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Dr. Opie publishes new article in Fashion Studies Journal

Hello everyone, I recently published an article in the inaugural issue of Fashion Studies, a new peer-reviewed journal published by Ryerson University. Specifically, the fabulous Dr. Ben Barry and Dr. Alison Matthews David serve as co-editors. According to the journal’s website (

Fashion Studies is an open-access academic journal in fashion that celebrates multiple ways of knowing and sharing that knowledge.

Yes! Sign me up! My article is entitled, “Let My Hair Be Me: An Investigation of Employee Authenticity and Organizational Appearance Policies Through the Lens of Black Women’s Hair” ( In the article, I: 1) explore how organizational appearance policies, though seemingly innocuous, may conflict with efforts to encourage employee authenticity; 2) delve into the intersectional experiences of Black women in the workplace; and, 3) discuss how what we wear to work relates to uniforms!

The woman depicted in the article (and below!) is Ms. Petra Lewis, a blogger and friend that I met years ago while conducting research interviews. Shout out to Kevin Ryan for taking the amazing pictures!

Petra Lewis, Blogger & Entrepreneur
Photo Credits: Kevin Ryan

Also appearing in the issue are topics as varied as the origins of fashion mannequins and the relationship between fashion and race. Check it out!

Please share your thoughts on the article. Does your organization have appearance policies? What do you think about them? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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I’m baaaaaccckkkk!

Hello everyone, as I mentioned before, I have been on hiatus as I pursued tenure. Good news! I am now an Associate Professor of Management!

Newly tenured professors Drs. Tosti-Kharas and Opie.
We started at NYU-Stern and are now at Babson College.
I am so excited that we received tenure at the same time…couldn’t have happened with a nicer person.

I am also preparing for sabbatical for the coming academic year. Hallelujah! I now have time to refocus on! Yes!

I have missed you all and look forward to many future conversations. Please drop me a line or leave a comment letting me know what topics you would like to explore. Thank you and talk soon!

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Hair penalties: The negative influence of Afrocentric hair on ratings of Black women’s dominance and professionalism

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that my co-author, Kathy Phillips, and I recently learned that our paper on Afrocentric hair and professionalism has been accepted in an academic journal called Frontiers in Psychology.  Here is a link to the abstract:

You can also download the full article PDF on that page.


More and more women are donning their natural hair in the workplace.

Many of us may be aware of the international phenomenon where women are embracing their natural hair.  In our paper, we found that Afrocentric hair is rated as less professional than Eurocentric hair.  Honestly, this was no surprise given societal norms.  However, of particular interest to us was that, when evaluating Afrocentric hair, Black people were harsher than White people.  Read the full paper to understand why.  Please share your thoughts on natural hair in the workplace on the blog or my Facebook page at




  • Mia

    Congratulations on the acceptance of your paper on such an important topic!

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Tina featured on!

What an honor to be featured on  Antoniah Opiah is a force and I’m delighted that her organization wanted to chat with me.  You might remember that they beautifully executed the “You can touch my hair” campaign in New York!  Brilliant minds.  If you missed that, here is a link short film on the “You can touch my hair” campaign.


Here is a link to the feature article they just ran: interview with Tina Opie.  Please check out other features on the website.  Enjoy!



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Give people with red hair some love

red hair 330px-HH_the_Prince_Harry

Prince Harry

I had no idea that the term “ginger” was an offensive term for those with red hair.  Apparently, the term is used to ridicule entire populations of people who happen to have red hair.  They are sometimes considered targets, sexulized and bullied. Really, I had no idea.  I think it’s because as a Black woman, hair color has been much less of a discussion point for me than hair texture (sample from any of the past year’s blog posts and you’ll likely gain insight into hair texture).

red hair Elizabeth_I_when_a_Princess

Elizabeth I

Yet, hair color seems to be much more of a concern for non-Black people, especially White people.  I recall Chris Rock’s famous insight that White women seemed to be obsessed with blonde hair, with many White women dying their hair blonde.  So, I’d heard about the pursuit of blonde hair, but I’d never heard about the teasing that some may endure just because they have red hair.

I came across an article “Seeing red: why we need to be sensitive about using the word ‘ginger'” on (  I must admit that I cringed at the sexist references littered throughout the article but I tried my best to chew up the meat and spit out the bone (I hope that doesn’t offend my vegetarian readers!).  I’m curious to know what you all think about the article.

Did you know:

1) red hair is the rarest hair color?  Only 1% to 2% of the world population has red hair.

2) Scotland has the highest concentration of those with red hair? 13% have red hair and 40% have the recessive red hair gene.

3) Polynesians have a significant incidence of red hair?  In Polynesian culture, red hair is a mark of high ancestral descent.

