Black hair is beautiful and should never be repressed nor regulated. However, the reality is that Black natural hair and protective hairstyles are unfairly targeted in the workplace, U.S. military and school environments. That’s why Dove continues to advocate for race-based hair discrimination to be illegal nationwide through the C.R.O.W.N Act – which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.
The beauty giant’s latest research, “Dove 2021 CROWN Research Study for Girls,” revealed that 53% of Black mothers said their daughters have experienced race- based hair discrimination as early as the age of five.
“Schools have been identified as a place where Black children are the most vulnerable to hair discrimination, bias and the ensuing self-esteem issues that arise from these,” said EVP & COO of NA Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, Esi Eggleston Bracey during Dove’s recent #AsEarlyAsFive virtual assembly. “It’s a place where their natural hair texture has been described as often too distracting, not tidy, not professional, and even against the school policy.”
These disturbing findings inspired Dove’s powerful “As Early As Five” campaign and short film, directed by Aisha Ford. In it, viewers will see a father affirming his daughter and teaching her to love and fight for her hair – a lesson that she will carry with her as she navigates through high school and the workforce.
“With this film, I wanted to tell a story about a Black woman going on a journey and staying rooted in that self-love that her father taught her,” Ford explained.
Dove launched their latest #AsEarlyAsFive campaign with a virtual assembly featuring a keynote from actress, natural hair advocate and everyone’s favorite vegan, Tabitha Brown. There was also a panel and a fireside chat that included Because of Them We Can founder, Eunique Jones Gibson, CROWN Act Social Strategist and CROWN Coalition Co-Creator, Adjoa B. Asamoah, clinical psychologist and hairstylist, Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, BET SVP Brand Strategy and CROWN Coalition Partner, Tiyale Hayes and a series of young people with personal stories about hair discrimination in school and how they’ve overcome.
The program ended with a conversation between Jones Gibson and 14-year-old Faith Finney. After Finney shared that she was expelled from school for wearing her hair braided, Jones Gibson let her know she created Because of Them We Can for kids like her.
“Because I knew that the world was just not kind to Black children or Black people in general. And I wanted to create this self-esteem bubble to really inundate Black children with so many inspirational messages,” Jones Gibson explained. “Not just inspirational messages, but also information about people who had blazed trails – because these trailblazers had gone through much worse. And I felt like if I could do that effectively, then I would really be able to contribute to the self-esteem of Black children.”
Thanks to The CROWN Act, race-based hair discrimination is currently illegal in 14 states. With the help of this campaign, the goal is to ensure the act is passed into law through out the remaining 36 states. You can help Dove in Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair by signing the CROWN Act petition today.