Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Professional & Locked: Legislation and Natural Hair In Ohio

  • Did ya know? In 2016, Iowa, Nebraska and Kentucky deregulated hair braiding, freeing braiders from burdensome cosmetology laws?

So, this happened, just as states like Florida, George and Alabama shut down access, making it legal to discriminate against folks with locks in their hair, Ohio loosens beauty restrictions. From a 1500 hour Cosmetology license to a 450 hour Natural Hair Care License ,to now a 75 hour Boutique Certification braiding, threading or shampooing ** services can be offered within a salon setting that is board approved. This is HUGE! Some argue it's not fair, others feel that this opportunity will open up natural hair services, increasing entrepreneurial opportunities; others are limited due to shampoo restrictions.

What do I feel? All is fair in love and war. I reflect on the days I would pop up to antagonize the OH State Cosmetology Board challenging their restrictive laws. I saw them pass fees over fees over fees against their own customer base to the point where they ran many cosmetologists out of business. Now, they are in a tight space, finding it necessary to lay out a welcome mat to new customers and build up their base again. 

It's a matter of pure economics. I say, if you have the interest, passion etc...go for the boutique if you can! I would if it were 10 years ago and I were still fighting. But, I've been there and done that. Remain aware that signing up for a license or certification, requires operations within the rules and regulations of the state as a cosmetology servicer. Registering as an LLC allows the business owner to remain free of Cosmetology governing. Think about it, African Braiders boldly hang their shingles and own their own businesses because they do NOT go under the auspices of the Cosmetology Industry. Weigh the pros and the advantages of what  is best for you. 

In the case of Florida, Florida has 'been' had a braider's license. For only 16 hours, women have been able to make a living 'braiding 'hair. In addition, the irony of a 'braiding' law to 'police' the art of locks still has us talking about different topics. It's like saying Basketball is the same as American Football. They are both sports, but they are different sports, requiring difference skills. Not only are they different sports, but you have folks that have never played sports leading and coaching the team to a win. And, thus goes the ridiculousness of state cosmetology boards trying to set mandates, rules and regulations on a market they do not understand on so many levels. They call hair 'locks' 'braids (insert eyeball). Clearly, the only interest is to control what they can financially and keep their thumb on this corner of the beauty industry.  For now, this is progress. However, for me, 'Nah.' Id rather stick to empowering and educating the masses with books and selected seminars. I will continue to minister to women in need of cultural empowerment as I see fit. But, I'm glad the next generation of natural hair queens will have an opportunity to be economically empowered and not disenfranchised to hide in the shadows like they did to my generation. The overall irony about Florida is the freedom to earn a living doing natural hair care, which contrasts with the recent US District Court 11 ruling agains dreadlocks. Can the governing laws ever get in sync with it's own constituents?!

Overall, I think the Boutique option is progress. And the solution is to have conscious folks that are knowledgeable about the art of natural hair populate the boards that govern and make these laws. The laws are ridiculous and don't even address real education, real issue nor do the require educational facilities to empower folks to know the art of black hair care.  



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Professional & Locked: STOP Policing Our Hair

In January, a group of women in the Columbus, OH area came together to discuss the latest news regarding the policing of tightly coiled hair.