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Illinois just banned hairstyle discrimination. And it's all thanks to this incredible mom.
via Senator Mike Simmons / Twitter

If it is wrong to judge someone by the color of their skin, it should also be unacceptable to discriminate against them for the texture or style of their natural hair. Makes sense, right?

Unfortunately, Black people have had to deal with codes and rules that prevent them from wearing natural, protective hairstyles at school and in the workplace. According to the CROWN Act, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.

Black women are also 80% more likely than white women to agree with the following statement: "I have to change my hair from its natural state to fit in at the office."


Most of the policing of Black hair has centered around protective hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots. Protective styles are worn to grow healthier, longer hair, and to reduce split ends, knotting, and damage.

It's unimaginable that people have had to face scrutiny for protecting their hair.

Earlier this year, Ida Nelson's four-year-old son, Gus Hawkins IV (affectionately known as Jett), asked if he could put his hair in braids and she was happy to do it for him. "(Jett) was so excited, he wanted to go to school and show the teacher because that's what 4-year-olds want to do — show his friends and his teachers his cool hair," Nelson told Today.

But when he went to school with his hair in braids she was told it was a dress code violation. Jett attends Providence St. Mel School, an independent school in the West Side neighborhood of Chicago that has a predominantly Black student body.

"I said, 'We still have policies related to Black hair in 2021, as an all-Black school? I'm really shocked about that,'" she told Today of the conversation with the school. "We have progressed, we have so much more information. ... I thought surely this school would understand the trauma associated with policing Black hair and absolutely not have a policy like that."

Nelson removed her son's braids and put his hair in a ponytail, prompting another call from the school claiming it was a violation as well.

The conflict inspired Nelson to work with her congressional representatives to pass the CROWN Act in Illinois. The law is in effect in several states and cities and prohibits "race-based hair discrimination."

"I want every last one of my children to learn early what I learned late, which is how to embrace yourself and how to love yourself and that you do not have to change who you are, the things that you were born with ... in order to fit in with anyone else," she said.

On Friday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Jett Hawkins Law into effect which prohibits the state's schools from issuing rules regarding hairstyles historically associated with race and ethnicity, such as braids and twists. It also requires the Illinois State Board of Education to provide schools with educational materials to teach about protective hairstyles.

"For decades Black people have had too often their natural and protective hairstyles weaponized against them," Pritkzer said. "This is yet another way that Illinois is making powerful strides in transforming the culture of our schools."

Nelson was on hand for the singing of the law named after her son.

"For us, this is bigger than just hair. Our hair is an extension of who we are as a race and is deeply connected to our cultural identity," Ida said. "This is one huge step towards improving the mental health outcomes for our children, as it ensures that they will be in healthier learning environments."

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.