This project would use Black Twitter and News Media to examine conversations surrounding natural hair discrimination within U.S. institutions (specifically schools K-12). We will also be doing a qualitative study with Individual participants in interview formats in addition to the above quantitative approach. This includes personal experiences, languages used, and empathy surrounding experiences. We would consider the following aspects in our analysis: school demographics, school administration demographics, Crown Act standing/ Location (geolocation analysis), Hairstyle discrimination, Public vs Private school, Language used and Time Period (time series analysis).

The goal is to create an open-source platform (Fig 1) that will fulfill the following tasks

  1. Create a database that can be used for future research- A portion of the said website will be used to provide access to the data, documentation on usage, and establish the security and ethical process for using the data

  2. The website will also act as a platform where women can share their stories in audio format( through an automated or personed helpline) or text ( through an inbuilt form)

  3. The website will also have a portion focused on sharing the why of the project and helping new researchers understand the context of the data and research.

Research Questions

  • What themes exist within dialogue surrounding the CROWN ACT in Media Coverage and Black Twitter?

  • What language is being used to discuss natural hair experiences?

  • How has policy at educational and work institutions changed since the introduction of CROWN Act?

  • If/how the frequency of discriminatory behavior based on hair varies between educational and work settings


For this research project, we will capture the narrative experiences of Black Women around the globe as they share their personal life experiences with natural hair. We will collect this data using a website specific to the research project, that will allow for uploads of written, video, and audio narratives shared by Black women. Participants will be prompted to share stories based on the following prompts: Please share a story that demonstrates how you feel about your natural hair and why you feel that way? Please share a story about a time you felt positive about your natural hair. Why did you feel that way? Please share a story about a time when you felt negatively about your natural hair? Why did you feel that way? Additionally, a short questionnaire will also provide women’s general data points age, race/ ethnicity, nationality, demographic location, income, and education levels, etc. Participants will be recruited using flyers and videos shared on social media. Additionally, snowball sampling techniques will be applied to gain additional research participants. Data collection will proceed through data saturation. Sentiment analysis tools will be used to analyze all data. All data will be analyzed using techniques of grounded theory with literature regularly incorporated into monthly thematic memos. Security measures will be considered and implemented throughout the website and database to ensure the safety, privacy, and anonymity of research participants.

Research Team

Dr. Nicole Dezrea Jenkins

Yash Tadimalla

Dr. Nicole Dezrea Jenkins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. She is a qualitative researcher and trained ethnographer. Her research centers on the experiences of Black women in various institutions within the U.S. by capturing their narratives. Her most recent research project is based on two years of ethnography in an African Braiding and weaving salon. The resulting publications from this research include Contested Identities: African Diaspora and Identity Making in a Hair Braiding Salon in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography in 2019 and her current book project tentatively entitled CROWNed: Back Women’s Entanglement with Beauty, Blackness, and Family.

Yash Tadimalla is a Doctoral student at UNC Charlotte, under the Interdisciplinary track in the College of Computing and Informatics. He is currently assisting various research projects under the Center for Education Innovation (CEI) Lab and the Human-Centered Computing (HCC) Lab. His current doctoral research explores understanding and analyzing various forms of inequities in the fields of computing and education through an intersectional lens. Prior to his advocacy work in the North Carolina Region, He served under various UN SDG initiatives and Community Service projects related to advocating for equitable education access across multiple countries in Southeast Asia. His research areas span the verticals of : Data Science, Intersectionality Research, CS Education, Diversity Equity and Inclusivity Research, Human-Centered Computing research.