Barbadian School Bans Twist Outs because the Style is Not Considered Neat

FotorCreatedI was born and raised in Jamaica, I attended an all girls Prep school and and all girls high school. The issues surrounding hair practices are nothing new to me, in fact we have even addressed the Truth about natural hair in the Caribbean before right here on the blog.

Like many countries the Caribbean is heavily influenced by what we do here, and more than ever women in the Caribbean are starting to embrace their natural hair, they are reading blogs and getting inspiration for various styles such as the twist out.

Well one Barbadian school is not here for it. The prestigious Harrison College which has been around for over 200 years has banned twist outs. They are not a fan of the style because it is not neat and the swift move on outlawing it has caused ripples in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.

Like most things the controversy picked up steam when Elva Mary Tudor posted a picture of her daughter who attend the school (pictured above), with the caption that her daughter’s hair was considered too flamboyant and unsettling got the school.

“My daughter’s hair style was considered too flamboyant and unsettling for school. At assembly yesterday the students were told twist outs are not appropriate for school.

She will be 18 in a couple weeks and over the last two years she has been quietly developing her sense of style of which I am quite proud. She has leaned to a natural look.

She has been subject of negative comments about her hair and has stood her ground. I understand clearly that school must have rules and they must be followed. But I find the negativity towards natural hair sad and backward. We seem to dislike the look of tightly coiled strong hair.”


As you can imagine the post went viral pretty quickly leading to the Harrison College Alumni addressing it directly with the Principal of the school, Principal Wade. The wrote a letter which was signed by 500 people who agreed with them.

We speak often of modernized curricula at the secondary level, and the need to pay attention not just to academic/technical areas of study, but to the sense of identity that young people develop as students. Part of this identity is of course the history of their country and region, and their place in this history.

Not just in the Caribbean but wherever young, Black women live, we are told that our hair is somehow inadequate: it is ‘hard’ or ‘knotty’. It is not straight ‘enough’, although enough for whom or what one cannot be sure. And where we are kindly allowed to wear our hair naturally as it grows from our heads, there are caveats: as long as it is pulled back or braided tight or otherwise tamed.

Now let us concede the expectation of a tidy appearance to accompany a school uniform. But there is nothing inherently untidy about a twist-out style. In fact, it helps keep strands of hair in place, where otherwise they may have blown about.

It is no different from a simple afro, unless this too is considered too distracting for school. Among our primary concerns is the message being sent to young women of African heritage in this country that their natural selves are of necessity untidy, unsuitable or otherwise inadequate….

The argument that “students can do whatever they like once they enter the real world, but this is school” also misunderstands the role of formal education and the process of young people’s development.

School is the real world. Young people are understanding themselves and their environment, and while becoming who they will be, they also are. They are real, valid human beings with thoughts and ideas to express.

While I agree with the sentiment of the Alumni, I couldn’t help but think about my own education and how strict the Sisters were on us girls where appearance was concerned.

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About Petra


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

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Comments

  1. Sandra Morris
    Sandra Morris

    These people are crazy! So what they want we black people to do with our hair? If we wear wigs they complain, we go natural its a problem! All I can say I love my beauti n I embrace it everywhere I go, I didn’t expect that from barbados our own caribbean island people Hhmm! I don’t knw if its a blue eye principal R its a black eye one, shame on them! #jamaicananproud

  2. Elle Michelle
    Elle Michelle

    This ongoing self-hate and/or projected hate regarding natural hair is awful! People have to stop rejecting differences. It’s all rooted in fear. Shameful!!!

  3. Kay McLean
    Kay McLean

    It isn’t neat. Cleary this particular school has a dress code and applies it. Its not self hate. Its not dissing natural hair. However, its showing these young ppl that they need to look proper at school and later on at work. I don’t see nothing wrong with this. My daughter has her hair in braids all week at school and during the weekend she can go wild. Nothing wrong with this at all.

