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Zigleys’ Daria Dana Talks Corporate Hair Discrimination And It’s Roots in Racism

July 21, 2023

Be it an abundant afro, kinky, coily, or loc’d up, textured hair is an entity of its own – one of beauty and pride. Our ancestors hailed our hair as sacred, with various styles designed for celebratory and sacred purposes. And let’s be honest, Black hair is truly on top regarding versatility

Despite the many things to love about textured tresses, hair discrimination in the workplace is still a very real thing. AFROPUNK sat down with Daria Dana of hair jewelry brand Zigleys, to talk about hair discrimination in the workplace, why it matters, and what we can do about it.

Black women and the negative impact of hair discrimination
According to the 2023 CROWN Workplace Research study, one-fifth of Black women surveyed had been sent home from work because of their hair. Black women’s hair was also two-and-a-half times more likely to be deemed unprofessional for the workplace. These negative biases impact more than just career and finances. According to Metro, fifty-two percent of Black people report being mentally affected by hair discrimination.

Issues like these are part of what inspired Zigleys. 

“For so long, we have heard that these hairstyles are unprofessional and incompatible with luxury,” she explains.“But our hair, our crowns, are very personal to us and have deep cultural significance. So why not adorn it?”

Countering negative Black hair stereotypes
Crafted to be heirlooms, Zigleys’ regal designs illuminate Black culture and Afrocentric hairstyles (think locs, braids, and twists) with distinctive pieces crafted from 18-karat gold. 

“I didn’t feel that our hair, the most important part of our bodies, should be the only place we don’t, won’t, or don’t have the option to wear fine jewelry.“

No stranger to workplace hair discrimination, Dana discusses a prospective employer’s particularly nasty comment on her locs in the past. 

“I was super confident in my hair, locs, and Blackness, so luckily, I didn’t feel negatively impacted,” she recalls. “Unfortunately, getting to that place of self-assuredness can be a journey for Black women.” 

Thanks to brands like Dana’s, a journey that doesn’t have to be so hard. 

CROWN Held High
Speaking of “crowns”, the CROWN (“Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”) Act is now law in 27 states. Prohibiting race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. Its passage is a game-changer.  

More states pass the CROWN Act into law daily, while others draw up legislation inspired by it. Even the fashion world is abuzz, with WWD, Glamour, and Byrdie coverage

This is a significant win for Black-owned luxury brands like Zigleys. 

“I hope to eventually see a day where traditionally Black hairstyles are not associated with unprofessionalism. I’d love to see it not matter or play a factor in the hiring process at all,” Dana says. 

“But as we know, it’s an extension of racism, and that’s a battle we’ve been fighting for centuries and continue to fight daily.”