July 3rd marks a significant milestone in the journey toward hair equity and cultural acceptance. It is the fifth anniversary of CROWN Day, also known as “Black Hair Independence Day.” This celebration, commemorated by the CROWN Coalition, reflects both the progress made and the ongoing efforts to eradicate race-based hair discrimination through the CROWN Act.

The Genesis of the CROWN Coalition

The CROWN Coalition, an alliance formed in 2019 by Dove, National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Color of Change, was established to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” This initiative aimed to create a more inclusive environment for Black individuals. It addresses race-based hair discrimination through legislation known as the CROWN Act.

The coalition has expanded to include over 100 community organizations dedicated to making real and actionable change.

Legislative Milestones and Impact

Since its 2019 inception, the legislation has been adopted in 26 states and 50 municipalities. It has touched over 30 million Black lives. The act’s pioneering passage in California paved the way for other states, including New York, New Jersey, and recently, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, and Michigan.

Dove, an inaugural member of the coalition, has played a crucial role in advocating for this cause. Their efforts have not only raised awareness but also helped push the cause. Their work has helped the collection of signatures for the CROWN Act petition. This petition seeks to eliminate hair discrimination in workplaces and public schools nationwide.

“The CROWN movement has grown exponentially in the past 5 years — and not purely in the expansion of protective legislation across nearly 30 states; but, in the mainstream cultural conversation there’s a closer examination of micro-aggressions and what it means to feel safe and seen at work and school,” Dre Brown, a spokesperson for Dove, noted.

The Cultural Shift and Future Aspirations

The cultural conversation surrounding natural hair has shifted significantly since the CROWN Act’s introduction. More individuals and institutions are recognizing the importance of hair inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

“I’m so inspired by its progress. I would love to see legislation protecting against race-based hair discrimination active in all 50 states,” Brown reflected. “And, I want to see more opportunities for celebration of Black hair culture in the mainstream media that can cultivate deeper understanding and appreciation of our diverse hair experiences and history.”

Dove has integrated the “My Hair, My Crown” curriculum into its Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP). This tool aims to empower young people with natural hair, fostering self-esteem and self-love.

“CROWN always reminds me of how my personal hair insecurity and self-consciousness shaped many of my childhood choices,” Brown shared. “So, when I got the chance to deepen my partnership with Dove and co-write the ‘My Hair, My Crown’ curriculum for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, I was humbled and honored to help design a resource for kids experiencing similar pressure.”

The vision for the CROWN movement’s future remains clear and ambitious. The goal is to see comprehensive legislation in all 50 states. This will help elevate Black hair culture in mainstream media for a deeper understanding and appreciation of its diversity.

CROWN Day is not just a celebration of past achievements but a continuation of advocacy and progress. The collective efforts of the CROWN Coalition, Dove, and countless advocates promise a future where every individual can proudly embrace their natural hair.