31: The CROWN Act: I Am More Than My Hair

Respect Circles - The Podcast

Apr 13 2022 • 56 mins

Earlier this March the U.S. House of Representatives passed The CROWN Act, which bans any form of discrimination based on hairstyle or texture. We also recently witnessed one of the most qualified Supreme Court candidates, Ketanji Brown Jackson, complete her senate confirmation hearing. Though we heard a lot about her qualifications and her appointment was well-deserved, there was just as much chatter about her “sister locks.” This has been an ongoing issue for decades, if not centuries, and we just knew that we had to dive deeper into the topic of Black women in America, and the role that hair has played in their journey.

If you think this is just about hair though, stay tuned, because we have two very special guests joining us to share their experiences, not only in corporate America, but in academia and in society as a whole.

Joy Morton is the Assistant Deputy Insurance Commissioner with The Virginia State Corporation Commission, and Ayo Morton is a preacher, poet, doctoral candidate, and adjunct professor at The University of Memphis. Both happen to be AJ’s relatives, his sister and his niece respectively, and they offer a wealth of insight into this topic.

It was so much fun to have Joy and Ayo as our guests on the podcast.  As always, we learned and gained a broader perspective and we’ll continue to have these conversations so that we can educate ourselves and raise awareness.  That’s what Respect Circles is all about.

As always, we love to hear your feedback.  If you have a question or topic that you’d like us to discuss in a future episode, please go to https://www.respectcircles.com/voicemail/ to leave us a message.

You can also reach us by email, respectcircles@gmail.com, on social media at https://www.facebook.com/respectcircles and https://www.instagram.com/respectcircles/, or by visiting our website at www.respectcircles.com too.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks so much for listening. We’d love to have you subscribe to the podcast,  leave us a rating and review, and share with your friends!

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • A look back at the history of the Black hair care industry [4:09]

  • AJ’s experience growing up around this topic [5:06]

  • Why hair is such a significant conversation in the Black community, especially amongst the women [8:03]

  • Hair as a way for Black women to reclaim their agency [11:38]

  • How Both Joy and Ayo were introduced to the importance of hair, and the role it has played in both of their lives [13:00]

  • What their initial thoughts on The CROWN Act were, and whether they think this law will make a difference [21:18]

  • A fascinating study that shows the majority of people, regardless of race or gender, hold some biases around hair [27:49]

  • The pressures faced by Black women in relation to their hair, particularly from others in the Black community [32:10]

  • The differences that Joy is seeing with hair in Corporate America [36:38]

  • What magic can happen when someone is comfortable with who he or she is [41:11]

  • What both Joy and Ayo’s preferred hair style of texture would be if no social pressures existed [43:06]

  • Ways to become an ally and to show up and support others [48:20]

  • Their advice to parents of young people on navigating this important issue [51:33]

Links & Resources:

India.Arie ft. Akon - I Am Not My Hair (Official Video)

Chris Rock’s Documentary, Good Hair

Madame C.J. Walker

28: Microaggressions: What They Are and Why They Are So Damaging

14: Spotlight On Generosity: How Greta Randolph’s Outreach is Impacting Lives

12: The Cost of Code-Switching 2: Have We Lost Our Humanity? with Rev. Dr. Lisa Johnson

The Characteristics of Negro Expression by Zora Neale Hurston

http://americainclass.org/seminars11-12/artnewnegro/NegroExpression.pdf

The “Good Hair” Study by Perception Institute:

https://perception.org/goodhair/

Take the Perception Institute’s Hair Bias test here.

Duke University Study, Black women with natural hairstyles are less likely to get job interviews:

https://socialequity.duke.edu/news/black-women-with-natural-hairstyles-are-less-likely-to-get-job-interviews/

The Chastity Jones Case

The Jenesis Jones Case

A wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks before a match. His town is still looking for answers (Andrew Johnson): https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/04/17/wrestler-was-forced-cut-his-dreadlocks-before-match-his-town-is-still-looking-answers/

2019 Joy Collective Study

Six Things Everyone Should Know About Black Hair History

https://odelebeauty.com/blogs/the-rinse/black-hair-history-facts

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