I'm a dude who has had many questionable hair choices. Whether it was because I was young, dumb, poor, cheap, whatever... My last barber fled the country after having an incredibly traumatic experience where one of her dogs drowned and she nearly went down as well. I got a farewell cut the day she sold her shop, and now she's in Mexico with a mid-life crisis thing going on.
That happened last summer, and my hair at the moment is maaaaaybe long enough to braid, but there is some impending legislation to change who can do that.
Soon after Sojourna Worthy moved to Oklahoma from California, she was stopped in the grocery store by a woman admiring her braided hair and asking if Worthy took clients.
Worthy, in her early 20s at the time, quickly had a growing group of women who would come to her home to have her braid their hair.
“The next thing I know, I’m doing all kinds of people’s hair,” said Worthy, now 48 and owner of Twist It Sistah salon in Del City. “But then I did a woman’s hair, and after I finished - seven to eight hours of work - she said ‘Do you know what you just did is illegal?’ And I’m looking at her like ‘What are you talking about?’”
At the time, a person in Oklahoma was required to have a license or certificate to do services involving hair.
“When she left my home, I called every person who was planning on coming to get their hair done and told them ‘I’m sorry, I can’t braid your hair,’” Worthy recalled.
Who is this narc who went through the long process of getting a beautiful braid and then turns to the stylist like, "This was illegal." If you're a white woman and dream about becoming a meme, that's the way to do it. Please do not be Braid Banishing Brandie.
Senator Micheal Bergstrom is looking to deregulate the hair industry in regards to people who do braids:
He filed legislation for the 2020 session that would slightly expand the services a hair braiding technician could offer to include mild trimming of hair and use of hair extensions while also completely deregulating the practice.
His bill would also get rid of any regulations for cosmeticians, who practice makeup application, cutting and shampooing hair and blowouts.
“This is an approach that is being taken elsewhere around the country,” said Bergstrom, R-Adair. “We are putting an unnecessary burden on people. If it is something that needs to be regulated, then we regulate it. Otherwise, we need to stop charging for licenses that we don’t need to have in the first place.
Normally, I do not agree with these 'DEREGULATE THE WORLD!' Republicans that populate Oklahoma, but for once... Maybe I agree!
I've got a lot of friends who spent a lot of time going through cosmetic school to learn their trade, and they're all talented and fantastic, and I understand why they would want to keep their trade protected. But there are a lot of problematic, racial elements to licensing who gets to do braids and who doesn't. Even on the wider (whiter) scale, I want to know that the person who is cutting my hair knows what they are doing, but it only takes one awful haircut for me to find a new stylist.
Maybe Oklahoma has been in the pocket of Big Supercuts money for a long time, but I'm gonna cross the aisle and agree with Senator Bergstrom and say that it shouldn't be illegal for people to braid hair without a license.