T.I. is speaking out against a private Catholic school in Louisiana that sent home an 11-year-old black girl this week because her braided hair violated a school rule against hair extensions.
The Atlanta rapper called out the officials at Christ The King School in Louisiana on his Instagram page Tuesday.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves…although I know you aren’t,” he captioned a video of the incident. The footage went viral. “This young lady is beautiful and her hair is perfectly fine,” he continued. “Unless of course, you have an issue with black people’s hair in generally [sic]? Or is it that you intended to publicly ostracize & humiliate these young ladies so they’d be ashamed of who they are and how they look…”
According to WDSU, the girl, Faith Fennidy, had worn her hair in thick braids with extensions to school on Monday, something she had done every day for the past two years. But over the summer, the school had changed their hair policy to prohibit “extensions, clip-ins or weaves” for the new school year.
Faith’s brother, Steven Evergreen Fennidy, recorded the video of his sister and his family leaving the school after they were told her hair was unacceptable. In the clip, the young girl’s hair is in a neat ponytail that would be acceptable by most standards.
She can be heard crying as the adults around her argue over her hair.
I hate that I have to post this. But this just isn’t right. This is an issue we tried to resolve with the school, but they won’t compromise at all. My sister Faith and many little black girls wear extensions. She’s been attending this school for two years and wearing extensions. Over the summer the school has sneakily added in a policy, that no extensions, clip-ins or weaves are allowed. Faith got a notice on the first day of class and it’s ridiculous that these schools that we are PAYING for, will go in and make policies without consulting or trying to figure out how this will affect your life or your child’s life. Extensions make the hair easier to maintain. It allows my sister to have access to the swimming pool without having to get her hair Re-done every night. How do you make a policy without even having a discussion. It’s because you don’t care and it’s just one more barrier to entry for black people. This decision is going to affect black children more than white children. Please share this video. All the principal could say was, “They’re swinging it and things like that...” My entire middle and high school career I was in private school I sat behind a million white girls who would play in their hair. Re-do their pony tails a million times a day. Nothing was ever said. She kept saying the issue is it’s not their natural hair. It’s a style that we are not allowing. It’s not uniform. WOW. This is Christ The King Middle School in Gretna, Louisiana. This has all just been very upsetting.
“Extensions make the hair easier to maintain,” Steven wrote on Facebook under the video which he later posted. “It allows my sister to have access to the swimming pool without having to get her hair re-done every night. How do you make a policy without even having a discussion? It’s because you don’t care and it’s just one more barrier to entry for black people.”
ESSENCE reached out to Christ The King School but didn’t immediately hear back.
The superintendent for the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Office of Catholic Schools, RaeNell Billiot Houston, defended the school’s decision in a statement saying that parents were notified of the new policy over the summer and before the school year begun.
“Furthermore, the school leadership worked with families as needed to ensure compliance,” he told NBC News.
As for T.I., he included his own words of encouragement for Faith in his Instagram post.
“Your hair is beautiful. Your skin is beautiful. Your minds are beautiful. And not only that… you’re so undeniably beautiful & brilliant that you threaten anyone who tells you otherwise, to the point that they’re willing to stoop to levels as low as this to discourage you, so you’ll give up on your goals and never reach the levels of greatness they know await you. Please DONT LET THEM WIN!!!”
According to NOLA.com, Faith’s parents have chosen to withdraw her from the school. The family told WWL-TV they are meeting with a lawyer about filing a discrimination lawsuit.