Tony Wafford (File photo)

Isn’t it pathetic at best, and sick at its worse that Black people have to endure white-lash, being White-balled, or straight up punished because of our hair and the many different beautiful Black hairstyles that we wear?

This sounds crazy when you hear it right?  The proof in what I’m saying is the fact that right here in so-called liberal California we had to pass the CROWN Act which really should have been named the, “Is it OK for me to be Black Act?”

The CROWN Act is an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair,” in other words, is it ok for me as a Black person to show up at work without pressing, perming, weaving, Jheri curling, press and curl or bleaching my hair. And if I chose not to do any of the above, will I still be given the respect in the workplace as others?  Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but we’ll still be Black.

Let me get this out of the way so all my perm, weave, Jheri curl, press and curl and bleached hair brothers and sisters won’t stop reading and get into your feeling. I am totally cool with whatever you do with your hair and head I’m just want people with natural hairstyles to receive the same respect that other people do.

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Most of us are well aware of The CROWN Act, which was sponsored by then State Senator Holly Mitchell in 2019 and was passed with unanimous consent by both chambers of the California State Legislature, but guess what, being able to celebrate and express your Blackness through our hairstyle is still a major problem in America.

I recently read about an 18-year-old junior in Texas whose family filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Texas on behalf of their son. This young man was pulled from his classroom at his Houston-area school after school officials said his locs fell below his eyebrows and ear lobes in violation of the district’s dress code. His locs (hair) was too long, really?

They didn’t pull him from class because his draws were showing, it wasn’t that he had so many tattoos at when meeting him you didn’t know if you should speak, or just read about him on his body. It didn’t even have anything to do with him having so many piercings that he looked like a pincushion. Here is where it really gets stupid, the school didn’t have an issue with the young man’s behavior, they didn’t have an issue with his GPA, they had a problem with the length of his hair. Was it the length of his hair, or was his hairstyle to Black?

I would be willing to bet you sight unseen, that there are a number of beautiful young Black ladies (and white girls, yes white girls get extensions too) in attendance at that same school with hair extensions and weaves so long that would make Rapunzel look like Isaac Hayes.

Please, let’s not pretend that the length of hair is really the issue here.  Can we just be honest with one another just for a minute, this is a Black Newspaper right, so allow me to be Black, okay?  It wasn’t and isn’t the length of that young brother’s hair that has them so worried and through them off, it’s his ability at a young age to be able to celebrate both his hair texture and a hairstyle that is so unsettling to so many whites.

His being pulled out of class really had nothing to do with the hair on top of this young man’s head that frightens them, but what was behind the hairstyle, which spoke volumes of what could be going on inside of that head. What was he thinking and what type of self-image could he have of himself that would allow him to celebrate the unique and beautiful way God created him. Why wasn’t he ashamed of his hair texture and why wasn’t he trying to go somewhere and straighten that problem out. In my eyes it’s a beautiful thing when you wake up and realize blondes really don’t have more fun, they just got yellow hair.

Reading about this young man took me back to 1979, when the movie “10” staring Bo Derek came out. For those of you that may not remember the film or you’re just too young to have seen the movie. The movie was about a successful, middle-aged Hollywood songwriter who falls hopelessly in love with the woman of his dreams, when he sees her running on the beach with her hair in corn rolls (in the film they referred to her hairstyle as French braids, anit nothing French about corn rolls) with beads. Now when this white man saw this white girl running on the beach with these corn rolls and beads in her hair he fell immediately in love, and she became the stander for beauty corn rolls and all. Hollywood let the world know then what a perfect 10 look like and many of you believed that… not me!

Do you remember when those two beautiful Black girls from Compton took to the tennis court with their corn rolls and hair beads was a problem for the tennis world and America…you remember that don’t you? And by the way Bo Derek got it from us, not the other way around.

Isn’t it funny when the dominant society recognizes, celebrates, and imitates our beautiful and unique style it’s OK it’s only when we as a people dare to celebrate our unique, authentic and beautiful Black selves that it becomes a problem. I would be willing to bet you if that young man cut his hair, bleached it blond get some blue contact lenses that same school district would probably vote him most likely to succeed.

Can y’all hear sister India Arie, “Cause corporate wouldn’t hire no dreadlocks, Then I thought about my dogs from the block, Kinda understand why they chose to steal and rob, was it the hair that got me this far, All these girls these cribs these cars? I hate to say it but it seems so flawed, ‘Cause success didn’t come till I cut it all off”.