'Sweet' viral video of weightlifter's teammates taking out beads is why the CROWN Act is needed

Viral videos come and go. The best ones warm your heart and leave you smiling and feeling like your faith in humanity is restored. That’s what many people felt as they watched the video of a weightlifter for Bruce High School in Mississippi, whose teammates and competitors helped remove her hair beads so she could qualify to lift. The powerlifting competition was a state championship, and after the lifter finished her first lift squat, a judge informed her coach them that she could not compete in the next lift with beads in her hair, according to Holly Preston Wilkes, who shared the story to her Facebook page.

The action of the girls watching this unfold is heartwarming. These fellow weightlifters didn’t hesitate to jump in and help the soon-to-be disqualified student when they saw her begin to take her beads out of her hair. Eventually there were so many hands in her head that she had to stop helping, and in the end all of the beads were out before she took the platform for her next lift. When reading the viral post, which now has more than 34,000 shares, it appears the weightlifter was singled out due to a rule about “jewelry etc.” but beads are not jewelry. Beads actually serve a functional purpose outside of some beauty aesthetic.


It’s no secret that the majority of Black people have a different hair texture than other ethnicities, and even within the Black community hair texture can vary from person to person. Hair textures within the same family can also differ, just like any other feature, and for the majority of Black people, our hair defies gravity. Little Black girls grew up wearing ballies, barrettes and beads on the ends of their hair, and others misunderstood their use, assuming they served one purpose, to be pretty. In fact, the use of these items helps weigh the hair down so it doesn’t stick up, which can be seen as unkempt by societal standards (thankfully this is quickly changing with more people embracing their natural hair).

This is why the video that was viewed as a sweet moment serves as a troubling reminder to some Black people. Our hair is somehow inappropriate, even when it’s neatly placed in a protective hairstyle as this weightlifter’s hair was styled. As the video plays, the high schooler’s braids begin to slowly raise as the beads are removed from the ends. There’s no clip showing the end result, but it’s obvious that the beads are there for more than decorative purposes. If there was concern about the hair possibly being in the eyes of the competing weightlifter, then a borrowed headband or ponytail holder would have sufficed. The idea that she was singled out due to a questionable rule that would deem beads in the hair as jewelry simply prove why the CROWN Act is needed.

Representation of different cultures is needed when sweeping rules are made for sports, workplaces and other areas, because no small group of people can know what is culturally significant of all cultures. We can’t grow unless we ask questions and listen to people that may look different than us. This is especially true when we are writing laws and rules that are to be applied generally without cultural considerations that may not align with what was written. The passing of the CROWN Act will help eliminate rules that may be unintentionally harmful to Black people, who are simply attempting to care for their hair in a way that is not only pleasing to their own eye, but protected from damage.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less

Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

Keep Reading Show less