A Black French flight atten­dant of Air France is not allowed to wear dread­locks dur­ing his ser­vice. The French­man of Ivo­rian ori­gin is now forced to wear his dreads under a wig. But the dress code only applies to men, black women are allowed to wear their hair in dread­locks.

Accord­ing to the peti­tion “Hair France, don’t touch our roots” , Aboubakar Tra­oré was hired as a flight atten­dant by the Air France in 1999. But he had no idea that such a hair­style could “harm” the image of the com­pa­ny, con­sid­er­ing that not a sin­gle of Air France reg­u­la­tions pro­hibits male flight atten­dants from wear­ing dread­locks. Nev­er­the­less, his man­agers at Air France went as far as forc­ing him to wear a wig to hide his hair­style.

How­ev­er, Air France’s reg­u­la­tions explic­it­ly allow the wear­ing of dread­locks by women, rec­og­niz­ing as such that the hair­do can have strong asso­ci­a­tions to an individual’s iden­ti­ty.

On May 5th demon­stra­tors protest­ed out­side the office of Air France in Paris to protest against the airline’s refusal to change to change rule. They want the com­pa­ny to gen­uine­ly con­sid­er the eth­nic diver­si­ty of its per­son­nel, as well of the evolv­ing soci­ety, with­in its reg­u­la­tions. And that the com­pa­ny halt all dis­ci­pli­nary mea­sures being imposed against the flight atten­dant.

Here’s the sto­ry, for those of you who can speak French:

Dis­c­riman­tion _ Air France s’acharne by AncFrance
Ladies, what are your thoughts on this? On the one hand I can per­haps under­stand if they don’t want male employ­ees in gen­er­al wear­ing their hair long. On the oth­er hand, I doubt the locs inter­fere with his abil­i­ty to be a great flight atten­dant.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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73 Comments on "French Flight Attendant Forced to Cover Locs with Wig"

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I don’t think it’s right but I do get where it’s com­ing from. Let the thumbs downs begin! But before I start­ed being nat­u­ral­ly I didn’t think locs were proffe­sion­al or even cute. There was only one girl I ever met that I thought “damn, her hair looks good.” This is from my fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends alway say­ing locs must be soooo dirty and the peo­ple must have nits, lice, build up…Godzilla.….everything. So if that is what some peo­ple think then air France wouldn’t want some­one with ‘dirty hair’ to be serv­ing food and so on. It’s sad but… Read more »

And also this is France.…. What did you expect. I guess because I was born in France and have spent a lot of time there it doesn’t sur­prise me.… There’s so much prej­u­dice towards any­thing black or Afro­cen­tric there.….

That wig though… Give me strength.


The ques­tion is : Did Air France give the wig to him or did he have to buy it him­self? Depend­ing on what type of wig it is a lot of cheap wigs can break your hair off and cause trau­mat­ic hair loss like ala­pae­cia. All he had to do you think was put it up in a chignon or a sim­ple up do bun.

Maria V.

France is known for being igno­rant when it comes to eth­nic appear­ances. Dis­ap­point­ed, not sur­prised.


Yes the burki­ni ban says it all

test website

he or she weblog was just how do i declare it… per­ti­nent, final­ly some­thing which helped me. Thanks


If there is a restric­tion against long hair on men, I under­stand, but from a cor­po­rate posi­tion, if this style is not accept­able and needs to be restrained, there are ways of doing with­out the wig. I am sure they will make him choose between his hair or his career.


haha­ha­ha­ha, if I was a pas­sen­ger I’d file a com­plaint against the air­line for mak­ing him wear that fool­ish wig

Adobuere Ebiama

He looks absolute­ly ridicu­lous

was it wrong for them to force him to cov­er his locks from the stand­point of there being no com­pa­ny pol­i­cy that specif­i­cal­ly stat­ed that dreads would not be accept­ed for men? yes, that was wrong. but do i believe that a com­pa­ny does reserve the right to pro­tect and project what­ev­er image they legal­ly want their per­son­ell to con­form to? absolute­ly. you see this all the time in show biz, enter­tain­ment enter­pris­es, etc. it’s called if you don’t like it, work some­where else. and yes, i am def won­der­ing how he fit those locks under that tiny wig. that’s… Read more »

Not fair but how in the world did he get all of them locks under that lit­tle wig?




