Glamour’s September issue is dedicated to hair and they asked Gabrielle Union, Keke Palmer, Marsai Martin, and Uzo Aduba—to amplify the stories of women from around the country who face hair discrimination.
With the CROWN Act in the balance hair discrimination is a pretty popular topic specifically for black women.
I was told once by a professional hairstylist that my hair was “wild” and “unmanageable.” I was getting my hair done before an event as Miss Long Island and felt offended.
I mean, I was paying this person over $100.
If you’re a Black woman in America, you probably have your own “I’ve been told” story. We’ve been told our hair is messy, unprofessional, impossible.
We’ve been told it’s too big, there’s too much, and that it needs to be controlled.
And when those biases creep into the boardrooms of corporate America or into the language of grooming policies for workers or schools, the effects can be detrimental.
It’s something nearly every Black woman in America knows to be true: We’re often being judged on more than our skills and performance.
In fact, Black women are 83% more likely to report being judged more harshly on her looks than other women.
And it’s not just all in our head: Research has found that Black women with natural hairstyles were deemed as less professional and that we’re one and a half times likely to be sent home from work because of our hair.
But it’s time to face an inconvenient truth: This isn’t just about hair—it’s about racial discrimination disguised as grooming policies.
That’s why the Crown (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act is essential legislation.
Currently, the law has been passed in seven states—California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington—making it illegal to discriminate against someone for wearing their hair natural or in protective styles like braids, twists, knots, or locs. That number should be 50.
As part of Glamour’s “Our Hair” Issue, we worked with the Crown Coalition, a group of organizations dedicated to the advancement of antidiscrimination legislation across the United States, to ask women around the country to anonymously share their experiences with hair discrimination.
From there, we asked an unmatched group of advocates—Gabrielle Union, Keke Palmer, Marsai Martin, and Uzo Aduba—who are passionate about ending hair discrimination to use their platforms to amplify those voices.
Black women shouldn’t have to worry if our locs are against the dress code or if our box braids are too “urban.”
We should feel empowered to wear our hair straight, in a ’fro or shaven, if that’s what makes us feel most beautiful or most ourselves.
And most important, we should feel confident that at work we’re being judged like everyone else: on our performance.
Watch our PSA “I’ve Been Told…” below.
Read Glamour’s full cover story here.