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C.R.O.W.N. hairstyle bill clears first legislative hurdle

Karyn Czar
DAngelia McMillan testified in favor of the C.R.O.W.N. bill

A bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their hairstyle has gained bipartisan support in Frankfort. Karyn Czar reports.

House Bill 31, which is also known as the C.R.O.W.N. Act passed out of committee yesterday and heads to the full House for a vote. C.R.O.W.N. is an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. DAngelia McMillan, a student at Grace M. James Academy of Excellence testified before the House committee that her confidence was shattered when her dance coach told her she had to straighten her naturally full and curly hair, a feature that McMillan says defines her personality.

“See my hair doesn’t grow straight. And I was told that if my hair wasn’t straightened, I would stick out and look different from everyone else. This made me feel like the way my hair grows wasn’t good enough as it is now.”

McMillan told lawmakers she refused. “My hair is me and I should be able to let my curls pop.”

Bill sponsor, Democrat Representative Attica Scott said no one should ever be required to alter their natural appearance to keep employment, participate in an organization or play on a team. Scott said hair discrimination can take away a person’s dignity and cause “financial, physical and emotional damage.”

If the CROWN Act becomes law, it would make it illegal to discriminate against someone for wearing braids, locks or twists or to require someone to change the style of their natural locks.