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

Research Questions


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 

Nicole Dezrea Jenkins , Ph.D. 

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. She is the recipient of the Princeton University Press Supportive Diverse Voices Book Proposal Development Grant and is currently working on her first book project from this research project, tentatively entitled CROWNed: Black Women’s Entanglement with U.S. Institutions. Her research on natural hair is intended to extend the conversation of natural hair discrimination globally by capturing the experiences of Black women around the globe who wear their natural hair. 

Christella Kwizera, Ph.D. 

Dr. Christella-Mariza Kwizera is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Burundi, in the Socio-Anthropology Department. She obtained her Ph.D. at Rennes 2 University (in France). Her thesis in Sociology named " Natural Hair Movement, a Natural Hair Rehabilitation Movement in Globalized Contexts is a comparative study based on social and economic effects, such as health and ecology in three countries: France, Kenya, and Senegal. The study analyzed the power and negotiation stakes between four forces presented in the  Natural Hair Movement:  African raw materials producers, Black diasporic beauty industry influencers, and entrepreneurs, not to forget the consumers in the globalized cosmetic industry. She is currently working on the publication of her thesis. Her participation in the research project Global- CROWNs study aligns with her research themes from African perspectives and its diasporas: gender, globalization, ecology, beauty, etc.

Dimitra Laurence Larochelle, Ph.D.

Dimitra Laurence Larochelle is an Associate Professor at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, as well as three master's degrees in Sociology from Université Paris Descartes, Communication from Université Panthéon-Assas, and Anthropology from Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis. She is the co-author of the book Video Mapping: Heritage in Lights and currently leads the research project titled Online Fatphobia: Representations, Discourses, and Practices—The Case of Instagram, which is funded by the Gender Institute and MSH Paris Nord. In addition, she serves as the secretary of the Research Committee 14 (Sociology of Communication, Knowledge, and Culture) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) and is a member of the board of RC 37 (Sociology of Arts) of the ISA.

Yash Tadimalla

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.