Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Texas Court Rules in Favor of Hair Braider Isis Brantley

By January 27th, 2021No Comments
Texas Court Rules in Favor of Hair Braider Isis Brantley

This
natural hair movement has taken off so rapidly that we forget how it
even got started. As bloggers take the spotlight, accompanying us
through our personal hair care lessons together, we can now stop briefly
to appreciate one of the pioneers of this movement. Isis Brantley was
one of the first women to notice the need of spreading the art of
braiding from one woman to another. Not only did she live for this, she
fought for this.

And now she is celebrating a major victory as last week a federal
judge declared that the set of laws that were preventing Brantley and
other braiders from teaching students to braid for a living, were in
fact unconstitutional.  This has been a long-fought battle for Brantley,
who in 1979,
Brantley opened up the first natural hair salon in Texas. In the late
70’s natural hair had a different image, a different message. In my
interview with Brantley she shared that “The word ‘natural’ was a
negative word, so I helped people to challenge their jobs and change
their perception and began teaching hundreds of people how to braid,
twist and loc hair and potentially make it their business.”  In 1995,
the state came to her storefront to disclose it was illegal to braid in
Texas for profit.  Brantley recounted how in 1997 “seven law enforcement
officers barged into my building and handcuffed me to go to jail for
braiding without a cosmetology license. I got out of jail, got a lawyer
and in 2007 they grandfathered me in as a licensed braider.”
 

Read On!>>>

 It was not until 2006 that the Texas Department of Licensing and
Regulation made the Hair Braiding Certificate possible for budding
braiders to pursue. Although grandfathered in, Brantley was
not permitted to teach. The state then mandated for Brantley to comply
with barber-school regulations to be in compliance as a school of
cosmetology. This would require her to install at least ten
workstations, five sinks, and provide barbering textbooks. Furthermore
she would be required to relocate to a larger space.

Nevertheless, she has continued her craft of braiding and
instructing. Finally, in 2015 she won her case against the state of
Texas.  According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. District Judge Sparks wrote
that there was a “logical disconnect inherent in a scheme which
contemplates the existence of hair braiding schools but makes it
prohibitively difficult for a hair braiding school to enter the market
in hair braiding instruction.”

When I asked Brantley what her message to the natural hair community
is in light of the new ruling, she said she “would like the support of
the people; to pay homage to the fact that a resurrected soul of Madame
CJ Walker has stood on the front line for the economic liberty of ethnic
women. I ask that the natural hair community rally around me to help
put forth efforts to make this happen through me. From there, let’s work
to further this endeavor together.”

Leave a Reply