Crazy Hair Discrimination Moments that Prove We Need the CROWN Act
Curlfriends...it’s been a long time coming.
As much as we wished that the curly road to the CROWN Act was an easy breezy one, that’s far from the truth.
Honestly? It’s been chaotic, crushing, and during some points, completely ridiculous.
Hair discrimination has always played a role in our Black hair history. Here are a few monumental cases:
EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions
Chasity C. Jones was ready to start her new job as a customer service representative off on the right curl. Instead, her employer rescinded her offer after she refused to cut her locs.
Jenkins v. Blue Cross Mutual Hospital Insurance
Beverly Jenkins was rocking her fro, loud and proud, when her employer, Blue Cross Mutual Hospital Insurance, had the nerve to tell her that her natural hair was “inappropriate.”
Jenkins took this case to court and actually won (which resulted in a win for curls everywhere!), but even still...that’s crazy.
Here’s an even crazier fact: cases like these are still happening. Yes, in 2021!
The worst part? They’re happening to the kiddos.
We’re sure you’ve heard of these disappointing stories:
In New Jersey, an 16-year-old boy was forced to have his natural locs cut right before a wrestling match. The referee had deemed his hairstyle as "unnatural". (December 2018)
In Louisiana, an 11-year-old girl was told not to come back to school after arriving in box braids, being told that hair extensions were deemed unacceptable in a new school policy. (August 2018)
A 4-year-old boy was forced to take down his braids at his school on Chicago’s West Side. His hairstyle was reportedly “a violation of school policy.” (March 2021)
The last case especially hits close to home for us. As a Chicago-based hair company, our heart aches at the thought of a child being punished for his natural hair in our city.
These instances tell a tale as old as time. They have only proved this important point to be true:
Hair discrimination needs to be banished.
We’ve seen how hair discrimination affects the livelihoods of our Black hair community. Women have literally lost out on jobs, promotions, and related opportunities due to their natural hairstyles.
We’re now witnessing the livelihoods of Black children being negatively affected due to their natural hair and Black-specific hairstyles.
There are so many devastating effects that can occur to kiddos from hair discrimination, such as:
- Lack of education
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of self-love for their natural hair
This is why it’s so important that the CROWN Act (approaching its second anniversary) is up and running to protect curls, kinks, and coils everywhere against hair discrimination.
Black hair has come sooooo far, and we still have a long way to go. But by celebrating and supporting the CROWN Act, the road will be a lot smoother.
As a Black-owned company that especially supports Black hair, we’re definitely inspired to continue to grow and set a new standard for embracing and cherishing healthy curls everywhere.
Have you ever experienced an issue with hair discrimination? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!
When I was in high school in the late sixties, my mom would not let me wear my natural hair because she fear I would face discrimination and be perceived as an Angela Davis militant with my light skin. When I went to college, I washed my hair and wore my huge Afro with pride. I had white woman professor call me in class Angela Davison although my name is Audrey. In this class another sister, who also wore her hair natural, and I were the only Blacks in the class. One day when the professor was out of the class, we approached her desk curious because she had left her grade book open. We saw a B beside our names and at first we were confused thinking it was our, but no other classmate had a letter by their name. We immediately realized she was singling us out for our race. I believe this was used to discriminate against us in her grading process. This was in the 1970’s and the discrimination has continued and even escalated.
Over the years I have witnessed negative comments about natural hair styles. From the early Afro wearing proud Brothers and Sisters, to the Braids and Locs of today’s proud Brothers and Sisters of all ages! I love all styles of hair choices…be they straight kinky, curly, braided or loc’d. Unless the hair is dirty, there is no reason it should negatively impact our daily life, ever!
I wear my natural silver hair straight and curly, long, short or shaved, depending on the chapter of my life. No one should dictate how we celebrate our hair, including our own “family”.
It is important that we continue the fight for equally everywhere. We must not let any dictate our Narrative. The story is simple we are American Africans, not African Americans we have the right to just embrace our coils curls, or kinks any way we desire it is our natural-born right. My crown is beautiful. Author Michelle C.
Hello my name is Ida Nelson, I and the mother of the 4 year old child that is referenced in the beautiful and timely article above. I would love to connect with you to discuss an event I’m hosting on June 27th called Crowning our Kinks and Curls to celebrate the passing of Senate Bill 817, which takes our children’s hair out the handbooks of ALL institutions in Illinois and to also share my work towards getting the CROWN act passed in our state.
back in the early 90s, I worked for a certain prestigious five-star hotel company as a concierge. In full uniform, and always neat and tidy! I was reprimanded for having long full curly hair… “too ethnic” they said.
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