There's a natural boom among women of African descent. Kinky, curly and coily hairstyles have joined cornrows, locks and twists as just a few of the looks that Black women, girls and femmes are rocking confidently and unapologetically. This Black hair renaissance is reshaping what we see in fashion magazines, on television, in classrooms, and even in boardrooms. But constant vigilance is the price of freedom, with the exception of new legislation in California and New York, it remains true that anti-discrimination laws nation-wide do virtually nothing to protect Black people from getting fired, suspended, and otherwise disciplined for wearing their natural hair.
In 2012, Vanessa Van Dyke was threatened with expulsion by her Florida middle school unless she “tamed” her natural hair. Tiana Parker was told by her school that her dreadlocks were faddish and unacceptable. In 2013, Melphine Evans, a top executive at British Petroleum, says she was fired for wearing braids and dashikis to work. And in 2016, Chastity Jones lost her case against an employer who withdrew her job offer for refusing to cut off her natural locs.
On this special episode of Intersectionality Matters, Kimberlé Crenshaw dishes with Mixed-ish star and PATTERN founder Tracee Ellis Ross on their respective journeys towards loving their own natural hair, aesthetic freedom, and how the current convulsive political moment is expanding the social justice imaginary. We also hear from award-winning journalist Brittany Noble Jones about her personal experience with hair discrimination in the workplace and modeling self-love for the next generation. Tune in for an inspiring look at Black women’s tireless advocacy for life, liberty and the pursuit of nappyness.
Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (@sandylocks)
Produced and Edited by Julia Sharpe Levine
Recorded by Julia Sharpe-Levine and Susan Valot
Music by Blue Dot Sessions
With: Tracee Ellis Ross, (@traceeellisross), Brittany Noble Jones (@noblejonesontv)
Pattern Beauty: @PatternBeauty
Intersectionality Matters: ig: @intersectionalitymatters, twitter: @IMKC_podcast
Additional support from G'Ra Asim, Michael Kramer, Emmett O'Malley, Zoe Bush, Andrew Sun