Former KTN business news anchor Joy Doreen Biira has recounted her past ordeal where she was forced to undo her freshly done braids before going live on air.
Through a series of tweets, Doreen stated that she was forced to undo her braids, get her hair straightened before anchoring news, in what was termed as a directive from the superiors.
According to Doreen, the KTN stylist stated that her hair was not straight enough and wasn’t presentable enough for live news coverage despite undoing the braids.
“Won’t forget undoing my freshly plaited braids in the newsroom just hours before going on air to do business news, because standing orders from above said your hair is either straight or you don’t get on air. Then when the hair was out and straightened it was not straight enough! The stylist at the time said hair looked too big on air … so we are Africans but should wear hair that’s unAfrican? How are we gonna encourage younger girls and women to believe and know that our African hair, braided or not is still good hair?” asked Ms Biira.
The conversation about media houses “banning” braided hair for news presenters to look presentable + “meet global standards” while global media houses are embracing braids for their presenters… it’s ironic!
Thanks for representing @kacungira https://t.co/yhwsPtYN4K
— Joy Doreen BIIRA (@JoyDoreenBiira) November 12, 2019
The tweets followed a conversation around media expectation of women aimed to create awareness and encourage the younger generation to embrace themselves, and their African hair.
In a different account of events, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist Nancy Kacungira tweeted a picture of herself in plaited braids, with the caption, ‘so many people say you can’t be a news anchor and wear braids.’
The tweet was aimed to introduce the conversations surrounding women in media, making them come out of their shells and narrate their experiences.
For instance, other journalists who had been in similar situations narrated their encounters, hence igniting the wave of the debate.
The media has created a scenario where the anchors have to be presentable enough to represent the company brand, which include wearing expensive clothes, shoes and hair, a move that not every anchor is comfortable with.
Doreen, a mother of two started her journalism career as an intern and later climbed the ladder to the become a business news anchor at Standard Group.