The wig is ridic!! But would you be more offend­ed if they made him wear an Afro wig?

But seri­ous­ly, why didn’t they say some­thing when they saw his locs get­ting that long. I mean damn he did not just wake up with his hair that length.

From look­ing at the pic­ture on the right real quick I thought it was Mos Def, I was like hold up wait a minute what is this LOL. All seri­ous­ness though, sighs, it breaks my heart that this grown man can not be him­self, not even at work and its very sad…to the point he has to put on a wig…c’mon are you seri­ous a wig?! And its not even a decent look­ing wig but how him man­age to get all his locs in that wig is what I’d like to know.  Locs are beau­ti­ful point blank, black is beau­ti­ful. BLACK is… Read more »

I don’t like his locs. I won­der if they were neater, if they would have per­mit­ted it. Peo­ple need to read their employ­ee hand books


Yes, he should wear a wig or at least improve the appear­ance of his locs. I’m sure he could have found a more flat­ter­ing wig. Being a flight atten­dant is about appear­ances so of course the air­line would tell him to wear a wig. His hair is not the norm after-all . The unruly and chunky locs is not attrac­tive in my eyes e.g the kind buju ban­ton has. I am not against wear­ing locs as long as it is neat sim­i­lar to the sista locs.


I think it’s ridicu­lous. Why can women flight atten­dants wear locs but not men? But then, I con­sid­er men of oth­er races are prob­a­bly now allowed to wear their hair long while women are. I don’t know. It’s unfor­tu­nate for the man. His locks look way bet­ter than that wig! They should at least allow him to pin it up in a style, if he’s not allowed to have them free flow­ing or back in a pony tail.


I know of very few jobs that allow men in gen­er­al to have long hair. I do not believe it is some­thing tar­get­ing a spe­cif­ic race or spir­i­tu­al belief or gen­der. An man espe­cial­ly work­ing for an air­line will def­i­nite­ly not be alowed to have long hair… Not a big deal. Many jobs require the hair to be cut or kept a cer­tain way

Annie L.

Lord have mer­cy that wig.….but the ter­ri­ble shape and life­less­ness are no worse than some women back in the day.

No one has explic­it­ly stat­ed the pol­i­cy on Air France for men in gen­er­al which makes me think its vague or non-exis­tent. Also I deplore gen­der-bias as much as racism. Though some are more com­fort­able with men with short hair social­ly or pro­fes­sion­al­ly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t chal­lenge the sta­tus quo, dis­crim­i­na­tion is dis­crim­i­na­tion, we still chal­lenge notions about very short hair on women. If it were a woman it would be on CNN.


Lib­erté, égal­ité, fra­ter­nité (French for lib­er­ty, equal­i­ty, fra­ter­ni­ty) is the mot­to for France, and I must say I’m not real­ly sur­prised at the treat­ment this flight atten­dant received. It’s a known fact that the coun­try does not live up to its mot­to.


ROFLOL, that’s an ugly wig




Im flight aten­dant as well and I think that is not a prob­lem… It calls Groom­ming reg­u­la­tions! Noth­ing to do with racism. Im my air­line, girls are just alowed to have pony tail if the hais is com­plet­ly straight! Is not a big deal!!




total­ly cor­rect… seems to me tha we now live in a world where peo­ple believe that every­thing is fueled by racisim or dis­crim­na­tion.. for­get­ting about oth­er basic rules and reg­u­la­tions that are to be applied across the bor­der


France always know how to bring the BS.

That wig is just too much..I can’t.

Most com­pa­nies have appear­ance rules, so the fact that he isn’t sup­pose to wear his locs isn’t sur­pris­ing (there are rules like that in the US). That being said, this isn’t racism because it isn’t across the board (females aren’t includ­ed), it’s just men, so it’s sex­ist. But if you think about, a lot of com­pa­nies in the US don’t allow men to wear their hair long, so it’s in the same field as that. With all this being said though, why didn’t they say this when he was hired. He should’ve been noti­fied when they offered him the posi­tion,… Read more »
Textured beautiful

I can under­stand if they dont’ want thi­er male employ­ees to have long hair. I don’t belive it has any­thing to do with his dreads per se..


