Saturday, December 23, 2006

Call to Openly Defy Braiding Laws

Received this in my inbox not too long ago:


Contact: Taalib-Din A. Uqdah



National Association calls for open defiance of new PA law governing a cultural and traditional practice. The American Hairbraiders and Natural Haircare Association, (AHNHA), a nationally recognized trade association and lobbying group based in Washington, DC, has called on its local membership ----- as well as braiders, locticians and natural hair stylist across the state of Pennsylvania ----- to not comply with the state's most recent attempt to regulate the cultural art form of braiding, twisting and locking hair.

This past July 5, 2006, the governor signed into law a bi-partisan bill authorizing the codification of a 5,000-year-old ancient cultural and traditional practice of hair braiding, locking and natural hair styling (without the use of chemicals) by persons of African descent. The State is attempting to force these self-taught artisans to attend a traditional cosmetology school (at great risk to their health) for a 150-300 course (if available) and be tested by the state upon completion.

AHNHA founder and executive director, Taalib-Din Uqdah noted "there are no inherent dangers associated with braiding, twisting or locking hair, nor were there any threats to public health and safety." When reminded that some cosmetologist had claimed that braiding hair too tightly would cause balding, Uqdah responded, "that too tight shoes would cause, calluses, bunions and corns, but state legislators are not trying to license shoe salesmen." He went on to note, "that this issue has always been about money, race, control, power and politics; besides, there are more states in this country that now recognize exemption of natural stylist or some form of it, than a non-complying regulatory scheme like PA."

He went on to sight AHNHA's success in calling for it's membership's stance on open defiance in OH, TN, TX and NY as prime examples of those state's failure in forcing these traditional artisans to comply. He further noted these state's failure in convincing traditional cosmetology school's to even offer the abbreviated braiders courses which often average about $3,000 in tuition and can take 3-6 months to complete. "Compliance becomes a mute point when you can't comply, even if you wanted too" stated Uqdah.

Like many other cultural and traditional practices amongst other ethnic groups, braiding, twisting and locking hair has been passed down from generation to generation by observation, then practice, then teaching others as they were taught.

Uqdah concluded that, "It's ironic that a state whose motto is 'virtue, liberty and independence,' would loose its moral compass by instituting a law that stands as an entry level barrier to entrepreneurship, while enslaving some of its citizens under a failed occupational licensing scheme in order to protect a chemical cartel."

Forward ever, backward never!

The debate continues...


GeAnita S. said...


Anonymous said...

The creator of sisterlocks had to go through something similar. She won her court battle.