Mississippians push for change on National Crown Act Day, July 3

While most people in the Pine Belt will celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, there is another day that many will also celebrate - National Crown Day.
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 8:56 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - While most people in the Pine Belt will celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, there is another day that many will also celebrate - National Crown Day.

National Crown Day, June 3, is a day to promote the passing of the Crown Act, legislation that protects from race-based discrimination for hairstyles. Only 16 states have passed the Crown Act or similar legislation, and Mississippi is not one of them.

State Representative Orlando Paden, MS District 26, said that he wants to see Mississippi become a state that rejects discrimination.

“This is how we’re going to move forward,” said Paden. “I want Mississippi to become that new brand, that new Mississippi that I know that it can become.”

Kinks, coils, locs and curls are all different hair textures that are often singled out in the workplace for discrimination, disproportionally affecting women of color.

The 2021 Dove Crown Study for Girls showed that Black women are one-and-a-half times more likely to be sent home from the workplace due to their hairstyle.

Robin Symone Bender, owner of Salon Clutch Couture in Hattiesburg, has over a decade of experience working with different textures of hair. Her salon, however, specializes in natural hair.

“Natural hair is a movement,” said Bender. “It’s part of us, it’s part of our culture. This is the hair we’re born with. This is the hair that God gave us, and we should be able to express ourselves through our hair.”

Historically, African-American communities used hairstyles to express emotion and celebrate identity, particularly for women, said Bender. She encourages people of color to embrace their hair, or crown, and find what products and styles work for them.

“We don’t want to be judged by our hair,” said Bender. “We don’t want to be judged by what we look like. We just want to be judged by what our work ethic is and by our character.”

Paden previously pushed for Mississippi to pass the Crown Act, but the legislation was voted down by lawmakers. He said that he will continue to push for change.

More information about the Crown Act and the movement’s mission is available here.

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