So far, the state of Tennessee has fined people a whopping $100,000 for braiding hair.
In an op-ed published on Forbes by Nick Sabilla on behalf of the Institute for Justice, the above-mentioned sum is a total of all violations for unlicensed braiding. In fact, none of the fines were prompted due to health or sanitation violations.
In his piece, Sabilla mentions Tennessee resident Fatou Diouf who has been braiding hair for almost twenty years. She’s a licensed natural hair stylist and has turned her craft into a business.
But recently, according to the article, the state has forced her to pay $16,000 in fines due to employing workers who did not have a government-issued license to braid hair.
“I never did any other job but hair braiding my whole life,” she said. “I cannot recall a time when I did not know how.”
Upon examining disciplinary actions and meeting minutes for the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, the Institute for Justice identified $100,000 in fines against several hair braiders. The institute also found that more than 30 different natural hair shops and salons have been fined since 2009.
The board will typically issue a “civil penalty” of $1,000 for every instance a person performs “natural hair care services for clients without a license” it catches wind of. The board has not only targeted shops like Fatou’s, but those who work in unlicensed salons or out of their homes.
Fatou, who is under a payment plan for her most recent violations, said the fines are “very stressful.”
As a result, she is one of the more outspoken people when it comes to advocating for reform.