Alana Jollevet, Staff Writer

After years of hair discrimination in workplaces, California becomes the first state to follow an act that gets rid of hair discrimination. The Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair, also known as the CROWN Act became a law on the 3rd of July, 2019, and has been in effect since January 1, 2020. The purpose of this act is to prevent protect discrimination against hairstyles worn by Black  Americans’ such as dreadlocks, braids, and Afros, in the workplace and schools.  


For the longest time, Black Americans faced discrimination in school and the workforce because of their natural hair. Natural hair was often seen as ‘unprofessional’. According to the American Bar Association, studies show that Black American women are most likely to be sent home from their workplace because of how their hair is. They also give prime examples of how hair discrimination not only happens at work but also in schools. Stories of how four black students, all from different school districts, had gotten detention or expelled/suspended because of having braids and dreadlocks. Earlier last year, two cousins were suspended from their school because of their dreadlocks, and one of them was almost excluded from his prom and graduation as well. The idea of natural hair being ‘unprofessional’ stemmed from anti-black hair sentiment from the 1700s when kinky hair was associate with Africans, which was against Eurocentric beauty ideals. In many states, especially in the south, Black American women have been covering or straightening their hair to appeal to European beauty standards and laws such as the Tignon Laws and dress codes that helped influence how black hair was treated in society. It wasn’t until the 60s and 70s when the civil rights and pro-black movements began to grow, and more Black Americans started to accept their natural hair and celebrate it. However, that definitely did not stop intolerance of natural hair in the workplace and most importantly society. The CROWN Coalition, which created this act, is now declaring July 3 to be National CROWN day, otherwise known as Black Hair Independence Day. Which, according to Glamour, will be ” a day of solidarity for the human rights of Black men, woman, and children to wear their hair boldly and proudly without fear.” 


California’s CROWN Act went into effect in January 2020. So far California has been the first state to enact this law after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the act and as of now, two other states have been on the discussion of including the CROWN Act. This act has been signed into law in New York, and New Jersey, while in Maryland the act was passed and Virginia has banned hair discrimination. States such as Washington and Colorado have also passed a bill to stop hair discrimination. Now that the CROWN Act has been passed by the House of Representatives, all that is left is approval from the senate and the president to make this law active in all 50 states. The CROWN Act is on its way to becoming a federal law and hopefully, more states will soon follow the CROWN Act.