While there are a plethora of other issues to combat, Black folks’ hair has become an unnecessary topic of conversation and not in a complimentary or flattering way. A Harlem mother is voicing her concerns as her two daughters were recently banned from a production of the “Black Nutcracker” because they chose to wear their hair in braids.
Pix11 reports that 9-year-old April and 10-year-old Brooke will not be able to participate in the production, which is being put on by the Uptown Dance Academy. The mom, Lisa Skinner, said that the rules of the dance company are that students must secure their hair for safety reasons. However, her daughters were apparently told that their hair cannot be in braids, even if it is placed in a bun, per the suggested safety precaution.
Skinner said that the teacher and school founder, Robin Williams, informed her that if her daughters were to have their hair in braids, they would “not be permitted to participate” in the performance.
“They were expelled from the school because I would not adhere to this ludicrous policy and she said to me then I will send you a refund of your ticket purchase money,” said Skinner.
Her daughters, who have been attending the dance academy for three years, are confused as to why their hair is an issue if they are complying with the school’s policy.
“It’s a Black Nutcracker, it’d be different if it’s the original Nutcracker,” said Brooke. “My braids, I really like them, they describe me.”
Her sister, April, also said, “My hair is a part of myself, and myself I was born with this type of hair.”
The two aspiring dancers said that they will not allow this to discourage them from pursing what they love, which is dance.
Their mother has already begun to look for another program to enroll Brooke and April in, Pix11 reports.
Ironically, a state law went into effect against hair discrimination in New York in July. The law was put in place to protect people of color – primarily Black people, who are disproportionately mistreated because of their hair. New York was the second state, after California, to officially put this ban in place.
New Jersey became the third state to follow suit on Thursday. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill making it illegal to discriminate against hairstyles that are associated with a particular race, CNN reports.
New Jersey signed the bill on the one-year anniversary of the Black high school wrestler cutting off his locks so that he could compete in a match.
CNN reports that the legislation was introduced after a New Jersey referee told the teen wrestler that he would have to forfeit the match if his locks went uncovered. A video went viral shortly after showing the teen’s trainer cutting his hair.
But honestly, shouldn’t hair be the least of anyone’s worries?