FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 18, 2020
Tracee Ellis Ross Joins Color Of Change for a Discussion on the State of Small Black Beauty Businesses and Fighting Hair Discrimination
Joined by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Representative Leslie Herod, and Small Black Beauty Business Owners: Jennifer Lord and Thomasina Jackson
NATIONWIDE — Color Of Change is thrilled to release, InHAIRitance: Supporting Hair Love & Small Black Beauty Businesses, a critical conversation on combating hair discrimination, the state of Black beauty businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to further support Black-owned small businesses.
In collaboration with Dove, National Urban League, and Western Center on Law and Poverty — Color Of Change, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Rep. Leslie Herod, Senator Cory Booker, and other elected officials have pushed for the passage of The CROWN Act — a crucial and necessary step toward full protection for Black people throughout the country from hairstyle discrimination in schools and workplaces, and its residual effects.
“Black hair has been at the center of economic, political, and cultural revolutions,” said Tracee Ellis Ross, actor, producer, and CEO of PATTERN. “We think of maps to freedom hidden in our braids; Angela Davis and her afro as a symbol of pride and resistance; Frederick Douglass’ hair as an expression of prosperity and perseverance against all odds. Hairstyle discrimination is an economic issue and a civil rights issue. Grooming policies are arbitrarily enforced, and prevent access to academic and economic opportunities for the Black community. The CROWN Act is an essential policy, safeguarding the existence, dignity, and humanity of Black people.”
“Every Black person has a story of racial discrimination, and hair discrimination has been a part of our experience as Black people for far too long,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. “It’s not just about the impact on self esteem or how it undermines ethnic pride; hair discrimination can affect Black people’s ability to learn and, as a consequence, our economic status. The CROWN Act would codify nondiscrimination protections so that employers cannot discriminate based on ethnic hairstyles — and it will help liberate us to show up as our most authentic selves. The CROWN Act is civil rights legislation that grants us our rightful self-hood.”
“Black beauty salons are essential,” said Arisha Hatch, Vice President of Campaigns, Color Of Change. “In a world where Black people’s bodies are constantly policed and politicized, Black-owned hair salons enable our agency, autonomy, and self-expression. Black businesses are the cultural and economic engines of our communities, yet they have been drastically unsupported and under-resourced through inequitable COVID relief measures. Color Of Change will continue to demand immediate government support of small Black businesses and Black workers during the pandemic — and beyond — while challenging the written and unwritten rules to pass laws that protect Black people.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated small businesses throughout these past several months, and Black business owners are bearing the brunt of this economic crisis due to inequitable federal support. A recent poll by Color Of Change and Main Street Alliance indicates that only 37% of Black small business owners received the amount of assistance they requested, despite being more likely to apply. Findings also show that nearly half of Black-owned small businesses — 46% — have already closed permanently or will soon shutter due to insufficient federal COVID relief. The poll emphasizes what many Black business owners like Jennifer Lord and Thomasina Jackson already know: they need relief, and they need it now.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Color Of Change has been demanding the protection and justice Black people need to deal with the negative impacts of COVID-19 — which have only exacerbated existing inequalities — through #TheBlackResponse campaigns. Color Of Change and its members will continue to demand Congress pass equitable relief for Black businesses to operate safely and securely during the pandemic; and now and we’re supporting Black businesses through our Black business greenbook directory ,where you can find Black businesses to patronize for the holiday season.
#TellBlackStories is a 2020 Webby award winning podcast and is also part of Color Of Change’s Hollywood and culture change work to ensure authentic, empathetic, and human portrayals of Black people across the media landscape. We bring together storytellers, changemakers and celebrities to talk about the issues that affect Black communities the most. We dive into everything from what it’s like to be a Black writer in an all white writer’s room to the issues that deserve centerstage this election year: voting rights, criminal justice reform, fighting white nationalism, and more. We focus on the systems and behaviors that unfairly hold Black people back and champion solutions to move us all forward. Visit www.tellblackstories.org
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.