Diversity in Accountability: The CROWN Coalition

With Dove being a noteworthy ally.

Crowns and Conversations brunch, courtesy of ESSENCE

Crowns and Conversations brunch, courtesy of ESSENCE

Outside of the amazing musical features, this year, Essence Fest featured a collaboration worth noting; an initiative that is bringing awareness to the all-too-common discrimination against POC hair textures and hairstyles in the workplace. The collaboration includes The Crown Coalition and Dove. (Yes, Dove). Together, the duo hosted a “Crowns and Conversations" Brunch to celebrate their efforts behind the “Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (CROWN) Act (aks SB 188) in California, which was approved and signed by the governor on July 3rd. The CROWN Coalition is solely made up of the Nation Urban League, Color of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. So what did Dove contribute to this act? An inspiring commercial with happily dancing POC women in white sheets talking about how much they love Dove, perhaps? Or maybe a diversity initiative that is detailed in one press release and never heard of again? Wrong again! In fact, Dove sponsored research in hopes of highlighting the biases and discrimination against Black women’s natural hair.

With the backlash of Dove’s controversial advertisement only being a couple years ago, Dove taking the initiative to address such a tone deaf circumstance as an opportunity to develop inclusive strategies serves as a great example of what supporting POC can look like as a beauty corporation: Putting your resources where your intentions are. Diverse commercials and brown hues on bottles can only go so far and, while Dove has done its hair share of that as well, it is setting a new standard on what inclusivity truly means.

What’s more, the legislation was signed by the governor this month (July 2019). Thus, the women of color and how they express their identity through their hair will now be protected by LAW. With the success of this notion in place, Dove and The CROWN Coalition also currently have an ad campaign which discusses the research discovered on the scrutiny and discrimination Black women face in the work environment while simultaneously encouraging viewers to sign a petition to get this legislative notion passed across the country. Accountability to a diverse mission doesn’t have to be a half-measure of diversity initiatives. Sometimes putting your resources where your mouth is is better than putting your resources where the camera is. With Dove continuing their support in raising awareness of the CROWN Act to other states, their contribution and support is not only on the backend but also sustainable.

There are many ways to support people of color in beauty and fashion. It will be interesting to see what other corporations and businesses choose to do given the plethora of opportunity. Yes, representation is necessary and our voices deserve to be heard at the business meetings. We need to not only be seen as influencers of the market but as the value of supporting change in POC lives outside of the customer/supplier relationship.