    1. Shinita Payton
      Shinita Payton

      I agree!!! I love my natural hair, but a lot of women I see do not take the time to properly style their natural hair.

    2. Qhama Kana
      Qhama Kana

      yes I also agree. I just looked at the pictures and the way she did her twist out is not neat at all

  4. Sandra Morris
    Sandra Morris

    Dalon alwaysmemccoy Devaughn. What are u. A girl or a boy? No disrespect my friend. But I can’t tell the difference. I think if u go all natural I could tell the difference! Please stop addressing our precious hair as scouring pad! That’s low down shame of you. I guess sometime if we don’t have nothing good to say. Don’t say nothing at all!

    1. Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn
      Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn

      I’m a female bitch like I said its my f*****g opinion and a lot of people use natural to be lazy if if don’t apply to u then wtf is the problem and hair bunny I have plenty of it

  5. Kimorofme Claybar
    Kimorofme Claybar

    Whatever once u’re is clean y can’t u wear it which ever way u r feel comfortable. Some of these people don’t hve no hair on their head so they wear wigs etc let people natural beauty shine’s tru it’s the brain learning not the hair such hater’s.

  6. Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn
    Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn

    Last I check I can have my own opinion I clearly said people use natural as a excuse y’all are so immature to take what I said way out of line. Open your minds and face the fact people went from oh I need straight hair let’s relax it now that blacks are beginning to embrace their true beauty some are taking advantage of it. Like I said I have no problem with race hair or any of that. All people are beautiful to me. Its how some let them selves fall under pressure and think the professional world would agree. Be adults and ask me what I mean cause all the bs y’all talking is uncalled for. If it don’t apply to u y do u care if the next is careless of what they do with hair. Smh. Really all this over some twist grow up. Some are lazy and others embrace their beauty there is a difference. & yes I’m 100% woman, I have hair lots of it I don’t wear make up so yes natural is lovely so thank u to those who think they know what they are talking bout when it comes to being mature bout a situation
    God bless y’all though. Much love

  7. Shonda Blount
    Shonda Blount

    I have to ask…would there be an uproar if she had a looser texture? I am 4c and often not “afforded the same privileges” as my 3c sisters. Is a 3c twist out also considered unkempt?

  8. Sandra Morris
    Sandra Morris

    Dalon alwaysmemccoy. Let just keep it real ok no need to swear n calling of names. We need to luv ourself n thank god for what he gave us. U want to see kids here where I live, they go to school n wear what they feel like to wear their hair blowing all over the place n no one says nothing about it! So Y don’t u admit the facts of life about our hair! #luvmyhair

  9. Lisa Agate
    Lisa Agate

    My favorite quote ever is from Marcus garavy “the slave master might have freed the body but none but our selves can free the mind” it’s time black people love their hair it’s beautiful no matter the style or texture

  10. Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn
    Dalon Alwaysmemccoy DeVaughn

    @sandra If u read what I had to say you would know I have no problem with anyone I love everyone. I was making a point of there are many people who take advantage of being natural. Being natural should not mean don’t care bout your self. I love every human I don’t look at us as “races” we all come from one another. I just want everybody to be 100 and not try to take away from those who are clean with it. The ones who don’t care is the reason y the professional world won’t accept us. But most of u jumped to conclusions not knowing what I meant or where I was coming from. But that’s what immature people do. But I do apologize if I offended anyone but its nun like that. Hair is hair it doesn’t make u who u are period.

  11. Yenny Flores Powell
    Yenny Flores Powell

    I think the real issue is that certain hairstyles are just not appropriate for school, they cause a distraction. Ppl with straight hair should not have it out and playing with it throughout the day. A school should be a place for learning not for looking stylish

  12. Laura Williams
    Laura Williams

    You are, who you are. I don’t think wearing your hair a certain way will effect your education. I don’t think it’s the most important thing in the world to be worry about either. Your job is to teach those kids and help them learn. Not to worry about their hair, we all have different hair, textures, natural hair is beautiful just as much is straight hair. So I really don’t see what the f*** the problem is. They always have something negative to say when a black woman/ African American Woman wear their natural hair.

