The CROWN Act: How SCHS Students Feel About Their Natural Hair

The CROWN Act was signed into law in CA just under four months ago. It states that no person can be discriminated against at school or in the workplace for wearing their natural hair.

The oppression of wearing natural hair, in particular natural black hair has been forever present throughout U.S. history. During the slave trade, black women who worked in the fields would wear rags over their hair, while black women who worked in plantation houses would commonly wear their hair in traditional “white” styles or would wear wigs. During this time, laws were also installed which required black women to cover their hair to signify their status as part of the “slave class”. Fast forward to the past few years and black people have been sent home from school, fired, or not considered for work positions due to their natural and traditional hairstyles. 

Photo by Madeline Mack
Black women wear afros a hairstyle that goes back to the civil rights movement as an act of liberation. Black Americans have been discriminated against for wearing them, and they are now protected by the CROWN Act in CA.

Everyone has a different relationship with their hair. For some, it signifies an extreme sense of power and identity. For others, like Kaila Hues (an SCHS sophomore who rocks a short curly afro), their hair is simply something they were born with. 

 “I guess it [hair in general] is special but it is just hair in the end. I’m glad I have it… but it doesn’t really have any meaning outside of that.”

Despite this, her uniquely black texture does signify something for her.

 “I don’t really have a lot of stuff relating to my ancestors and my black culture, so I like that I have my hair.”

Black people commonly have less connection to their black history because it is simply harder to access. These little things that are passed down to us then end up holding a deeper meaning.

The CROWN Act and the power that comes with wearing your natural hair has a special place in Destini Perkin’s life. Perkins is the president of Black Student Union and a senior here at SCHS.  

“I love wearing my natural hair out [because] it brings a whole bunch of people together. You see women of color constantly empowering each other when they do so.”

Photo by Madeline Mack
Black women wear their cornrows, a style that has been apart of African American history. Women have been discriminated against for wearing them in recent years.

Destini was also an outspoken supporter of the CROWN Act, going to the Capitol in May and lobbying for the bill herself.

“I was so excited to hear that it was passed knowing that I had been there helping. [It is great to know that] CA is constantly moving, passing bills and making [positive] changes for people of color.”

Perkins doesn’t just love wearing her natural hair she also enjoys experimenting with it and connecting with the history behind it.

“It’s definitely cool to attempt different hairstyles with my hair I look back on certain braids and learn the history of things like cornrows, I feel like it’s really interesting to carry my culture with me in this way.” 

“All curls equal professional” emphasizes Perkins. The backbone of the CROWN Act is the point that everyone should be able to wear their natural hair and be viewed and treated equally.