crucially needed, and it is evident that Jones is playing a significant role in setting a positive example.

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