Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair

Together with the CROWN Coalition, LDF is fighting to end hair discrimination and advocating for the CROWN Act to become law in all 50 states.

The impact of hair discrimination cannot be overstated. Schools and workplaces across the country often have dress codes and grooming policies in place prohibiting natural hairstyles, like afros, braids, bantu knots, and locs. These policies that criminalize natural hair have been used to justify the removal of Black children from classrooms, and adults from their employment.

Hair discrimination is an undue burden that polices Black identity and upholds white supremacy. With no nationwide legal protections against hair discrimination, Black people are often left to risk facing consequences at school or work for their natural hair or invest time and money to conform to Eurocentric professionalism and beauty standards.

The CROWN Act would change that. The legislation demands protection against race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools based on hair texture and protective styles. LDF is a proud member of the CROWN Coalition, a group of 80+ community and advocacy organizations that have done significant work to drive real, actionable change, to push for the passage of the CROWN Act in all 50 states, and to end hair discrimination.

Black hair is beautiful.
Black hair is cultural.
Black hair is symbolic.
Black hair belongs.

Black hair belongs in the classroom. In the workplace. Wherever it grows.

In 2019, Dove commissioned a study to measure the magnitude and impact of natural hair based discrimination faced by Black women in the workplace. The study found that Black women are 1.5x more likely to be sent home from their workplace because of their hair. Black women were also 80% more likely to change their hair from its natural state to fit into the office setting.

Operating in a society that devalues and criminalizes Black hair is costly. When hairstyles are banned, the alternative is often to use chemical or heat straighteners that can damage the hair in the short and long term. These processes are both expensive and time consuming. The lack of availability of Black hair products in stores and lack of Black salons and barbershops in some areas has a definitive economic impact.

This is unacceptable and it must change.

Black hair is an expression of identity and culture.

It’s a representation of history and carries deep emotional significance. Historically, Black hair has carried a profound symbolism. Cornrows, locs, twists, afros, bantu knots, and more all have historic connections to Black pride, culture, religion, and history.

"My hair has never had anything to do with my behavior or my capacity to learn, but my high school’s grooming policy denied me equal educational opportunities and extracurricular opportunities, including the opportunity to graduate with my peers."

- Deandre Arnold, LDF client

The CROWN Act by the numbers


States have enacted the CROWN Act or similar legislation.

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Municipalities have enacted the CROWN Act or similar legislation.

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States have pre-filed, filed, or intend to introduce the legislation.

We won't let race-based hair discrimination be a conduit for systemic racism. It's time to pass the CROWN Act.

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