Tenn. lawmakers tour natural hair salons in hopes of offering extra resources

Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 8:18 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Friday, two Tennessee lawmakers toured multiple Shelby County locations to find the best ways to support the natural hair industry.

“When I say natural hair, I’m talking about coily curly type of hair,” said Yvette Granger, owner of Natural Divinity Salon.

Yvette Granger has owned Natural Divinity Hair Salon for over a decade.

She’s been recognized on the state level for her work in natural hair, as a member of the Tennessee Board of cosmetology and Barber Examiners.

“Since 2014, I got appointed by Governor Haslam 2014 so now it’s been seven years,” she told WMC Action News 5.

So, it was only fitting that her salon would be the first stop along State representative Antonio Parkinson and state speaker Cameron Sexton’s tour of natural hair businesses.

Parkinson wanted Sexton to see firsthand the opportunities that the natural hair care business presents.

“We have a lot of natural hair leaders, strong people in the industry,” said Antonio Parkinson, State Representative. “This is a billion-dollar industry, and I just don’t want us to be asleep at the wheel, while other people capitalize on this industry.”

“It’s great to have people in business for over a decade, who have been successful. And we should do everything we can, as a state to help small businesses like this be successful,” said Cameron Sexton, Speaker of the House.

The legislators sat down with granger to discuss what’s next for the natural hair care world in Tennessee.

“Legislation is important because we want to maintain the integrity of the industry,” said Parkinson.

Parkison said in 2013 he created and helped pass a bill that approved standalone natural hair care schools, the first of which was the Institute of Beauty. The school launched in 2016.

Granger wants to see a halt on deregulation, like the state law allowing just 16 hours of hygiene training to receive a braiding certificate.

She also wants more business resources after seeing the issues business owners faced when applying for PPP loans.

“There was some cases where people couldn’t get their money because they didn’t have their taxes and stuff right,” she said. “And there’s a lack of knowledge, but we don’t have those resources to go to. So I think those things were really important to him and to understand how important this is to us.”

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