New York -- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has released the following statement in response to the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act passing in the House of Representatives. Thanks to the leadership of Congressmembers Bonnie Watson Coleman, Barbara Lee, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Gwen Moore, who introduced this bill, it will now go to a vote in the Senate. 

"Equity strongly agrees that hair texture is a protected racial characteristic, and it’s time for federal law to recognize this,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “This law asserts that neglect or penalization of a worker due to their natural hair texture is racist and illegal. We urge swift passage in the Senate.” 

Background: Last year, Equity and other arts and entertainment unions put forth a federal policy agenda for inclusion in the arts. The federal passage of the CROWN Act was a crucial item on that list. 

Also last year, Equity’s council approved the “Hair Texture as a Protected Characteristic” resolution, which mandates Equity to bring “hair texture” to the protected characteristics in the anti-discrimination clause of all negotiations going forward.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks

March 18, 2022