In July of 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the CROWN Act into law. This stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It's now illegal in the state of California for employers to discriminate against natural hair. This is why anti-discrimination laws are crucial for natural curls. Naturals face regular hair discrimination from both employers and schools.
Why Anti-Discrimination Laws Are Crucial For Natural Curls
It's 50% more likely that Black women are sent home from work because of their natural hair. This information comes from Dove, one of the biggest supporters of the CROWN Act. Black women have a higher risk of losing wages or employment. Black women are 80% more likely to chemically change their hair to be accepted by peers or employers.
Many hairstyles worn by Black women trace to their African ancestry. For example, braids indicated social status, or which tribe a woman belonged to.
Legislation controlled how Black women wore or adorned their hair in America. Louisiana passed the Tignon Laws. This forced Black women to keep their natural strands covered to avoid attention. Black women adapted. Colorful head scarves adorned with jewels demonstrated individuality.
However, appropriation of Black hairstyles has continued. Celebrities wear traditional Black hairstyles, such as corn rows. However, Black folks face backlash and discrimination for wearing the same styles. For example, Kylie Jenner utilized corn rows for a fashion shoot. She earned praised for her “edgy” fashion sense. She ignored attempts by Black women to discuss this. However, Black women are sent home from work or school for wearing the same styles.
The CROWN Act point out a glaring disparity in American cultures. It's normal for celebrities to appropriate Black culture for personal gain. However, Black women are punished for wearing the same look. This law paved the way for future legislation to protect women from being punished for rocking their natural locks. When laws are passed and awareness grows, there will be more opportunities for natural hair to shine.