An Illinois TV anchor is challenging the rigid rules of the news industryby wearing braids on-air. 

Briana Collins didn’t know she could wear braids on TV. The 26-year-old news anchor at Fox in Champaign, Illinois was tired of wearing straight hair and kowtowing to “industry standards” regarding hairstyles. In response, she took action. 

“I’ve been in the TV industry for about four years now, so I’m still fairly new to the business. But one thing that I always wanted to do when I was in this industry was wear my braids,” she told TODAY Style. “Sometimes you just want to give your hair a break, or you’re tired of doing it every day.”

Inspired by Florida journalist AJ Walker, who posted photos of her braided hair, Collins asked her team if it was okay to wear braids. To her surprise, the network was supportive through the whole process.

“Fox Champaign has been 100 percent supportive of my choice. And it feels great to have management that approves of your choice to be different.”

While speaking toYahoo Lifestyle, the budding news anchor said that straight hair was the standard. Women of color working in the television news industry are not allowed to deviate from script.

“Curly or straight, in locks or natural or in braids” shouldn’t be a consideration, she told Yahoo.

Collins wanted to inspire other Black women who are often told their hairstyles were unprofessional. She shared photos on Facebook showing off her new do. 

The anchor’s brave choice comes after several Black women around the country have taken bold strides in pushing back against racist bias against Black hair. Anchor Brittany Noble-Joneswrote a scathing essay calling out the industry and Atlanta 11 Alive Francesca Amiker wore faux locs in solidarity. As mentioned before, Walkerwore braids. There is a change in the air and Collins wants Black women to embrace it. 

“Be yourself, the world will adjust,” she said. “Go through the proper channels and don’t feel like you don’t have options to take action against those who may have wronged you.”


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