Brooklyn Park Hair Salon, Customers Express Support for CROWN Act
Legislation is on its way to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s desk that has some at the state Capitol wondering “what took so long?” The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN, Act would ban discrimination based on someone’s hair.
The Minnesota Senate passed the bill, SF 44, Thursday on a 45-19 vote. The Minnesota House passed the companion version earlier this month by a vote of 111-19. Supporters brought the bill forward after receiving reports that Blacks, particularly women, had experienced discrimination in the workplace due to their braids or natural hair texture.
“Everybody has a right to do what they want with their hair. No discrimination,” said Grace Bahtuoh, owner of Graceful Hair Design in Brooklyn Park.
For longtime customer Breanne Reed, hair is a sensitive topic.
“I’ve been discriminated against because of my natural hair,” said Reed. “I have natural thick, course hair, so a lot people try to tease me or bully me because of my natural hair.”
The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, but there wasn’t anything on the books related to hair.
Bahtuoh says she works to make her customers feel at home, doing hair braiding for many customers, both Black and white.
“It doesn’t matter what your hair is. It doesn’t matter who are, boy, girl, woman. Whatever hair style you want, I give it to you,” she said.
A typical hair braiding takes three to four hours, said Bahtuoh.
“I feel good. If I do your hair, the first question I ask, ‘Do you like it?’ If you say, ‘yes,’ I feel like I completed my work,” she said.
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