TV reporter inspires other Black women by wearing her hair in braids on-air

Treasure Roberts was once told she'd never get a job if she wore her braids.
Treasure Roberts is a reporter/fill-in anchor for WMBD/WYZZ News.
Treasure Roberts is a reporter/fill-in anchor for WMBD/WYZZ News.@TRobertsTV / Twitter

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/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

When Treasure Roberts wore her hair in braids while appearing on WMBD/WYZZ News earlier this week, most viewers in Peoria, Illinois, probably didn't think twice of it. But it was a pretty big deal for the reporter/fill-in anchor.

Monday marked the first time that Roberts has worn her hair in the style on-air, and she decided to celebrate the special moment by posting a photo of herself on Twitter.

The 24-year-old also shared the following message that has quickly resonated with other women: “Years ago I was told to take a clip out of my newsreel because I was wearing braids. The news director told me I wouldn’t get a job with braids. I left the clip in and landed a job in the industry. Now, I’m wearing them on-air for the first time. Braids are professional."

Twitter users quickly lent Roberts their support and applauded her for staying true to herself.

Many Black women replied with photos of their own beautiful braids, including Christina Watkins, a news anchor in New Orleans.

One grandmother even told Roberts she can't wait to share her picture with her granddaughter when she's old enough to understand her story.

Roberts is thrilled to see her story resonate with other women and told TODAY Style she's glad she got a second opinion after that news director told her to ditch her braids back in 2018.

"I told someone else in the news industry about my experience and they were appalled," she recalled. "The person I spoke to encouraged me. He said 'Don’t you ever let someone tell you how to wear your hair.'He was stern and he was serious."

"After that conversation, I thought, 'He was right.' Then I made my decision to keep that clip with my braids in my reel and I put it at the very front of my newsreel."

Roberts on the set of her station's studio.

The journalist ended up landing a job right out of college and is excited for the opportunity to wear her hair in her preferred natural style.

"It feels liberating. I am so happy. I love box braids. They’re manageable. I’m sure all my ladies who wear braids love the convenience of getting up and not doing anything to their hair besides taking the scarf off. I feel authentic when wearing my natural hair or protective styles like braids on camera," she said.

Roberts on her decision to wear her hair in braids: "I feel authentic."

The 24-year-old hopes her story serves as a reminder that braids are just as professional as any other hairstyle. "We shouldn't be judged by our skin, hair color or anything other than the quality of our work and accomplishments. The way I wear my hair does not impact the way I tell stories. Period," she said.

The journalist also has a message for other women who might be nervous about wearing their hair in a natural style at work.

"Be unapologetically you. Harder said than done. It took me months to build up the confidence to wear my natural hair on camera. However, for all the people who don’t support you there will be people who do, even people you’ve never met before," she said. "If you want to wear a wig, wear that wig. If you want to wear braids, wear those braids, even rock your afro. What should matter most is your passion."