Category Archives: Natural Hair News

War on Wearing Locs? Marc Jacobs and U.S. Federal Appeals Court Say, “No”

It’s been one heck of a week for dreadlocks, and all who love and wear the style. Thursday, fashion designer Marc Jacobs fought criticism on social media for having white models rock colorful faux locs in his NYFW Spring ‘17 show. Then Friday, the 11th U.S. Appeals Court caught flack for ruling that employers can now legally ban employees from wearing locs.

These instances aren’t the first of their kind. Debates spur over who can wear dreadlocks, and whether they and other natural hairstyles are professional.  In recently years, women have been fired for wearing them. The U.S. Army has a ban against them. A little girl was expelled for wearing her locs. A natural hair expo even canceled a blogger’s appearance due to locs.

White Women Wearing Locs: Appropriation or Creative Expression?

White Models Wearing Locs

Source: Marc Jacobs Instagram

Marc Jacobs, in a now-deleted Instagram post, argues that his display of majority white models donning brightly-hued, freer-formed faux locs is not cultural appropriation. Why? Because “women of color [straighten] their hair”. He neglects the fact many black women straighten their hair as an act of assimilation to fit Eurocentric beauty standards. We avoid the ridicule or discrimination of embracing textured tresses.

Hairstory-Aziz B | Locs

Black women and girls who wear natural styles face harsh consequences. We lose job offers, as is the case of Chastity Jones. We can’t appropriate straight styles because to do so would be to separate them from their “originators”. Instead, when Jacobs cites non-black inspirations for an obviously Afrocentric ‘do, he erases its connection to an entire group. It’s no secret black models experience underrepresentation in the fashion industry. White models wearing locs further serves to keep us away.

Then there’s the issue with the U.S. federal appeals court.

Dreadlocks Legally Banned from the Workplace

Like appropriation, racial discrimination aims to erase an entire people from certain spaces. In the suit against Catastrophe Management Solutions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that “dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.” Thus, banning the style is race-based discrimination.

A black women named Chastity Jones, who was getting ready to start a job with Catastrophe Management Solutions in Mobile, Alabama, in 2010, claimed that the company discriminated against her because of her locs. Jones said that a white human resources manager told her that her locs were against company policy since they “tend to get messy.” After Jones refused to change her hairstyle, she claims her offer was withdrawn, and she complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

The commission filed a lawsuit on Jones’ behalf in 2013, stating that withdrawing her contract based on her hairstyle is racial discrimination because “dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.” The EEOC argued that race is a social construct not solely defined by traits that can’t be changed. It also asserted that the “hairstyle can be a determinant of racial identity.”

However, according to Atlanta Black Star, “While federal law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of immutable traits like race or national origin, these traits do not encompass cultural hairstyles like dreads.”

Using this logic, Judge Adalberto Jordan dismissed the discrimination case brought by the EEOC on behalf of Chastity Jones. Then, in a written statement Judge Jordan explains,

“We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that, in the last several decades, there have been some calls for courts to interpret Title VII more expansively by eliminating the biological conception of ‘race’ and encompassing cultural characteristics associated with race.”

A spokeswoman for the EEOC told the Wall Street Journal after the ruling that they believe the court made the wrong decision.

“We believe the court was incorrect when it held that the employer’s actions could not be proven to be race discrimination,” she said. “ We are reviewing our options.”

Despite the court’s ruling, black men and women are still being reprimanded in workplaces and classrooms across the country (and world) for wearing hairstyles unique to their culture.

Society, often times, views what’s acceptable for black hair through a white lens so braids, locs and afros can be deemed “unkempt.”

Do you think the judge’s decision was fair? Is there a war on wearing locs?

Does Going Natural to Save Money Ultimately Damage Your Hair?

Joining the Natural Hair Movement to Save Money Leads to Damaged Hair?I recently came across an article on BGLH regarding a veteran natural stylist’s concerns with the natural hair movement’s effect on hair salons.  The article has since been removed, however, I found what appeared to be the original article on atlantablackstar.com.  Reading it again, I understood some of the stylist’s concerns, but disagreed with some of the other commentary surrounding her input.  

One statement the stylist made really stood out to me that left me with a couple of questions.  Are people joining the natural hair movement to save money? Will this effort to save money damage their hair in the long run?  

The stylist in the Atlanta Black Star’s article entitled, “Did Natural Hair Kill the Black Hair Salon?” is celebrity stylist and natural hair guru, Diane Da Costa.  According to Da Costa the recent natural hair movement has directly affected her salon’s sales. She states, in the article, “My sales are nowhere near what they should be based on who I am and the expertise I have.”

