Banana Republic Dismisses Black Employee’s Box Braids As “Urban And Unkempt”

A black Banana Republic employee is calling out her place of business for their comments about her “urban unkempt” box braids, which her white manager deemed “inappropriate” for their store.

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Destiny Tompkins wrote on Facebook that her manager “Mike” spoke to her in private about the dress code. She believed that she was being admonished for her clothing, when she was really about to be called out for something else.

“I came in and he questioned me about the dress code and immediately, I thought there was something wrong with my outfit but he sat me down and questioned my hair instead,” she wrote in a post that currently has over 17,000 shares. “He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too “urban” and “unkempt” for their image. He said that if I didn’t take them out then he couldn’t schedule me for shifts until I did.”

Tompkins wrote that she attempted to explain the importance of protective styles for black women, saying that when the weather gets colder, her hair tends to become very brittle. However, her manager of only a month was not accepting her explanation.

“He recommended that I use shea butter for it instead,” she continued. Tompkins did not finish her shift that day, and her mother attempted to speak to the manager to no avail.

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“Box braids are not a matter of unprofessionalism, they are protective styles black women have used for their hair and to be discriminated against because of it is truly disgusting and unacceptable,” she wrote. “There’s no reason why a white person should feel allowed to tell me that I can’t wear my hair the way that I want bc it’s too black for their store image. #boycottbanana Banana Republic.”