4) The stereotype that people with red hair are “hot tempered” in part comes from 19th century work (i.e., Cesare Lombroso & Guglielmo Ferrero, see below for link) which associated red hair with lust crimes and asserted that almost half of women criminals had red hair.  Geez.

If you’re interested in this topic, here are a few links that educated me on this topic:

– Wiki on the history of red hair

– Wiki with famous list of red heads

– Duke University Press link to “Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman” by Lombroso & Ferrero

  • Amy Donovan

    Thanks! This rang true for me. I’m mainly Scottish, some English, Welsh and German. Both of my parents had dark red hair.
    In my experience people of all complexions make comments about white hair color. People pursue blond hair sometimes when they’re older but I heard a lot of “dumb and dirtzy blue eyed blond” comments and jokes until about age 30.

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Andre Walker Shares 8 Natural Hair Commandments

Andre Walker is the  Love him or not, he’s an Emmy-award winning genius who has his own hair care line.  He’s credited with the hair typing system (if you refer to hair as 4b or 3a, you have his original typing system to thank).  He also famously styled Oprah Winfrey’s fabulously fluffy and healthy hair for her show.

Andre Walker

So, when Mr. Walker shares natural hair commandments, I take notice.  Here are the tips as shared at

Shampoo and Condition More Often
There are many schools of thought when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. Walker believes for those with dry hair, the more the better. “Many people think that dry hair should not be washed too often, but that is incorrect,” he explains. “Dry hair needs moisture, water is moisture. Use water and highly moisturizing products to deliver moisture to your hair.”

Rinse Shampoo Thoroughly
Rinse for an extra minute or two in the shower to make sure you get all the shampoo out of your hair. This will leave you with less frizz and extra shine.

Condition From Roots to Tips
Make sure to get conditioner on your whole entire head. Leave on for a few minutes before you rinse to lock in the moisture.

Related: Why Can’t a Black Woman Have a Perfect Bedhead?

Deep Condition
During the dry winter months, deep conditioning treatments are essential to combat breakage and frizz. If you can’t make it to the salon, you can easily do a DIY version at home. Simply shampoo your hair and rinse it out with hot water, then add a conditioner throughout. Dampen a towel with hot water, ring out the excess, and wrap it around your head. Place a shower cap over the towel to lock in the heat and keep things in place. Once the towel gets cool, soak it again and rewrap. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes.

Do Not Brush
When styling natural hair, Walker says it’s best not to disturb the curl pattern as it dries. Brushing, combing, even touching your hair will cause frizz.

Go to Bed With a Ponytail
If you want to keep frizz at bay, don’t wear your hair down when you sleep. Lying on your curls will cause them to frizz and straighten out. Instead, Walker suggests loosely pulling all of your hair into a pony at the center of your crown.

Related: Why I Stopped Relaxing My Hair

Sleep on Silk
Cotton pillowcases absorb moisture and will dry your hair out and cause breakage. Switch to silk or satin and you’ll keep the moisture in your hair (and feel that much more luxurious).

Get Misty
To freshen up kinks, curls, or waves that may have drooped or frizzed when you don’t have time to shampoo and condition, mist your hair lightly with water (be careful not to saturate it too much) and add a small amount of styling product and Argan oil.



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Halle Berry: In Court Against Ex Over Daughter’s Hair?

Hair MATTERS.  I don’t know Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, or their daughter but if anything about this story is true, it is just SAD to me.

First, their daughter is six years old, so any chemical process (straightening, coloring, etc.) seems ridiculous.  What is the point?  Second, if there is any truth to the goal of denying the little girl’s Black heritage, well…THAT is even sadder.

Below is an excerpt from a 11/24/14 article on; what do you all think? Would you take your spouse or ex to court over this?

BTW, I decided NOT to post a picture of their daughter, let’s leave the children out of this.  I wish the paparazzi would stop hounding these parents for their children’s pictures.  Can you imagine how traumatic that would be?

Excerpt from article on

Oscar winner Halle Berry’s ex made ‘completely and totally unacceptable’ racial slurs against the actress – and dyed their six-year-old daughter’s hair blonde, it was revealed in court today.

The star took her former love, Gabriel Aubry, to court, accusing him of straightening their little girl Nahla’s naturally curly hair and lightening it over the past year in a bid to deny her African-American heritage.

As a result, Halle said in court documents, Aubry had caused Nahla ‘potential psychological and physical damage’ – and could cause her to wonder ‘why her natural appearance is not good enough’.

A judge ruled today that neither Halle nor Aubry can now change Nahla’s hair, while court records obtained by MailOnline show that Aubry has made shocking racist remarks against the star”

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Carol Rossetti’s Sublime Work

I love supporting work that I find beautiful and inspiring.  Lay your eyes on the beautiful work of Carol Rossetti (  This piece on Afrocentric hair is sublime.  What do you think?


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