Dove has just launched their #AsEarlyAsFive campaign to fight race-based hair discrimination and continue supporting CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act legislation across the U.S. Actress and author Tabitha Brown partnered with Dove to echo the message and encourage the public and government to get involved.
The CROWN Coalition was initially formed by Dove, the National Urban League, Color of Change and the Western Center on Law & Poverty. The 2019 CROWN research examined the likelihood for Black women to change their hair to be “appropriate” for the office. In the same year, CROWN Act legislation was created prohibiting public schools and employers from discriminating against Black hairstyles. In Dove’s latest research, they found Black girls are most susceptible to hair discrimination as early as five years old.
From Dove via Press Release:
As part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to ending race-based hair discrimination via The CROWN Act legislation (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), the study reveals that 53% of Black mothers, whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination, say their daughters experienced the discrimination as early as 5 years old, and approximately 86% of Black teens who experience discrimination have endured it by the age of 12.
Hair bias and discrimination is prevalent in predominately white schools where Black girls are most vulnerable to racial bias and discrimination
66% of Black girls in majority-white schools report experiencing discrimination45% of Black girls in all school environments report experiencing hair bias and discriminationTrauma from these experiences cause girls to miss days from school Teenage Black girls are missing a week of school due to hair dissatisfaction
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Tabitha Brown partnered with Dove to amplify the need for CROWN legislation. “You know, when I heard about the CROWN Act years ago, I was floored. I knew instantly I wanted to be a part of making this change and getting this passed every state,” Brown said. “I’m so grateful that it’s happening, but I also feel very sad that it has to happen. That means something terrible exists.”
Brown said in the Dove CROWN Campaign Launch virtual event that she had experienced her first encounter with hair discrimination in grade school. These experiences followed her into the entertainment industry. “I wore my pressed hair straight for about 20 years because I was told to, and I believed that I had to. I didn’t feel that I had another choice because when I first started auditioning for film and television, my hair was in locs. At the time, when I was living in North Carolina, my agent who was a white woman told me no one wants to see a Black woman with dreadlocks in her hair on television.”
When Brown moved to LA, she said she was told again to wear her hair straight because of her skin tone. Brown said she understood quickly that Hollywood would not accept her natural hair. Brown’s experiences almost directly reflect Dove’s research on the long-term effects of hair discrimination on Black women.
From Dove via Press Release:
Exposure to hair discrimination has a negative impact on Black girls’ self-esteem.
While 90% of Black girls believe their hair is beautiful, the microaggressions and discrimination she endures has an impact on how she sees herself 81% of Black girls in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair were straight
Hair discrimination also has a generational impact.
As previously revealed in the Dove CROWN Research Study (2019), Black women were 1.5 times more likely to have reported having been sent home or know of a Black women sent home from the workplace because of her hair The 2021 Dove CROWN Research for Girls reveals that 47% of Black mothers report having experienced discrimination related to their hair. Among them, 81% remember the experience happening by the time they were 12 years old
“I’m thankful to be included and use my voice and my platform to get these messages out because so many people like myself, we don’t know until we’ve been affected by it. So even when you effected by it, you don’t even know that legally something can be done,” said Brown.
Currently, only 14 states have passed CROWN Act legislation. Sign the CROWN Act petition to join the movement to protect Black girls from hair discrimination.