In the wake of New York City passing a guideline to ban discrimination against hair, Westworld actress Thandie Newton opened up about her experience with this kind of racial bias.
On February 26, the British beauty took to Twitter to celebrate the news. When retweeting Huffington Post Women’s link for the story, Newton wrote, “Woohoo!!!!!!! Take THAT the nuns at my primary school!!”
She then gave a bit more explanation writing, “I wasn’t permitted to have my photo taken on School Photo Day because Mum had given me beautiful rows of braids the night before – specifically to make me look my best. Now hair discrimination is illegal in NYC. Bliss x.”
The actress’ excitement comes as no surprise seeing as this memory stuck with her so strongly. So much so that she’s told it before to NBC back in 2012. “I remember when I was seven at my convent school, it was school photo day so all the kids came looking their best. Mum did my hair in 20 or so cornrows with green wooden beads on each end to match my school uniform,” she told the publication. “The nuns were appalled, they wouldn’t let me have my picture taken. I felt embarrassed, disappointed, ashamed. Can you imagine how my mum must have felt?”
This upsetting story really puts into perspective the importance of the recent NYC rule. According to the guidelines — which were announced on February 18 — New Yorkers have the right to “preserve natural hair or hairstyles closely associated with their racial, ethnic or cultural identity.” It specifically refers to “natural hair treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”
Although this is directed towards anyone of any ethnicity, it was created with black people in mind. “In New York City, we want to make the bold statement that these prohibitions on hairstyles that are closely associated with black people are a form of race discrimination,” the Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn Malalis told BuzzFeed News. “They really fail to consider the toll these bans take on black identity.”
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