CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – State lawmakers re-introduced a bill that would prevent discrimination based on natural hairstyles.
From afros to box braids, weaves, locks and natural hair, black men and women have found creative ways to embrace their hair for centuries.
“I feel like the culture, we like to switch up our hair a lot, so using these protective styles to be able to switch up our hair is amazing. We can go from braids to ponytails to twists to locks,” said Kayla Willis, CEO of Novalicious Beauty Bar.
Kayla started her own hair braiding business, Novalicious Beauty Bar, after practicing on family and friends as a hobby and wanting her own shop. Often hair braiding can take a whole day but Kayla has it down to a few hours, “They’re in love it goes by so fast. We have great conversation in here so three hours really just flies by.”
Now she’s teaching others how to braid, “Once I open up my schedule, all of my appointments are literally booked in three to five minutes which is amazing.”
I’m fortunate enough to work for a place that allows me to embrace the diversity in my hair but sometimes others aren’t so fortunate.
“You’ve heard stories of people being discriminated against because of their hair? Because an African American woman wears braids yes, we have,” said State Representative Bud Williams.
In Massachusetts, an act prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles was reintroduced after failing to pass in 2020.
“If people want to wear their hair in a natural state, then what the heck is wrong with that,” said Williams.
According to Dove’s 2019 research study, black women are one and a half times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair.