The Natural Hair and Braid Coalition’s Legacy and Beyond Event Celebrated 30 Years of Natural Hair Licensing in New York State


To honor the 30th anniversary of Natural Hair Care Licensing in New York State, this past December, the Natural Hairstyle and Braid Coalition (NHBC) hosted Legacy and Beyond, a night dedicated to celebration, reflection, and connection. The event took place at the Gentleman’s Factory in downtown Brooklyn, and The Tease had the pleasure of being in attendance. The evening was informative and high-spirited, filled with meaningful conversations, a panel discussion from NHBC members reflecting on significant milestones over the past thirty years, and even an exciting glow-in-the-dark hair runway show.

For those unaware, the NHBC was formed in 2021 by author and Textured Hair Master Pioneer Expert Diane Da Costa; activist, master pioneer, and author Diane C. Bailey; licensed braider and founder of International I Love Braids Day (IILBD) Debra Hare-Bey; Emmy-award winning producer Natasha Gaspard, and educator and NYS Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee Appointee Erin H. Maybin. Hare-Bey, and Bailey are two of the original trailblazers of the Natural Hairstyling License, which made history as the first of its kind in this country, when it was passed into NYS law in 1993. The pair teamed up with Da Costa, Maybin, and Gaspard, as well as the Center for Law and Social Justice, the NYC Black Political Women’s Club, and Models of Color in an unyielding effort to ensure the existing license is protected and updated. 

During the panel at the Legacy and Beyond event, Bailey, who serves as the NHBC’s Co-President, reflected on the 1993 victory, and how it involved her getting appointed as an advisor to the state.  She also touched on  the importance of mentorship and community in these feats. “When you’re in a room with people who don’t believe in you, who don’t understand you. They’re looking at you like, what? What is that? They want to diminish what you’re trying to say,” she shared. “I couldn’t go to the bathroom, because when I’d come back, they would be in a huddle. I couldn’t eat lunch, because they ate lunch together. There was this whole piece of cultural differences and dynamics that I had to play up for two years, but guess what? We got it done.” 

Maybin, who serves at the NHBC’s EVP of Education Development, also reflected on her experience as an advisor. “The reason I’m on that board is because there’s no one that looks like us on that board,” she said. “I said, ‘You know what? This needs to change.’ So I told them that, ‘ This needs to change’. I wrote them. I sent them emails. It took about 2 years for me to get the position, but I got it.” 

The panel also featured Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, who thanked the NHBC for “providing not only information, but technical support for policymakers” like herself. Solages also shared her experience with transitioning to natural hair, and urged the importance of educating cosmetologists. 

Altogether, the event was an incredible celebration of the hard work done to promote texture inclusivity within the hair industry, while making space for further conversation and change. We look forward to seeing what amazing milestones the NHBC reaches in the years to come.

To learn more about the NHBC, or to donate to their cause, visit their website or follow them on Instagram!

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Manon Bushong

Manon Bushong is currently an Editorial Intern at The Tease. Manon adores liquid eyeshadows, thrifting, and spontaneously changing her hair color. Manon loves experimenting with semi-permanent hair color, and her favorite brands for them are Overtone and Loreal Colorista.

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