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Celebrate your crowning glory this Crown Day

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Jul 03, 2023

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH — Monday is Crown Day in the U.S. this year. C.R.O.W.N. stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” It’s a day to celebrate however you decide to wear your hair. However, some people are of the opinion that certain styles are not considered “professional.” It can lead to hair discrimination in the workplace and even at school.

So far, 23 states have passed The Crown Act into law, banning race-based hair discrimination. Ohio is not among them. But at least 50 municipalities in our state passed their own Crown Act, including Akron, Cleveland Heights, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

The idea that straight hair is the model for what’s considered professional at work is a perception that Cosmetologist Ladosha Wright has been working to change.

“All textures of hair matter, and how you want to wear it is a personal want, and it has no bearing on your ability to complete the task at hand,” she told News 5. Wright is the founder of The Reverence Design Team hair salon in Cleveland Heights. She knows trying to straighten hair that is naturally textured, curly, or wavy can sometimes prove damaging over time. That’s why it’s been her passion to promote acceptance.

When we met Wright last year, she was hosting workshops to teach people how to love and care for their natural hair texture. New next step comes later this month with The Afro Hair Summit, which will teach hair care professionals how to care for textured hair.

“This is the first time probably in the history of barbering, cosmetology, dermatology and politics where we all get to learn subject matter together under one roof to help change the narrative,” she said. Wright believes when an employee can be their authentic self; it benefits the entire workplace. She’s been working with Ohio Representative Juanita Brent (D-22) to bring the Crown Act to Ohio. News 5 Anchor Courtney Gousman spoke with Rep. Brent about the effort.

“People told me if you want to win in the office, you need to have your hair straight, and that’s what I did,” Brent said. These days though, you’ll find her wearing braids more often than not.

“I feel way more confident, and I’ve been so surprised at how many young kids, particularly young ladies, who notice it and say, ‘Oh, your hair is just like mine,’” she said. Rep. Brent said she’s been working to get The Crown Act on the books in Ohio since she took office in 2019. Right now, House Bill 178 Is in the House Civil Justice Committee, the furthest it’s ever gotten, and with bipartisan support.

Besides, who gets to decide what kind of hair is “professional” anyway?

“As African-Americans, that’s always troublesome to us,” said Wright. The issue really hits home when you consider the results of the Crown 2023 Workplace Research Study conducted by Dove and LinkedIn. It found Black women’s hair is 2.5x more likely to be perceived as unprofessional. Two out of three Black women change their hair for a job interview. More than half of those women said they feel like they need to straighten their hair for an interview to be successful. Black women who wear their natural texture were twice as likely to experience micro-aggressions in the workplace.

The Afro Hair Summit is happening at several locations across Cleveland from July 15-16. You can learn more here.

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