Two years ago, California became the first state to pass a law banning natural hair discrimination.
To commemorate, July 3 has been declared National Crown Day to celebrate the day the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) legislation was signed into law.
On Saturday, the Crown Coalition and personal care brand Dove will host the inaugural CROWN Awards honoring Black women paving the way with contributions to culture, community, entrepreneurship, entertainment, the advancement of Black beauty and ultimately Black hair independence.
The event will be hosted by media personality Tai Beauchamp and will feature appearances by actress and entrepreneur Tabitha Brown as well as journalist and activist Tashara Parker.
The virtual awards segment will also spotlight notable Black women whose talents and leadership help advance the legacy of Black excellence and beauty. Award categories will include everything from business to sports, to activism as well as champions of The CROWN Act legislation.
There also will be a CROWN Mural unveiling at the Nation's Capital earlier in the day.
To further celebrate, female-driven media brand and creative agency Phenomenal has launched "CROWN Month" which will be a month-long celebration of National Crown Day.
Monthlong initiatives include an inspiring video produced by Phenomenal Productions, Hayden5 and directed by JJ Anderson. The clip is an enlightening portrayal of Black hair as a representation of intergenerational power.
The company is also hosting a four-part conversation series with thought leaders exploring personal and professional barriers experienced by Black women concerning their hair as well as the progress made in the last five years in both policy and hair products. The series will include guests such as Phenomenal founder and CEO Meena Harris as well as founder and CEO of Sienna Naturals Hannah Diop.
There is also an opportunity to shop limited-edition "Crowning Glory" long sleeve tees that include Black hair iconography and a crown.
Two years ago, Sen. Holly Mitchell led the charge in introducing and playing a key role in getting the bill passed in California. Since then, laws have also been passed in 13 states including New York, Maryland, Oregon and Virginia.
There have also been 29 municipalities that have passed the CROWN Act legislation, and eight states including North Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois and several more are considering The CROWN Act. These states have either pre-filed, filed or formally introduced their own anti-hair discrimination bills.
"When the governor signed SB 188, the CROWN Act into law one year ago today, I joked that July 3rd would become our true Independence Day, the day our natural hair was freed from oppressive workplace dress codes," Mitchell told "Good Morning America." "Acknowledging that our hair and its natural texture is a race-based trait was an important addition to the body of law aimed at securing equal treatment and equal protection for all.
"Until Congress is able to recognize that the quality of my work as an employee or student is based on what's inside my head and not how I choose to wear my hair, we will continue the state-by-state strategy to pass the CROWN Act in every state in our nation."
In December 2019, Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who represents Louisiana's 2nd District, introduced the first federal bill to ban natural hair discrimination.
"Discrimination against black hair is discrimination against black people," Booker said in a statement. "Implicit and explicit biases against natural hair are deeply ingrained in workplace norms and society at large. This is a violation of our civil rights, and it happens every day for black people across the country."
In March, federal legislation was reintroduced by Coleman in the U.S. House of Representatives and Booker in the U.S. Senate.
Editor's Note: This story originally posted on July 2, 2020.