Waco, TX (FOX 44) — Governor Greg Abbott signed the CROWN Act over the weekend to prohibit the discrimination of hair in public schools and in the workforce.
The CROWN Act is short for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.
Discussions behind this bill started in 2020 after two Black students near Houston were suspended for their dreadlocks and were told they had cut their hair before being allowed to graduate.
Waco hair stylist Shannan Holder says the CROWN Act allows everyone to proudly wear their crown.
Holder has over 10 year of experience as a professional hair stylist and says her natural hair clients have had trouble deciding on how they want to leave the salon.
“I’ve had clients come to me and say, ‘Hey, I can’t wear my hair like this’ or I have people that work at even fast food restaurants say, ‘I can’t wear this color or I can’t wear this. They think that it’s unprofessional,'” said Holder.
A common request Holder gets is to straighten natural curls so it can be professional, neat, and put into a bun.
Holder says these straight looks come at an unfortunate cost to a person’s true identity.
“I can’t really express myself like I want to because it’s either I don’t have a job or they have to choose the job or hair,” said Holder. “You’ve got to choose a livelihood over it,” said Holder.
Waco NAACP president Dr. Peaches Henry says the passage of the CROWN act now allows a change for how everyone can present themselves to the world.
“The Passage of the Crown Act now gives us the opportunity to be able to shine, show our beauty that does not conform to the broader definition of beauty in our society and usher us into new definitions of beauty,” said Dr. Henry.
Texas is now the 21st state in the U.S. to pass this bill.
The CROWN act will go into effect September 1.