Black natural hairstylists can be fined $100K for braiding hair in Tennessee

Beyoncé getting her hair braided in ‘Video Phone’ video. via Sony Music

Government officials in Tennessee have found a new way to tax Black people. This time, they’re aiming at natural hair stylists.

The Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and barber Examiners are fining natural hairstylists up to $100K if they don’t obtain a license. The Board issues an initial fine of $1K every time a hair stylists performs “natural haircare without a license.” Several hair stylists have been fined for multiple offenses.

According to Forbes, natural hairstylist Fatau Diouf pays nearly $900 per month for a repayment plan after being fined $16K for braiding hair.

The Board wants to force natural hairstylists to complete a 300-hour course that could cost between $1,500 and $5K. The course can take up to two months or more to complete.

The fine is basically a tax for being Black. Most natural hairstylists are taught how to braid hair by family and friends. It’s a cultural tradition that does not have to be learned in a classroom. The Tennessee government is just looking for new ways to take money from those who reside in the state. 

Rep. David Hawk and Sen. Mark Norris are currently sponsoring a state bill that would repeal the need for natural hairstylists to have a license to braid hair.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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