Politics of Hair
Whether in locs, a curly fringe, or silk pressed to the gods, natural Black hair is perceived as a political statement. As a result, white America has heavily policed our beautiful coils, curls, and waves.
Here are the facts: According to a Dove CROWN Research Study for Girls (2021), one in two Black girls will experience hair discrimination by age five, and Black women are more likely to be sent home from workplaces that have adopted grooming policies rooted in Eurocentric and racist standards.
Furthermore, young Black men, like New Jersey teen Andrew Johnson, have been forced to change their natural style to participate freely in school, and Black men are constantly racially profiled as criminals for wearing natural styles. What’s particularly unfair is that hair discrimination occurs while the business of Black hair has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry, which some white people own or operate.
In the United States, most legislatures do not offer protections against these injustices, but Dove has stepped in to help drive change.
As a co-founding member of The CROWN Coalition, created and driven by a team of Black women leaders in partnership with several organizations and individuals, Dove is actively supporting the advancement of The CROWN Act. In 2019, Senator Holly J. Mitchell was the first to introduce The CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) in California, the first state to sign the bill into law, which prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and style.
To date, the bill has passed in 20 states and 44 municipalities, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Maryland, and more. The CROWN Coalition will not stop there. Members will continue to fight until there is an end to the discrimination against Black people's hair and the styles in which we choose to wear it.
Watch the latest episode of BET’s INDEX to find out more about the politics of Black hair and what you can do to help keep our crowns safe.