‘Black and proud’ singer on why now is the moment for laws ending hair discrimination

Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory Academy | Oakland, CA

Jessica Butler is a 21-year-old social media influencer in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Last year, her song, “Black and Proud” got more than 7 million views on TikTok. Butler talked with Student Reporting Labs reporter Nairobi Barnes about new laws aimed at preventing discrimination against African Americans who wear natural hairstyles.

In 2019, California became the first state in the U.S. to prohibit discrimination based on hairstyles connected to racial identity. Since then, seven more states have followed suit, and similar legislation, known as the CROWN Act, has been introduced in more than a dozen other states.