Through our brand, we celebrate and embrace black culture and natural hair of all styles, shapes, and textures because we recognize the natural hair discrimination that black girls and black women face every single day in the school system and in the workplace. For this reason, we wanted to shed light on the Crown Act.
Far too often, women who work in corporate America or in predominantly white spaces have been forced to straighten their hair with the threat of being fired from their jobs looming over their heads. Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of the style of their hair.
It's unfortunate that even in 2021, natural hair styles for black women and natural hair styles for black girls are discriminated against and processed hair is pushed on them, when they simply just want to live in their true essence and celebrate and rock the God-given natural tresses that grow from their roots.
These conscious and unconscious biases are what made black women take a stand to move towards dismantling a culture of discrimination, implicit pressures, and unwelcome comments. "Don't touch my hair" is a saying that originated amongst black women, resulting in their shared experiences with white colleagues' fascination to dare reach out their curious hands to touch black women's hair.
What Is Natural Hair Discrimination?
The topic of natural hair freedom has garnered attention from former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg who attended the Essence Fest and stated, "Hair discrimination is racial discrimination, and we ought to recognize that at the national level, too". In the freest country in the world, black women are held hostage by what society deems as presentable and acceptable. What's not acceptable is our white counterparts dictating how we wear our hair, when they don't have a clue of the history and deeply rooted origins of our various natural hair styles. Black hair tells a story of our heritage, it speaks to our strength and resilience, and it dictates the trends of today. Our various hair styles are a way that we embrace our identity. From our bantu knots to our cornrows and even to our slicked down baby hairs, each style tells a story of expression and holds a special symbolic meaning. The meaningful movement by the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s showcased women wearing iconic "picked out fros" and wearing the confidence and pride to boldly defy the norms of beauty and acceptability.
Why is the Crown Act important?
Although the journey of black hair freedom and liberation is far from over, black women are finding their inner confidence to break all the rules and chase the pursuit of happiness to unapologetically wear their crowns exactly how they please. In 2019, California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell partnered with the Crown Act Coalition, Dove, and other various organizations to create the Crown Act. July 3, 2019 was the inaugural day that the Crown Act was set into motion to mobilize the nation to "Create a Respectful and Open World For Natural Hair". When asked about her reason for drafting the Crown Act legislation, Senator Holly J. Mitchell who wears her hair in locs stated, "It's not just about hair. It's about choice and about people being empowered to be who they are culturally in the workplace."
As of 2021, National Crown Day is recognized on July 3rd to celebrate the groundbreaking legislative effort and to continue to bring awareness to the topic of the human right of black women, black men, and black children to wear their natural hair boldly and proudly, without the fear of being discriminated against. As of today, only 13 of 50 states have passed the Crown Act bill and made it against the law to discriminate against race-based hairstyles. This means that 37 states can: deny black children entry into their schools, deny black women the opportunities of professional advancement, or even fire black women from their job simply because of their hairstyle. A prime example is Brittany Noble Jones, a former news anchor here in Mississippi who alleged that she was dismissed from her job because of her decision to come into work with a natural hairstyle. Noble Jones stated that her news director's exact comment was that her natural hair was unprofessional and was equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store. Let those words sink in for a moment.
This is not ok.
What Can You Do To Support The Crown Act?
The hashtag, pass the crown is utilized by many to urge the remaining 37 states to take a stand in protecting black women in the workplace and black girls from natural hair discrimination in schools. The bill was reintroduced in March of 2021 by U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman and in the Senate by Senator Cory Booker.
There is still a long way to go to end black hair discrimination altogether across the board. You can get involved in the movement of making hair discrimination illegal by sending an email to your local representative and encouraging them to support The Crown Act. To learn more and sign the petition, visit thecrownact.com.