Have you heard about the CROWN Coalition, the organization which campaigned for the CROWN Act? It saddens me that there is a need for such an organization, but I am so very glad this organization exists. The CROWN Coalition believes that natural hairstyles should be celebrated, not discouraged. The acronym CROWN is for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair. More information can be found on their website at www.thecrownact.com. According to their website, the CROWN Act was created in 2019 to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools.
Believe it or not but only seven states ensure protection from discrimination for a sister to wear her hair in its natural state. The Crown Act coalition has put together a petition that can be found on their website for you to sign. Sign the petition to shatter racial hair discrimination and to urge legislators to vote yes for the Crown Act.
I recently learned of the Crown Act and quickly signed the petition. Fortunately, one of the states that have passed the Act is Virginia. Now, I’ve been wearing my hair in its natural state for 20 years. All this time I had no legal protection against discrimination in the workplace all because I choose to wear my hair in its natural state. See how ridiculous that sounds. Luckily, I’ve never had any employee tell me to change my hair. I understand that many other sisters have. The only push back I received was actually from family members who were concerned I may have fallen on hard times. One asked me “is it because of money?” I lovingly laughed and replied, “no, it’s a choice”.
I love my hair! I have always loved my natural hair. My journey to natural hair was very uneventful. I didn’t have any aha moment or any life changing spiritual moments. I simply made the decision to never perm my hair again after I found out I was pregnant. The less toxins I put in my body while I was pregnant was better for me and my child. I must admit that back when I went natural there were few of us wearing our natural hair and there weren’t many products available back then. I had quite a time taming my, what I have now come to know as, 4c hair.
I must admit that wearing my hair in its natural state does provide a freedom that I didn’t have when I wore a perm. The biggest freedom is being able to work out hard and not have to worry about my hair. Wearing my natural hair is less expensive, at least for me. It has been reported that black women spend much more on their hair than their white counterparts. When I had a perm, I was certainly in that number. Natural hair is so versatile. You can wear it straight, in twists, or in its natural state to name just a few styles. Luckily, this generation of young black women freely wear their hair natural; it doesn’t seem to be an issue at all for them. Because of these young sisters, known as Naturalistas, we are making impressive strides naturally.
In the words of Tabitha Brown, “it’s your business” how you choose to wear your hair. Unfortunately, and unfairly like many other injustices we face daily we have to fight to not be chastised for this choice in many states. I encourage you to sign the Crown Act petition. Also, be on the lookout for a future podcast where a guest discusses her natural hair journey as part of our conversation.