“What is the message I am receiving?” This was my initial thought as Orlena N. Blanchard graced the stage and shared her journey, with three other women, to make the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) a reality. This act prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyle, lifting an undue burden many Black women continue to carry. With greater awareness around this issue and new laws like the CROWN Act, more Black people are being empowered to show up to work and school as their most authentic selves.
Almost one month prior to the above moment, I’d attended a conference and heard Tawanna Burrous of Coach Diversity Institute share how much more empowered and courageous she felt when, for the first time in her life, she wore her crown of braided hair in its natural state. These two women connected feelings of courage and authenticity with the CROWN Act!
As I reflect on these stories of courage, I feel compelled to share this insight: your most authentic self is the gateway to adding value. When you become more comfortable in your skin (and hair), your energy is directed to providing suggestions, recommendations, and solutions from your unique lived experiences and perspective.
- Our creative self-expression can often be tied to our well-being.
- To create an honest sense of inclusion in the world, it’s important that everyone is allowed to feel as though they can express themselves.
- In order to dial up our courage, we need to dial down the constant worry about our authentic identity or how it’s being perceived in society.
Ask: “How much of my courage is masked by the parts of me I hide?”
Identify: “What one thing I can do to learn more about other cultural norms related to beauty and appearance?”
Act: “How can I support others that may not have historically had the privilege of showing up as courageously authentic?”