Her hair is her crown

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:08 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s Black History Month and we learn about the CROWN Act, which is meant to stop unfair judgment against Black women based on natural hair.

In Watertown’s Public Square, sits Addie’s Island.

Salon owner Addie Vereen says for a Black woman, her hair is her crown.

“Your hair is energy. It represents your feelings and who you are,” she said.

She says it’s tough to find someone who can cut and style ethnic hair in the north country.

Seven-year-old Amina Jackson lives in St. Lawrence County, traveling to Watertown with her aunt.

Vereen says it’s important for young Black girls to embrace their hair, their culture.

“We braid it up, we make it nice and neat, and the outcome is beautiful,” she said.

In 2019, the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, was created .

The act is to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locs, and twists in the workplace and public schools.

New York is one of 20 states where the CROWN Act is law.

Jackson says getting her hair done makes her feel good. However, her aunt some days she needs that confidence.

“At school, she gets picked on because of her skin color and her hair. It’s hard, but we try and convince her that she’s always beautiful,” said Kristen Ellard, Jackson’s aunt.

A 2021 Dove CROWN study shows 86% of Black teens who experience discrimination say they have experienced it based on their hair by the age of 12.

Vereen says young Black girls need to wear their crowns proudly.