LA Hairdressers Must Cut Textured Hair In Order To Get Licensed – Weighing Black Professionals: EXCLUSIVE
Photo courtesy of Leighann Blackwood
For many years, black models and celebrities have shared their behind-the-scenes horror stories of so-called professionals unable to style their hair properly on set. Most of them have 3C and 4C hair, have even documented experiences when they were forced to get their hair done a few minutes before hitting a trail. Celebrities have even requested that black stylists be on the set of movies and TV shows to help them appear presentable, but their needs have been ignored. Now, the beauty industry is finally putting black women’s hair at the forefront of beauty standards, and the announcement is getting mixed reviews. Let’s talk about it.
There has long been a conversation about how black women have often been turned away from non-black beauty salons. After delving into the problem, we learned that rejection does not necessarily stem from racism. Instead, research shows it’s mostly baked in ignorance of our hair textures. Unfortunately, the problem is international.
Award-winning author ESSENCE Karen E. Quinones Miller knows all too well what it’s like to be turned down because of the texture of her coiled hair. âI was wearing an Afro when I first arrived at the US naval base stationed in Keflavik, Iceland, in July 1980,â she revisits with ESSENCE. âAfter about two months, I went to the US Base salon to get a cut so I could meet the strict length requirements set by the military, only to be told that none of the seven licensed stylists had to. ‘experience with black hair. ”
Quinones-Miller recalls that although these US Army-trained hairdressers were very kind to rejection, she was not happy with the way they ran their fingers through her hair, commenting that her headdress was “different. and interesting “. With great resilience, Quinones-Miller and the other black women on the base came together to comb each other’s hair. She concludes, âIf American stylists had been forced to style textured hair back then, I would have looked and felt amazing! ”
More than 40 years later, the Louisiana Cosmetology Council passed a resolution on Monday, Nov.8 to require all licensing exams to include a section on textured haircuts, according to a report via KATC.
“I am excited by the progress Louisiana has made in preventing hair discrimination based on race”, Esi Eggleston Bracey, The Executive Vice President and COO of Personal Care North America at Unilever tells exclusively at ESSENCE. “This new policy is a monumental step in the right direction given Louisiana’s unfortunate racist history of regulating hairstyles for black women and girls.”
In May of this year, New Orleans and Shreveport also adopted the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) is a California law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture by extending protection to both categories under the FEHA and California Education Code. This is the first legislation passed at the state level in the United States to prohibit such discrimination. While the celebrity hairstylist Ursule Ãtienne agrees that this is a big step towards equality in the industry, there is still a lot of work to be done.
âI think it’s deeper than the Council of State. We need to make sure that it is included in the curriculum of every beauty school. The right lessons should be taught by those who know about textured hair, âshe explains. “Although this [policy] won’t make non-black stylists good at working with textured hair, as this happens over time and with experience, it will hold them accountable.
So what is the likelihood, if at all, that black hairstylists will lose profitable opportunities due to a spike in competition? Stephen predicts that the new movement will actually give an opportunity to a wider range of hairdressers. âI think this will eventually bridge the textural gap that has separated the beauty industry for so long,â Stephen predicts. In the spirit of inclusion, the new mandate is also expected to end the segregation of black and white lounges as well. âThis resolution will help non-black stylists feel more comfortable working in predominantly black hair salons (and vice versa). It will transform salons from being only white or black into a place where all women and men can have their hair done, regardless of texture, âco-founder of Dream Girls Hair, explains Sharie Wilson.
With the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology resolution in good standing, the question arises as to whether black people will really feel comfortable sitting in the chair of a non-black barber. Tonya Thompson, co-founder of DreamGirls, thinks it’s all about individual preferences. “If a non-black stylist is able to show off their skills and ability to style black hair, a client can use someone other than black hairstylists.”
We are all on the progression! As you remember, Lynn (played by Alicia Silverstone) from the 2005 film Beauty salon proved she knew how to throw with her braiding technique after a client finally gave her a chance. Just something to think about.
The resolution will be implemented in Louisiana from June 2022. We’re sure other states will have this new policy on their radar.