Da Costa believes money is the issue. “The bottom line is they want to save money.”  Her concern is that in attempting to save money, clients will pay the price for it in the long run.  “When you do low-price point, the products are inferior. You’re going to get what you pay for and over time, your hair is going to get damaged,” Da Costa says.  Unfortunately, this is where I have to respectfully disagree.  

The generalization that low price points directly correlate to inferior products or lead to damaged hair is unfortunate misinformation.  I believe the natural hair community can name off many natural bloggers and vloggers who use inexpensive or ‘cheap’ products and have gorgeous healthy hair.  Although there are some real cruddy, ‘I-have-no-idea-why-anyone-would-create-this’ products out there, many products like V05, Aussie, Herbal Essences, even Shea Moisture have proven quite helpful and beneficial for many naturals.  Truth be told, my hair didn’t benefit any greater from a $30 jar of conditioner vs. a $3 bottle of cheapie conditioner.  Oh no sis, you read correctly, I said $30. Don’t get it twisted. Natural hair care doesn’t have to be expensive.

Joining the Natural Hair Movement to Save Money Leads to Damaged Hair?

I also believe that a contributing factor is sky high salon prices for basic services.  My last professional relaxer (not the texturizer) back in 2007 cost me 80 smackers….for shoulder length hair.  That alone led me to proceed to the nearest Walgreens and grab the $5 ‘box perm’, much to the chagrin of some of my stylist friends.  And you know what?  I cared for my hair just fine and it grew to a happy, healthy mid-back length.  The fact that local salons charge upwards of $40 for a wash/condition/set certainly can set a strain on many pocketbooks.  Contrary to popular belief, not everybody wants to break the bank for hair care.  

Another reason shops tend to lose with naturals (and some relaxed ladies too) is the whole overbooking process.  Forgive me for coming across as anal, but I have quite a bit of other things I need to accomplish in a day.  Sitting in a salon for hours before you even get to my head simply is not an option for me anymore.  Sure I can bring a book, or a magazine, or browse the web from my phone, but I can also do that…at home.  If my appointment is at 8 am, I’m quite peeved if you don’t get to my head until noon.  Maybe that’s just me.

I thank God for YouTubers and bloggers who decided to say, “Hey, I’m doing it myself and my hair is healthy.  You can do it too!  Let me share with you everything I’ve learned about my hair so far.  It may help you as well.”  I’m thankful for that.  Because if my natural hair care was confined to the salons, we’d be eating Ramen Noodles every night….or I’d have to shave my head…NOT.  I believe we ladies (and gents) should know by now that there is a ton of misinformation on the web regarding hair care.  We know we need to do our due diligence in researching everything, right?  I certainly hope so…for your scalp’s sake! Lol.

Clearly taking pictures of patron’s tips and posting them on social media doesn’t quite help convince naturals to come back to salons either, eh? Meh, what do I know?  I’m just a natural hair blogger, saving money and growing happy, healthy hair! *HUGE Smile*

Are a majority of people going natural to save money?  Do you risk damaging your hair in the long run by avoiding salons for your natural hair care?

Hair braider Sues in Federal Court for Right to Teach & Wins

ISIS-BRANTLEY copy

Isis Brantley has been fighting against the state of Texas over her right to braid and service natural hair for over 20 years. She was arrested and dragged from her braiding salon and school, the Institute of Ancestral Braiding, in 1997 by seven undercover police officers. Her salon was full with customers. Her offense was braiding hair without a cosmetology license. But, this wasn’t Isis’ first time butting heads with the law- she had received a citation two years prior for the same ‘offense’.

The state of Texas required anyone that’s braiding hair in a salon to comply with the state’s barber college regulations, which included learning skills such as nail manicuring, barbering, and performing chemical hair services. None of which Isis planned to practice in her profession as a natural hair stylist. In fact, very few cosmetology programs even had a curriculum that including hair braiding, as most were self-taught or learned from other hair braiders.

The provisions for obtaining the license in Texas would require over 2,000 hours of classroom instruction, thousands of dollars in tuition and the ability to pass several exams. Due to Occupational Licensure, which is said to protect consumers and ensure quality practices, many hair braiders found themselves facing jail time or huge fines if they did not comply with the state’s requirements.

Texas is among 24 states that require those that braid natural hair to obtain more classroom training and instructional hours than Emergency Medical Practitioners. Hair braiders would be required to obtain up to 2,100 hours of training where emergency responders were only required to earn an average of 140 hours of training. Additionally, the cost of tuition, books, and other coursework materials for hair braiders could range anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000.

Video courtesy of the Institute for Justice

In 2007, Isis was granted permission by the state to operate as a professional hair braider. After all, she had decades of training under her belt and had been teaching others the art of natural hair braiding since the early 80s. Instead, the state created a separate 35-hour hair braiding certificate, which Isis received a waiver for the mandatory classroom training time.

Her victory was short-lived when the state advised that she did not meet the requirements to teach others to braid hair and would no longer be able to operate her braiding school. In some states, such as Mississippi and Kansas, hair braiders are only required to study a brochure on infection control and test themselves.

The state would only allow Isis to teach hair braiding if she expanded the Institute of Ancestral Braiding school to a minimum of 2,000 feet. As if that weren’t enough, she would also have to purchase and install ten reclining barber chairs and five sinks- none of which Isis had ever planned to use in her practice.  What’s contradictory about the regulation is that the state makes it illegal for hair braiders to provide any service that requires using a sink.

In the state of Texas, several hair braiders endured the same penalties as Isis and were arrested and even jailed for their lack of proper licensure. And the notoriety of these cases gained national attention. Several states have even lessened their requirements for natural hair braiders by eliminating laws that require exhaustive and extensive training hours.

On October 1, 2013, the Institute for Justice, who successfully helped another African hair braider file suit against Utah, joined Isis in filing a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas. The lawsuit proved triumphant when U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks ruled in favor of Isis’ case stating that attempts to force hair braiders to comply with state barber college regulations were “irrational” and “failed to pass constitutional muster”.

“This lawsuit means economic liberty for my community. This is our new Civil Rights movement,” says Isis to Forbes magazine.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation was expected to give some push-back on the issue but announced instead that they also wanted to, “remove unnecessary regulatory burdens for Texas businesses and entrepreneurs, which include all statewide requirements for hair braiders.”

Now, Isis and many other women can make an honest living while practicing a craft they have known all their lives.

Reference: http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2015/01/29/hair-braiding-and-occupational-licensing/

CWK Straight Plates: Not a Scam

CWK Straight Plates Not a ScamEarlier this month, due to the abrupt stop in production and shipping of CWK Straight Plates, some have call the Kickstarter campaign that raise 4x times its goal, A Scam. Black Girl Long Hair recently described some of the sketchiness of the campaign after it was time to fulfill pledge gifts.  I will admit that if I were a finacial backer, it did seem a little fishy.  The lack of transparency and communication on the part of CWK Straight Plates developer, Kelechi Bradley also did not help put the rumors and speculation to rest.

I received tCWK No-Heat Straight Platehis email from Krystal James, Brand Manager of CWK Girls, LLC explaining the situation that lead to the company refunding thousands of dollars to its 529 backers and temporarily stopping production of all CWK Straight Plate products.

The CWK Girls brand is widely known for the CWK Straight Plates, a tool that was designed to straighten natural hair without the use of direct heat. Developer Kelechi Bradley started a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $24,000 and garnered over five hundred backers. Overnight Kelechi and the CWK Girls team were thrust into the natural hair community and thousands of followers instantly had a front row seat to witness every step and misstep that our team made as we navigated the development process.

Over the course of six months, we completed the product renderings, packaging, and several rounds of testing. Just weeks before the CWK Girls team was set to begin the mass production of the product an unknown source came forward claiming that they too had a patent for an almost identical product. Our attorney has been working diligently to investigating the claim; however, due to the nature of patents and the time frame of the filling our attorney cannot yet confirm nor deny the claim. We have tried to initiate further contact with the alleged owner of the patent, but our emails have gone unanswered.

Taking the advice of the CWK Girls attorney, Kelechi temporarily halted the production the Straight Plates and has decided to fully refund all 529 backers. Ultimately, our team did not believe that it was fair for our backers to wait an uncertain amount of time while the issue is being sorted. To add to the matter, our attorney also initially advised Kelechi not to conduct any interviews due the sensitive nature of the claim. This silence caused some backlash from the natural hair bloggers and forums. All of the reports that have been published are untrue and based solely on speculation. Kelechi and the CWK Girls team has been working day and night to remain in good standing with our investors and protect the CWK Girls brand. Over two hundred refunds have been initiated.

I have been given the opportunity to interview CWK Girls Developer, Kelechi Bradley. If you have any questions you would like me to ask leave them in the comments section below.

Army Bans Natural Hairstyles-2

Army Bans Various Natural Hairstyles

Army Bans Natural Hairstyles

Twists, dreadlocks (locs), Afros and braids seem to be the target of discrimination once again.  We saw a similar list of ban or unauthorized hairstyles by an elementary school last year which labeled these styles largely wore by natural African American woman as fadish.  This time the ban is from the US Army.

