The war on braiding continues in Tennessee. The Institute of Justice (IJ) reports that the state has fined dozens of braiders and more than 30 salons nearly $100K for not having braiding licenses. The IJ is now working with Tennessee braiders to get rid of this “overly burdensome” regulation which calls for at least 300 hours of coursework with only three schools in the entire state offering the course.
[SEE ALSO: Another State Has Won The War On Hair Braiding]
Braiders without licenses are currently fined $1000 for each instance of “performing natural hair care services for clients without a license.” That isn’t just for braiders, either. The state is also fining salons and braid shops. Licensed hair stylist Fatou Diouf is shelling out nearly $830 a month in a payment plan after being fined $16,000 for hiring braiders without a license.
Braiders are taking the battle back to the courts with new legislature sponsored by Gov. Bill Haslam, Rep. David Hawk and Sen. Mark Norris to repeal the state license for natural hair stylists. Fatou, who has become the face of the new bill, said the fines are “very stressful” for her to pay in addition to rent, taking care of her two children, dealing with a divorce and sending money to her family in Senegal. She also testified in court in favor of the bill which could make it the 24th state to allow braiders the freedom to work without licensure.
While the bill is backed by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (which includes the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners), some licensed natural hair stylists are against it because it will also remove training in sanitation and scalp care.
I’m all for getting rid of these crazy licensure requirements, but personally still believe braiders need some sort of state regulated training. A braider (especially one working in a shop) should have standard knowledge in sanitizing their tools and stations and caring for natural hair — including tension, alopecia, scalp infections, etc. With more than 20 states still calling for extensive licensure requirements, I hope that there will be some middle ground that doesn’t keep braiders from securing their bag while also helping clients keep their edges.