  13. Kashmere Noel
    Kashmere Noel

    How is a twist-out not neat? Would the same rule apply to straight haired white girls who braid their hair at night to make waves? Ridiculous.

  14. Andrea Angie Tater
    Andrea Angie Tater

    Them of all people should embrace who we are of African decent…..a twist out C’MON. ..they need to untwist their minds.

    1. Felicia Hamilton
      Felicia Hamilton

      No, parents not teaching their kids the importance and consistency of prayer… is why it is not in schools.

      No one can stop our children from praying. The rule is teachers and administrators can not pray.

  15. Charlene Cha LaBranche
    Charlene Cha LaBranche

    My hair shouldn’t cause a distraction just like my skin shouldn’t either.. It’s a twist out what is it suppose to look like

  16. Fatima Ross
    Fatima Ross

    If your children cant learn bc someone else hair yall got bigger issues at home trust smh

  17. Francene Nicole StMarthe
    Francene Nicole StMarthe

    Not something new for sure. My alma matter. Does not even allow big puffs. So yes. They do play prejudice. Its a horrible thing. But no one has made an effort to fight them on some their rather ridiculous rules concerning our kinky coils.

  18. Adrienne L Woodard
    Adrienne L Woodard

    Dumb just trying to take our natural identity from the children WHY can’t we just keep what’s ours w dignity???

  19. Zita Vigier
    Zita Vigier

    You have to be kidding me, unfortunately the islands still have that slave self hate mentality. Honestly have to check them every time I visit home.

  20. Tafara Tapfumanei
    Tafara Tapfumanei

    Twist outs are neat… I don’t get why they need to be banned. Its not like they are walking around with hair that is not washed or combed kmt

  21. Chanie Monique
    Chanie Monique

    people are only concerned with “neat” hair and calling a “distraction” because thats what the white man condition do you think if we weren’t taken from our neighbors homes if we were brought here enslaved taught that White was right back blonde hair blue eyed nice and sleek what’s the way to go then the way that our hair is naturally when the ever been considered not meet not sweet not white enough it wouldn’t have been considered a distraction it would have been the normal thing it’s sad to see that some of the African American women black women dark-skinned kinky haired women are saying that our hair is a distraction if it was nice to meet then it wouldn’t be an issue… What what I say to that why is the way that our hair naturally grows out of there had an issue why are you focused on the nice and me quote unquoteof what pease children’s hair look like it looks natural it looks normal that’s what it looks like people need to get over themselves.

    1. Felicia Hamilton
      Felicia Hamilton

      Until the First Lady of the US wears some of these styles… then neat, straighten, hair will always, be considered professional.

      Funny she rocks them while on vacation… corn rows and all.

  22. Chanie Monique
    Chanie Monique

    I give up I’m busy I used talk to text so pardon the misspelled words if you get what I’m saying I don’t have time to go back and correct it all lol point being people need to mind their own business there’s all different kinds of beautiful there’s all different kinds of styles I feel like a half shaved head is distracting so we all have our opinions but we need to keep them to ourselves if it’s not affecting the children actually learning is not like a kid is going to sit there and stare at somebody’s head the entire class period And not focus on what the teacher is saying

  23. Kristin Douglas
    Kristin Douglas

    Non progressive and just plain stupid in this day and age…appreciate the hair God gave us and keep it moving.

  24. Mary Howard

    I see nothing wrong with wearing your natural, no matter the styles. Some may not be as neat as others, still a problem with natural hair is being banned. Conforming to those with a closed mind is stupid. If you ban natural hair styles then do so with all races of hair. Freedom of expression is being stomped out by others in power. Censoring people because of how they wear their hair or clothes is going overboard. Is this a Marxist country now????

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