New Orleans City Council passes Crown Act to end hair discrimination


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Her fingers move quickly as she braids her client’s hair. Amber Ward is the owner of NolaBraider Natural Hair Salon. She pursued her dreams of being a stylist after working in corporate America, where she says her own hair was a topic of conversation.

“People would have comments about the way I wore my hair, saying, ‘Maybe you should wear your hair it this way or that way.’ And that’s really not right,” said Ward. She says her clients often come to her to change their hair because of work or school orders.

“We’ve had so many clients that have had to come back and get their braids taken out because their job had a problem with it,” said Ward.

It’s not just African American women dealing with this. Stylist Morgan Dillon says her nephew was ordered to cut his dreads off because of work. “He actually cried because he didn’t want to cut his locks,” she said.

Now, Dillon is holding onto them for her nephew in case he can have them one day. “Hair has a lot of energy, a lot of love, a lot of spiritual meaning to it,” she said.

This week, the New Orleans City Council made a monumental move, passing the Crown Act, which prevents discrimination from cultural hairstyles.

It means a lot to the the women at NolaBraider. “To hear that they’re really working hard to do something about that, is really, really a good thing and a big step for us,” said Ward.

More importantly: “I’m just happy that the world is finally letting us be free,” said Dillon.

The Crown Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair.” The act was created last year, but New Orleans is one of the first cities in the country to officially adopt it. The act will prevent hair discrimination in both the workplace and at school. Visit the the Crown Act website for more information.


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