Hair braiding is a practice that is thousands of years old and black women have been using this style to adorn their hair since time immemorial. The Tennessee board is shelling out fines for hair braiders requiring them to gain 300 cosmetology hours via a beauty school, which can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 or pay hefty fines.
Since 2009, the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners has amassed almost $100,000 in fines against scores of African hair braiders and 30 natural hair stylists for unlicensed hair braiding. The fine is $1,000 for every occurrence of “…performing natural hair care services for clients without a license” that is visible. This rule is not only affecting stylists who work in their homes but those who work in licensed hair salons as well; As reported by Atlanta Black Star.
Fatou Diallo, an African hair braider in Tennessee is feeling the effects of the penalties. The native Senegalese woman is a single mother who owns her own salon; she is also responsible for earning income for family expenses in her native Senegal. Diallo has been fined several times and owes $16,000 in which she pays in monthly payments of $830 dollars. Diallo feels the classes she must take in order to become a licensed braider are “mostly a waste of my time,” “We don’t need 300 hours to know how to wash a clip or a comb.” She emphasizes.
This has prompted Diallo to become an advocate of hair braiding stylists in Tennessee; she’s joined forces with the Institute for Justice and Beacon Center to testify in favor of a bill to eradicate the state’s licensing requirement for hair braiders.
“We can create more employment if this bill passes.” Diallo expresses.