California Could Become 1st State to Protect Natural Black Hair From Discrimination If Bill Passes

Kari Williams, who owns Mahogany Hair Revolution in Beverly Hills, works on a client's hair. (Credit: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Kari Williams, who owns Mahogany Hair Revolution in Beverly Hills, works on a client's hair. (Credit: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Kari Williams has worked to make her natural hair salon a refuge for black Angelenos, including those who’ve felt pressured to alter their hairstyles to hold on to a job.

Some customers have asked her to cut their locs — short for dreadlocks — because their bosses deemed them unacceptable. Others hadn’t worn their natural hair in so long they forgot what it looked like. That’s why Williams welcomes proposed state legislation that would make California the first state to protect black employees from discrimination based on hairstyles.

“It’s important to me as a black woman,” said Williams, who owns Mahogany Hair Revolution, a hair salon in Beverly Hills. “Our skin color and our hair have been used as ways to continue to keep us disenfranchised.”

The CROWN Act, which passed the state Senate in April and could be voted on in the state Assembly as soon as Thursday, would outlaw policies that punish black employees and students for their hairstyles. Supporters say the bill’s acronym reflects its intention: creating a respectful and open workplace for natural hair.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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