Why ‘Today Show’s’ Sheinelle Jones Got ‘A Bit Emotional’ When She Let Her Hair Go Natural On The Air

Co-host Sheinelle Jones of the Today Show has been appearing each morning from home like several of her co-hosts due to the coronavirus crisis. The morning news personality has been doing her own hair and makeup while in quarantine and just made a change that she was hesitant about at first.

Sheinelle Jones of the 'Today Show'
Sheinelle Jones of the ‘Today Show’ | Tyler Essary/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

‘Today’ star talks quarantine life

Early in the lockdown process, Jones shared some of the challenges she was experiencing while working from home and trying to help her three kids navigate their school work online.

“I’ve slipped away to the bathroom because I need a moment,” she shared in an Instagram in early April. “If you have little ones at home, and you’re teaching them — I have two second graders and a fourth grader — you know what? May the force be with you because this is a challenge.”

The Today star revealed that there was definitely a balancing act that she needed to perform, with highs and lows on both sides.

“There are moments when I’m like, ‘Oh, my goodness, this feels so great and I feel like I’m teaching them and it’s so wonderful,’” she said, victoriously pumping her fist in the air. “And there are other moments when I feel like it’s all-consuming and I don’t have time to do anything else.”

Sheinelle Jones’ tries out a new ‘do

With the help of celebrity stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, Jones was able to try out a new ‘do earlier this week by letting her hair go ‘au naturel.’ Sharing that she’s always wanted to try styling her hair to complement its natural form, Jones wasn’t sure how to go about it until she received professional guidance.

“We video chatted and she walked me through what’s known as a ‘twist out,’ a method of twisting hair piece-by-piece,” Jones said of Sturdivant-Drew, according to Today.com. “I found the process of twisting little pieces one at a time a tad tedious, but also therapeutic at the same time. And I have to be honest: When I took out the twists Monday morning, I was really nervous!”

Jones revealed that the entire process moved her in a way she hadn’t expected, realizing that this action was not just about her hair but her whole identity.

“In my head I thought, ‘Is it too curly? Did I do it right?’ ” Jones shared. “I was also a bit emotional because I realized, particularly as an African American woman on network news, it’s not something you see often — and it’s definitely a ‘step’ that is long overdue for me personally.”

The journalist wanted to let her boss know of the coiffing change before going live to millions of viewers. “I felt obligated to call my executive producer before I went on-air — just to let her know that I was a bit nervous — and when we FaceTimed, her eyes lit up,” Jones raved. “She told me she loved it. I took the jump and I’m so glad I did.”

More than just a hairdo for ‘Today’ co-host

After posting a pic of the final product and getting a ton of positive feedback from followers, Jones learned that by letting her hair be in its natural form, she was setting an example for others.

“I did it for myself, but after reading the responses on social media, I also realized that the natural hair movement is much bigger than me,” Jones said. “I’ve heard from so many women and girls who appreciated seeing someone on national TV who has similar hair texture to their own.”

The Today co-host recalled her feelings as a child and how her self-image could have been boosted if she had been able to see someone on television like herself. Now, she’s hoping to be that encouragement for young girls.

“I just looked at a picture of myself when I was a little girl. Wearing my natural hair at 42 years old, I see the same girl in the mirror,” Jones revealed. “It would’ve been kind of cool back then to see someone on the news who had my hair, and I hope I can offer that to little brown girls I may never meet.”

The NBC anchor’s message has less to do with primping and more to do with empowerment.

“We talk to our kids about the power of personal expression. I think it’s important for adults to remember that we, too, can still find ways to express ourselves,” Jones said. “I feel empowered. It’s important to know that we can embrace the way our hair comes out of our head naturally. You are beautiful just as you are. There’s power in that, for sure.”