Sounds like this coun­try (US) about 30 years ago. It’s so ridicu­lous, but I sup­pose as the wear­ing of nat­ur­al hair­styles becomes more “main­stream,” cor­po­ra­tions are going to have to address these issues. The crazy part is that if they are allow­ing women to wear locks, why is his hair a prob­lem? As an aside, that wig looks real­ly stu­pid!


The nat­ur­al hair scene is not as devel­opped as in the US. Not many wear their hair nat­ur­al and not many men let it grow past a cer­tain length so I guess it could be a fac­tor.

Michele Antoinette
I don’t feel as if it is an attack on his race but rather an attack on his gen­der. If the air­line allows for black women to wear the exact hair­style then it can­not be an attack on his race. It is an attack on his inden­ti­ty as a man but nev­er­the­less, you can not sep­a­rate the lay­ers that come togeth­er to cre­ate his iden­ti­ty. The air­line obvi­ous­ly has an opin­ion as to the image a man should portray…from there the airline’s deci­sion could be deeply root­ed in racism (“what a white man is most like­ly to look like in… Read more »

(french peo­ple here so excuse my eng­lish)

Every job has rules, Air France work­ers have too. And there are rules for your hair. A woman can wear them short or if she has long hair can wear them into a neat pony­tail or neat bun. Men have to wear them short, long hair or braids are not allowed. My point being that this man knew it before he applied, and before he signed the con­tract. So I don’t real­ly under­stand his point since he knew he couldn’t wear his hair the way he wants.


If they weren’t allowed why was he hired? Like an ear­li­er poster said, his dreads do look mature, so I would assume he had them when he was hired.…. I’d like to know how long he has been work­ing for the com­pa­ny as well.


Since 98. He grew his dreads while work­ing there, so I agree with the com­pa­ny. If they say men have to have short hair they have to have short hair. He should be glad they let him wear the wig instead of just fir­ing him.


Oh ok, so Air France does have hair rules. Since I didn’t under­stand the French I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clar­i­fy­ing :-)

First, that wig looks like a dusty chim­ney sweep brush from a Charles Dick­ens nov­el. As a pas­sen­ger, that’d scare the hell out of me. Sec­ond­ly, I’d like to know what the poli­cies of hair styling are. Usu­al­ly jobs that require a uni­form have a more detailed poli­cies about how to wear your hair than jobs where peo­ple don’t wear uni­forms. For exam­ple, the US mil­i­tary has require­ments and def­i­nite­ly aren’t dis­crim­i­nat­ing when they say every­one will be “dress-right-dress”. Even work­ing in a hotel, my friend had to bun her hair to make it look “neater”. This could be an issue… Read more »

I’m a mil­i­tary spouse and they like to pick and choose when they want to enforce the reg­u­la­tions. I’ve seen peo­ple get briefed for hav­ing neat locked hair while oth­er mem­bers have unkempt hair and had not a word said to them. Point is for men or women peo­ple just have an aver­sion to locks peri­od and its irri­tat­ing because every­one I know who has them has nice neat styles.


LOL!!! Dead at “dusty chim­ney sweep brush from a Charles Dick­ens nov­el” Laughed until I cried!!


hi i’m a french read­er too!! so excuse me for my mis­takes
it seem to me that i’ve already heard about this affair
but i’m not suprise, it’s sad for him but i know that in my con­try (french guaina) a man who had locs, had to cut his hair to keep his job.
And his boss was black i don’t think that the issue is his hair but we know that it’s not good présen­ta­tion for a big part of the pop­u­la­tion


I have a female friend whose par­ents are from Guaina and guess what, she’s a flight atten­dant for Air France.
I haven’t spo­ken to her for a while but i would be inter­est­ed to know if she has heard of this news.
The wig is a major dis­trac­tion it’s ridicu­lous. I can imag­ine peo­ple on his flight hav­ing a hard time keep­ing a straight face, i know i’d find it hard. Seri­ous­ly the air line needs to rethink this one.


