Dove's New Short Film Highlights That Black Girls Experience Hair Discrimination #AsEarlyAsFive

The film coincides with the release of the findings from the CROWN Coalition's 2021 study on girls' (ages 5-18) experiences with race-based hair discrimination.
Courtesy of Dove Courtesy of Dove
By Victoria Uwumarogie · January 27, 2022

Earlier this week, beauty brand Dove, a co-founder of the CROWN Coalition (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) to end race-based hair discrimination, held a virtual assembly to share the results of their 2021 Crown Research Study for Girls. What the study revealed, among other things, was that 53% of Black mothers who have daughters who have dealt with hair discrimination (being sent home from school over a style, told a style or natural hair was “inappropriate” or made to feel shame about their hair) say their girls experienced the discrimination as early as 5 years old. That alarming news was the inspiration for the brand’s short film, As Early As Five, created by filmmaker Aisha Ford. It details, in heartbreaking fashion, how negative views of natural hair and beloved Black hairstyles impact little girls and continue to have an impact into adulthood as Black women navigate the corporate world.

In addition to debuting the powerful short film, the assembly also gave a platform to Black girls and women to discuss their own experiences with race-based hair discrimination, including actress and beloved social media personality Tabitha Brown.

“I understand those stories,” she said during the event. “I am that little girl.”

For the star and mother, she had multiple disappointing experiences with being told her natural hair wasn’t acceptable. The first one came as a little girl when a Black woman teacher actually told her that her hair was “inappropriate.” Another experience came when a friend told her that her natural hair wouldn’t work as she pursued a career in acting, causing her to wear her hair straight for years.

She was eventually able to get past the feeling that her hair wasn’t good enough as is, and now, she stands out as an influencer and performer with her God-given curls. Brown wants to empower girls and other young women to embrace their coils.

“I have plenty stories of people telling me my hair is not enough,” Brown says. “My hope is that moving forward, we won’t have anymore stories to tell.”

The key to ensuring that is to sign the CROWN Act petition to help put an end to race-based hair discrimination. And if you need more reasons to support, see the study’s findings below from the 1000 girls surveyed (500 Black girls, 500 white girls ages 5 to 18) about their early experiences with it and get involved:

Hair discrimination is happening early and continues as she gets older

  • 53% of Black mothers, whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination, say their daughters experienced the discrimination as early as 5 years old  
  • 86% of Black teens who experience discrimination state they have experienced discrimination based on their hair by the age of 12  
  • 100% of Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools who report experiencing hair bias and discrimination state they experienced the discrimination by the age of 10 

Exposure to hair discrimination has a negative impact on Black girls’ self-esteem 

  • While 90% of Black girls believe their hair is beautiful, the microaggressions and discrimination she endures has an impact on how she sees herself 
  • 81% of Black girls in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair were straight 

Hair discrimination also has a generational impact 

  • As previously revealed in the Dove CROWN Research Study (2019), Black women were 1.5 times more likely to have reported having been sent home or know of a Black women sent home from the workplace because of her hair
  • The 2021 Dove CROWN Research for Girls reveals that 47% of Black mothers report having experienced discrimination related to their hair
  • Among them, 81% remember the experience happening by the time they were 12 years old  

Hair bias and discrimination is prevalent in predominately white schools where Black girls are most vulnerable to racial bias and discrimination 

  • 66% of Black girls in majority-white schools report experiencing discrimination
  • 45% of Black girls in all school environments report experiencing hair bias and discrimination
  • Trauma from these experiences causes girls to miss days from school 
  • Teenage Black girls are missing a week of school due to hair dissatisfaction

Learn more about The CROWN Act at Dove.com.

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