Memphis students reject bill that deregulates natural hair industry

Memphis students reject bill that deregulates natural hair industry

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A state lawmaker joined cosmetology students in rejecting a proposed bill that could make their education useless.

A bill making its way through Tennessee General Assembly would make it so hairstylists working on natural hair no longer need a license.

The bill would effectively repeal a 2013 law that allowed schools to create stand-alone natural hair programs where students could get certified.

"I'm in school now, and I've done paid my money. What will I be?" Dynastie Taylor said. "That would be a piece of paper. I don't think that's fair at all."

Before 2013, aspiring natural hair specialists had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go through cosmetology school. When the 2013 law passed, natural hair specialists could get trained and certified for a fraction of the cost and time.

"If you remove the license requirement for natural hair, natural hair schools will go away," Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) said. "I mean what reason would any have to go, if they don't need a license."

Critics of the proposed bill say without training, natural hair specialists could harm the hair of their customers.

However, Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), a supporter of the proposed bill, said passing the bill will make it more affordable for natural hair specialists to pursue their careers.

"Some of the things we've done through legislation have probably hindered some well-meaning people that just don't have the finances to be able to pay for the roadblocks we've put in front of them," Faison said.

Students training to be natural hair stylists said eliminating the license process could bring health hazards to the salons.

"What we are doing now--we are learning hair, scalp, what we can do, what we can't do," Taylor said.

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