Last Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a bill that would deregulate natural hair braiding. Before the passing of HB2717, hair braiders had to comply with state laws that made it mandatory for them to attend barber or cosmetology schools. If they did not attend, they would be subject to arrests and/or fines.
Isis Brantley was one of the main people to challenge the law and posed a constitutional challenge in 2013, and a federal court struck down the law in January. Brantely, owner of the Institute of Ancestral Braiding and founder of the Naturally Isis Natural Hair Parade and Festival helped change that law in 2007, but Texas was unrelenting and added the law to the barber and cosmetology requirements.
“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” said Brantley. “This vote by the Texas House means aspiring hair braiders from across the state are one step closer to being able to practice an ancestral art that dates back centuries, and do so without a government permission slip.”