This is dis­crim­i­na­tion at its finest. And that bone straight wig looks absolute­ly ridicu­lous, I would ques­tion the men­tal health of some­one wear­ing a wig like that, and well I ques­tion the men­tal health of the peo­ple enforc­ing this rule.


Who else LOL’d when you saw him in the wig? He looks ridicu­lous!!! That’s unfair to such a sexy man. LOL..


I did, I won’t lie I’m still laugh­ing he looks ridicu­lous.


How long has he been a flight atten­dant?? I ask this because his locs are mature, and there­fore, he’s had them for some time. If he’s just got­ten the job, that’s one thing(and it should’ve been men­tioned by the com­pa­ny that hired him) If he’s been w/them for a while, why the sud­den change in rules?!?

if I under­stand cor­rect­ly from the video he’s been there since 98, I think he grows the locks while on the job.  the Air France exec­u­tive guy pret­ty much said we have more impor­tant thing to wor­ry about that some­one com­plaint abt hair­style SMH! God Bless Amer­i­ca! not that we’re bet­ter i’m sure this sort of things hap­pen here all the time but a huge com­pa­ny like that couldn’t sit a news series dis­miss­ing some­one right and get away with it!!! you too busy to look over a 1 page com­plaint but have time to come sit with the news cast to talk… Read more »

Lol we are def­i­nite­ly not bet­ter in Amer­i­ca. They won’t even allow dread­locks for women in some branch­es of the mil­i­tary. I know my friend has to go to the Army because the Air Force doesn’t allow it. & the the worse thing is that I see some rat­ty micro braids by some of these air­men. You should not have year of new growth and still think thats accept­able. :/ Hope­ful­ly reg­u­la­tions change.


I am sor­ry but when I saw with him with the wig, I laughed so hard!

Any­way, let’s get back to the sub­ject,

I won­der what it was wear­ing when they gave him the job?

I actu­al­ly like men with locks and his look clean and neat


You are NOT the only one who felt that way. I’m real­ly not sure why they would chose that wig! Can the peo­ple behind Sam Jackson’s hair pieces help him out?

But back to the top­ic; that is unfor­tu­nate that a hair­style can be pro­hib­it­ed. Many com­pa­nies want peo­ple to be com­pla­cent, espe­cial­ly if you are ser­vic­ing cus­tomers. Hope­ful­ly his peti­tion will help them under­stand that peo­ple want to wear their hair how they wish, but I doubt it. If that is the rule he may want to work for a com­pa­ny that wel­comes diver­si­ty.

But I need that wig GONE!

Annie L.

“Can the peo­ple behind Sam Jackson’s hair pieces help him out?”


Kasheera LaTash

lol I’m not gonna lie I clicked on the linked about to be out­raged but had to burst out laugh­ing after see­ing the pic of him in that fun­ny look­ing wig. Seri­ous­ly they couldn’t find a bet­ter wig or at least give him an afro tex­tured But back to the seri­ous­ness of the top­ic they need to change that pol­i­cy, his locs aren’t hurt­ing any­one. That pic with the wig is so

Ok, I’ll admit it…I did chuck­le when I seen that wig, now I feel bad lol. Any­who, good point. I won­der how his hair was when they hired him? And I won­der what their poli­cies about appear­ance are/were? In uni­formed posi­tions I know their are dif­fer­ent require­ments between men and women about hair. When I say this, the armed forces come to mind and my own per­son­al expe­ri­ence. Some armed forces have issues with nat­ur­al hair on women…but that’s anoth­er beast I won’t even get into lol. I didn’t know flight atten­dants have the same stan­dards. But still I think… Read more »

I am not sur­prised the French are very racist espe­cial­ly against Africans.


Yes he need­ed to cov­er his locks. I am a female with locks and find locks on a man unat­trac­tive. I think the rule would apply dif­fer­ent­ly to a woman because as such we are already expect­ed to have some kind of long hair or some kind of styling. If his look is not in line with com­pa­ny pol­i­cy then the com­pa­ny should have thought about that before they hired him. If he needs this job real­ly bad then he has to pay the piper, suck it up and wear a wig.


