The Tennessee House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act on Monday (April 18), becoming the first state in the Deep South to advance the anti-hair discrimination law forward.
The CROWN Act was passed in the US House of Representatives this year after initially being blocked by three Republicans. Sen. Cory Booker introduced the law into the Senate in late March. The bill was first created to address the systemic racism Black people face in securing employment, attaining education, housing, and more.
"No one should be fired off their job because they're wearing twists or an afro. No child should be left behind because they have braids ... it's just misfortunate," Memphis hair salon owner Anya Parker told ABC News 24.
"If it's good enough for God, then it's good enough for you," Parker added.
So far, the CROWN Act has passed in 14 states across the country, since being created in California back in 2019. Several cities have also passed the legislation at local levels.
"Our hair is our pride and joy. It's who we are. It's the way it grows out of our heads. It's an extension of expression for us, it's a part of culture, and traditions, it's in our DNA," Memphis natural hairstylist and salon owner Chiedza Zimuto told the outlet.
"People of color, Black people ... when other groups are welcomed to be who they are, we're not," Zimuto added. "Now there's something in place to protect us to just be."
The bill will head to the state Senate before landing on Gov. Bill Lee's desk for signature.