Gabrielle Union, Keke Palmer, Uzo Aduba and Marsai Martin are calling for an end to Black hair discrimination. In a PSA put out by Glamour, the actresses recite anonymously submitted hair experiences from 13 Black women across the country.
“I’ve been told it’s too big. When I first started pageants, I was told by many to never let my hair be natural for competition. The first time I walked into the office with my natural hair, my supervisor asked if it was forever,” Union, 47, states. “I am not my hair, but my hair is a part of who I am and it deserves the same respect as the person beneath it. Even though it can take a full day to wash and style, I love everything about my hair.”
“I’ve been told it blocks people’s view. HR told me my hair looked more professional pulled back and in a bun than it did out and curly,” Palmer, 27, recites. “My hair has a purpose greater than myself and I will not put it away to comply with white culture standards of beauty. Fun fact — whether my hair is in a fro, braids, twists, locks or a high puff, I am still the doctor.”
Martin, 16, recites experiences including being told “there is too much” hair, being “mocked and ridiculed for the frizzy coils that escape my tightly wound bun,” and having strangers “walk up and pet me.” Additionally, the teen reads experiences including a child having her hair cut by her teacher “because her beads were making too much noise,” and other children who have been “humiliated” at school for their hair.
Meanwhile, Aduba, 39, reads off experiences including one woman being asked if her hair was “real,” another receiving the comment that her dreadlocks were “nice and clean,” and a third who “boldly and proudly” wears her hair because “it is the crown that makes me unique.”
After reading the experiences from the anonymous women, Union reveals that there’s a state-level legislation that prohibits race-based hair discrimination in workplaces and schools titled The Crown (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act.
The Crown Act was conceptualized because, based on studies cited in the PSA, Black women are 83 percent more likely to report being judged more harshly on their looks than other women at work and are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work simply because of their hair. So far it’s passed in seven states.
“That number should be 50,” Union says. “This isn’t just a hair issue. Hair discrimination is racial discrimination. Period. Together, we can make our schools and workplaces safer and equal for all.”
“If every state were to pass The Crown Act, Black people would be legally protected from hair discrimination,” Martin explains.
“Meaning the law would allow us to wear our hair in any way we so choose without consequence,” Aduba adds.
“You have the power to make that happen,” Palmer insists.
You can sign The Crown Act petition here.
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