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'I Am Not My Hair'

Panel set to discuss African American hair issues, Oct. 15

Alexia Morgan
Alexia Morgan

When Alexia Morgan, SGA senior class senator, heard about situations where professors or other advisors suggested that African American hair was not seen as professional, she decided to create an event to create awareness of the inherent discrimination in that viewpoint. 

Morgan decided to organize “I Am Not My Hair,” a panel discussion to discuss the issue. The event, organized in conjunction with LU’s office of global diversity and inclusion and the department of communication and media, will be held on the eighth floor of Gray Library at 4 p.m., Oct. 15. The event will also be streamed live on the global diversity and inclusion Facebook page. 

“The ‘I Am Not My Hair’ panel will have different business professionals, past faculty, faculty, and a student talking about the importance of loving black girl hair or just black hair in general,” Morgan said. “Those on the panel will also talk about how they had to navigate the waters of having African American hair in their professions, and how black hair is business professional.”

In recent years, there have been several highly publicized incidents of natural hair discrimination. DeAndre Arnold, was a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, when he was put in in-school suspension in January of this year and told he may not be able to graduate if he did not cut his dreads. Arnold said his hair was a symbol of his Trinidadian culture. On Jan. 10, 2019, a video of Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler in New Jersey, went viral when he was forced to cut his dreads before a match if he wanted to compete. In May of 2016 a young lady, who opted not to give her name to the press, was told by her London employer to, “wear a weave at work – your afro hair is unprofessional.

The event is about education, Morgan said, and not about calling people out.

“It is more about educating others, and coming to an understating about everybody’s differences,” she said. “If we do not know there is a problem, we will not be able to deal with it. This is a safe place to learn, so come with questions.”

The keynote speaker will be State Representative Carl Sherman who will discuss the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), a bill proposed by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus which will prohibit discrimination based on a person's hair texture or hairstyle if that style or texture is commonly associated with a race or national origin.

Morgan said she invites everyone, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, to participate. 

“If anything, this is not geared toward our African American students,” she said. “We know our hair. Yes, I want African American students to come so they can feel uplifted and know they are not alone. However, I also want this to be a safe space for everybody to come and learn, and for everybody, regardless of race or ethnicity, to appreciate our hair like we do. I want everyone to be a part of it.”

 The panel will talk the struggles of having African American hair in the business and professional world, Morgan said.

 “They will talk about having to deal with their hair and what their experiences were,” she said. “We are also going to have somebody talk about the mental aspects, and how it feels having someone say your hair is not professional, and having to decide on how you are going to wear your hair to an interview.”

 The event will follow social distancing rules.

 “It is going to be spaced out,” Morgan said. “That is why we chose the eighth floor of the library. It is not full occupancy, and about only 48 people can come. People will have to be turned away at the door, but we are broadcasting on Facebook live. Everyone is highly encouraged to wear a mask.”

 For watch the event live, visit

Category: News