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  • Writer's pictureJosephine

Critiques of My Crown

In 2019, the CROWN Act was created and introduced in California by the CROWN Coalition, including the well-known brand, Dove. CROWN, which stands for ‟Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” protects people from being discriminated against in the workplace and schools for their “race-based” hairstyles. More simply put, this act has the sole purpose of making our nation live up to the ideals written by our founding fathers that promise us one thing in particular: freedom of expression.

In the Black community specifically, the way we wear our hair empowers us. It symbolizes not only how we feel, but also who we are on the inside. Let me prove it to you; dating back to slavery, women wore cornrows to hide maps and messages for one another undetectably to escape from their oppressors. In Africa, braiding styles were used to distinguish between tribes and to determine a person's rank or status within a community.

With that being said, hair should not be something that gets you fired from a workplace or suspended from school. Instead, hair should be celebrated and valued. It should be a unique form of expression that varies from person to person.

Growing up as a Black girl with kinky hair that at times seemed unmanageable, I always desired to have locs. Yes locs, not dreadlocks, because they are in no way "dreadful."

Hearing “I Am Not My Hair” by India Arie and seeing my cousins and teachers wear their beautiful locs reaching down to their hips with dignity and confidence, I was reassured that I too wanted to be a member of the “loc community” and start the long process of locing my hair.

Although I received a bit of pushback from my father who for some reason “did not like dreads,” I decided to loc my hair after graduating from high school in June of 2019.

So much ran through my mind while sitting in the salon chair to start my loc journey. I thought about my father, hair discrimination in the workplace, how “dreadful” people perceive locs to be, and the anglicized standard of beauty shown in the media. I thought about everything!

Despite these thoughts, I chose to wear my locs proudly and use it to show my love for my people and further my love for myself. To allow the judgments and opinions of society to stop me from locing my hair was not something I was going to allow.

In 2020, the way we wear our hair, especially as people of color, needs to be accepted. It should never be yet another handicap for minorities in America. As films such as “Hair Love are produced and laws like the CROWN Act are put in place, the conversations about hair will continue to shift from being about professionalism to individualism.

Love your hair, wear it unapologetically, and oh yeah, don’t let just anybody touch it!

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