SEE ALSO: Former and Current Military Members Support List of Army’s Unauthorized Hairstyles Saying It Not Discriminatory But Necessary

As a woman with natural hair, I’m starting to take this personally.  Many of these styles are key to the maintenance of our naturally textured and fragile hair. But you can read the details of this unofficial suggestion of changes to the Army’s Grooming Guidelines below:

According to America Aljazeera, The U.S. Army is coming under fire for changes to its appearance and grooming standards, which some say discriminates against black women who wear their hair natural.

Army Regulation 670-1 has not been published or made official yet, but the new rules were detailed in a PowerPoint presentation that was leaked on March 20. Among the grooming regulations are updated restrictions on how women soldiers can wear their hair. An example from the Army’s PowerPoint is shown below:

Army Bans Natural Hairstyles-2

Within and outside of the Army, women of color have been calling the guidelines racially biased. A White House petition has amassed more than 3,000 signatures to date requesting that the Army reconsider.

Tweet: Reconsider changes to AR 670-1 to allow professional ethnic hairstyles. http://ctt.ec/WPNub+ via @naturalhairrule

Jamie Loves Her Natural Hair

Jamie Loves Her Natural Hair Children’s Book Project

After hearing way too many stories of children being told by their schools that their hair is “inappropriate” or “unacceptable” I decided to create a children’s book that would teach children of color, they are beautiful just the way they are.

Jamie Loves Her Natural HairIf you remember the story of Vanessa Vandyke, she seemed to have confidence in her hair even though most of those around her were not so fond of it. In fact, the very reason the school officials asked that she cut her hair was based upon her being bullied and teased about her hair. She said her hair makes her different it made her unique. She embraced the uniqueness of her hair. I found this to be very admirable as many girls don’t have this  level of confidence at such a young age.

Another motivating fact is the lack of diverse children’s characters. I don’t have kids yet but my friends and relatives do.  When buying gifts I was frustrated by the lack of characters representation.

My little cousin loves anything about princesses. Stores tons of princess stuff alright but it lacked faces of color; which I found troubling. Sometimes my little cousin asks why her hair is different from the other girls in her dance class. Thankfully, she has a great mom that tell her, her hair is beautiful. But she still needs more images in children stories and cartoons to reinforce this.

Why not create something that would teach kids that kinks are cool!

Jamie Loves Her Natural Hair Children's Book

Jamie Loves Her Natural Hair is the story of a girl that realizes her hair is not mainstream but she embraces and loves her hair regardless. She knows her hair doesn’t look like her classmates, her teachers, or even her favorite TV stars and that’s ok.  She doesn’t view this as a bad thing.

What I love about this project and what differentiates it from others in its niche is the positivity that radiates from the character. At no point does she view her hair as unruly or hard to manage. She takes everything in stride and accepts her hair for what it is.

Jamie Loves Her Natural Hair Swimming Pool Scene

This is a book with an important message and value; teaching our children the beauty of self love. We need more art and literature that sends children of color this message.

I have started a kickstarter project to help cover the printing costs for this book @ http://kck.st/1iHroOh. It only takes a $1 to donate and if you donate as much as $5 you will receive a copy of the book. There are also other neat prizes for those who donate more!  I hope that you can join me in my endeavors to print this message and share it with the world.

Sincerely,

Ariane Roberts

Cut Your Locs or Get Fired? | Ashely Davis, 24-year-old was given an ultimatum from her job at Tower Loan: cut your dreadlocks or look for other employment.

Cut Your Locs or Get Fired?

On the heels of reports that a Baltimore woman lost her job because of her blonde highlights comes another story about a 24-year-old woman who has been ordered to cut her dreadlocks or be fired.

Ashley Davis, of St. Peters, Mo., told Fox 2 St. Louis that a change in policy at the finance company where she works as a secretary now requires her to cut off her dreadlocks. The change comes after she reportedly was sporting the style when she was hired almost two months ago, she said.

“I’ve only been there for two months, and they came up with a policy. I feel like it’s degrading,” she said. Davis has been growing the style for 10 years.

Fox 2 St. Louis reports that the change in policy occurred Sept. 21. The policy says, “dreadlocks, braids, mohawks, mullets and other hairstyles are against company guidelines.” She has until Friday to change her hair.

Read About Meteorologist Rhonda Lee Fired For Defending Natural Hair, Talks Regrets

The company told Fox in a written statement that it does not comment on ongoing personnel matters.

This is the second time in almost as many days that an African-American woman has stepped forward saying that an employer has complained about her hair. Farryn Johnson of Baltimore said that she was fired from Hooters because of an “improper image” after she put blonde streaks in her hair.

“My dreads I love them and I’m going to keep them. My hair is a part of me and it makes me the professional and bubbly person I am,” Davis told Fox.

Read more at Fox 2 St. Louis. http://fox2now.com/2013/10/21/company-wants-woman-to-cut-her-dreadlocks-off/