Well see THATS the issue.. too many peo­ple with PERSONAL OPINIONS think that its okay to try and con­trol anoth­er per­sons way of liv­ing. You can find it unat­trac­tive all you want, but all in all it is his choice to wear his hair how HE likes it.. and in that fac­tor, no one else mat­ters.


Are you for real?!! “Yes he need­ed to cov­er his locks”*****because you find it unat­trac­tive. I find it unat­trac­tive also but thats no rea­son for him to cov­er up! I find mus­cu­lar men unat­trac­tive, green eyes, grey hair etc. Should peo­ple cov­er up because they are not my pref­er­ence?


I agree chluck, that’s an absolute ridicu­lous rea­son­ing.

Perma­link– there’s a club in NY, Green­house that recent­ly lost a law­suit for not allow­ing minori­ties into their estab­lish­ment. Do you know what the defense of their bounc­ers was? That they choose the most attrac­tive women on line and they sim­ple don’t find black women attrac­tive. It tru­ly sad­dens me to hear you use the same rea­son­ing to jus­ti­fy dis­crim­i­na­tion. :-(




Omg how does he even fit all that hair under that wig?! Thats ridicu­lous.

curious kinks

lol, May be he chopped some of his hair off to fit it in. I think it’s a dumb move. I mean, how come they are now hav­ing prob­lems with him now? what about in the begin­ning when he start­ed grow­ing out his locs?


I was won­der­ing too! He has a lot of hair. I won­der if he ever con­sid­ered buy­ing a afro wig.…


yep, I was won­der­ing if there was a black hole in that wig cuz I can­not explain how he could fit these dreads in there oth­er­wise.

LOL I was think­ing the same thing! And I agree with oth­er posters that the wig looks sil­ly. I do know that some com­pa­nies have a hair length lim­it as part of the dress code, though (I read that PanAm stew­ardess­es had to have their hair above chin length in the 50s!) so it could be a length issue. Maybe women are allowed to wear locs because the dress code allows them to wear their hair long but men can’t, so his super­vi­sor just jumped to have him cov­er it up? If they don’t express­ly for­bid it, though, he shouldn’t… Read more »

I was try­ing to fig­ure that out?!?!?


That was my first thought.


Depends. I would need to read the full pol­i­cy because: are men restrict­ed from cer­tain hair­styles over­all or just dreads? For exam­ple, does the pol­i­cy state that men can’t wear long hair (regard­less of race) and it must be kept neat and/or short? What about facial hair? I would like to know why men can’t wear dreads but women can. I would like to know all the facts before form­ing an opin­ion.

Thats prob­a­bly what it is.…I worked for an air­line and men could not have hair past the col­lar and had to be clean shaven but you know this is all for shock val­ue so the media will not tell you every­thing. they most like­ly gave him the option to cut them to com­pa­ny length OR this wig and he chose the wig (could have cho­sen a bet­ter wig but ok). The rea­son women with dreds do not have that prob­lem is that they typ­i­cal­ly have long hair and it go past the collar.…in those sit­u­a­tions women are only required to… Read more »

Right, Coco! Per­haps there is a pol­i­cy in place that states no long hair on men,period. That would mean all men with long hair straight or locked. If not, then of course this is a case of dis­crim­i­na­tion.


It’s a bit sil­ly in my opin­ion. He looks a lit­tle fool­ish in the wig. I don’t see how a hair­style makes a dif­fer­ence in how one can car­ry out his job.


He looks absolute­ly ridicu­lous with that wig


they couldn’t find a bet­ter wig? the wig seems like a big­ger dis­trac­tion than locks to me…


Bon­jour! Hel­lo from Paris! French read­er here.
Yes I heard about it from my moth­er.
It’s out­ra­geous but I’m not sur­prised real­ly. That’s sad..


Hi I’m a stu­dent from Paris .
That is just so shame­ful : I taught his locs were actu­al­ly classy. I guess it will always be hard to deal with nar­row-mind­ed and une­d­u­cat­ed peo­ple… THIS IRKS ME


I live in Paris and I didn’t hear this sto­ry. That’s weird, I think medias don’t want to spread the news… We are so late in admet­ting that some­one can wear the hair he was born with. Shame on us.