Awareness: Group pushes to end race-based hair discrimination in SC through the CROWN Act

WIS Awareness 10 Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 1:08 AM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This week on Awareness, Billie Jean Shaw hosted a special episode highlighting a renewed push for the CROWN Act law in South Carolina. The law ends hair-based discrimination against protective and natural styles.

CROWN is an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It is a law in 24 states so far. In other states, it’s only a law in certain cities and counties. In South Carolina, the Crown Act has not been enacted into law. Filed during the 2021-2022 legislative session, the bill did not receive a subcommittee hearing. According to Rep. Kambrell Garvin, one of the authors of the proposed bill, bipartisan support will be needed in order for the Crown Act to be signed into law.

“We have a Republican Governor and Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate. So we will continue to work to inform our colleagues on the other side of the aisle about the importance of this legislation,” said Rep. Kambrell Garvin.

In this week’s episode, Billie Jean Shaw introduces us to the founders of the Sumter Crown Act Coalition, a group with a renewed push to make the Crown Act law in South Carolina.

WIS Awareness 10 Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.

Michaela Angela Davis is a longtime image activist who has returned to her family roots in Sumter County to help make the CROWN Act become a statewide law. Davis, who has a long list of accolades including the creator and executive producer of Hulu’s “The Hair Tales”, former fashion editor of “Essence” magazine and a former contributor on CNN is also a founder of the Sumter Crown Act Coalition. The coalition’s mission is to make the Crown Act law in South Carolina starting in Sumter County.

WIS Awareness 10 Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.

In this segment, Billie Jean Shaw introduced us to all the founders of the Sumter Crown Act Coalition: Dia Clyburn who is the manager of Clyburn’s Beauty Shop, Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis, Master Barber Tony Woods and Retired Airforce CSMG, US Air Force Moye.

The coalition dedicates its time to educating the community about the importance of the CROWN Act and why they support the policy becoming a statewide law.

Data from shows startling statistics about Black women and hair discrimination:

-Black women’s hair was two-and-a-half times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional.

-More than half of the Black women surveyed felt like they had to wear their hair straight in a job interview to be successful. Two-thirds reported that they had changed their hair for a job interview.

-One-fifth of the Black women surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34 had been sent home from work because of their hair.

The issue not only affecting women but men as well.

In this segment, founder Tony Woods explains the hair discrimination men face.

WIS Awareness 10 Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.

The conversation continues surrounding hair discrimination against men and women who wear their hair in natural or protective styles. The Sumter Crown Act Coalition welcomes the community to put an end to that discrimination by contacting your state and local lawmakers.

You can also sign the CROWN Act petition organized by the Sumter Crown Act Coalition at this link.

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