I will not cut my hair to become a Premier League manager
When I was working as a sports journalist for another media company in 2013, I was told that. I considered my hair part of my identity at the time. Having dreadlocks should not – and did not – interfere with my job performance.
As a result, I refused.
It didn’t matter for a while, but in 2015, I thought I had every chance of covering the Rugby World Cup due to my interest in the sport and my role as our lead reporter. However, the opportunity went elsewhere because “my look” wasn’t considered appropriate for such an event, and I had to remove my dreadlocks.
It devastated me. It was a deeply racist experience, but I was too busy covering one of the world’s greatest sporting events to process it.
After 12 years of growing dreadlocks, I shaved my head a few weeks later. I felt like I’d lost part of myself at the time.
Reading about former Premier League striker Gifton Noel-Williams’ struggles to get into management brought back memories of that. People close to him suggested he cut off his dreadlocks to improve his job prospects because he was lacking opportunities.
“If I had to cut my hair, it would be a very sad day for me,” Noel-Williams said.
I’ve said to people before, “If this means that I never become a manager because of my hair, I’m OK with it. I’m okay with it.”