The University of Central Florida’s Fanm Kreyol Inc. has partnered with the school’s chapter of The National Council of Negro Women to debut its inaugural event to “fight the stigma against natural hair.”
On Tuesday, the event’s co-chair, Sarah Joseph said the purpose of the event was to allow Black women to connect in a safe a trusted space where they could have discussions revolving around hair.
“This event is to support hair equality,” Joseph told Nicolson Student Media, UCF’s student publication. “We want to ensure Black women have a safe space to talk about their hair without being criminalized or talked about.”
Talks of natural hair and beating discrimination around it stemmed after Florida Senator Bobby Powell filed for the passing of the CROWN Act, which was established to ensure “protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists and knots in the workplace and public schools.
According to a Dove survey, “a Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work.”
Attendees at the event were transparent in sharing how having natural hair has affected them growing up. Brianna Denis was one of the event participants who opened up about the issue.
“My mom didn’t really know how to do my hair, and she used to send me to school with my hair sticking up all over my head,” Denis said. “The kids used to pick on me and pull my little twists because they were sticking up. ‘No hair out of place’ being the title of the event went so well with what I learned and believe, because I believe that no matter the occasion or situation, I feel that my hair is in the right place — freely on my head.”
Joseph agreed with Denis’ sentiments, sharing that social media has played a role in how people view the hair of people of color.
“We have let social media make the rules about what is or is not acceptable for Black women and what they do with their hair on their birthdays,” Joseph said.
Another event participant, Schwrubda Luberisse, further added that the event was a culmination of supportive women who shared candid advice about natural hair care.
“Having a space on campus to make masks and things to take care of our natural hair for free really helps keep money in our pockets,” she said.
All in all, Joseph said she was pleased about the event’s turnout, which has exceeded her expectations.
“I hope this event isn’t something that is one and done; I hope to make it an annual event,” Joseph said. “I loved the turnout and the space created here today.”