During their acceptance speech at the Oscars, director of the Academy Award-winning animated short film Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry and his co-producer, Karen Rupert Toliver, advocated for the CROWN Act, a bill that aims to end hair discrimination in America. Since then the act has gained international attention and campaigners hope that the momentum will help it to be made law in more US states.

What is the Crown Act?

Last December, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Senator Corey Booker were among the cosponsors who introduced the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act of 2019, a bill that will ban discrimination based on hair textures and styles associated to a certain race or nationality.

Who is Matthew A. Cherry?

A former NFL player, Mr Cherry wrote and directed Hair Love, an animated short film about an African American father doing his daughter's hair, based on a book of the same title.

Joining him at the Academy Awards was teen DeAndre Arnold who was suspended from school and banned from his graduation ceremony in Texas for wearing his hair in long dreadlocks.

Cherry said in many cases, black people are penalised for their natural textures and styles.

"'Hair Love' was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation. We wanted to normalise black hair," he said.

The film was created after a Kickstarter campaign that was launched in 2017 became so popular that Mr Cherry realised there was significant interest in the topic, raising more then $280,000.

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Why is the bill needed?

While many people are still told not to wear their hair in styles such as dreadlocks and braids that honour their culture and heritage, the bill is needed to face off continued discrimination based on racial stereotypes.

Some hairstyles were forbidden in the US military until just a few years ago, when they were relaxed, although regulations are still in place.

Ms Rupert Toliver said in her acceptance speech: "We have a firm belief that representation matters deeply. Especially in cartoons. Because in cartoons, that's how we first see our movies, and that's how we shape our lives and how we see the world."

When considering the bill in Colorado, the caucus heard testimony from dozens of men and women, who say they’ve been discriminated against based on their hair.

Which states have passed the bill?

On Friday, the state of Colorado became the fourth state to pass the legislation.

CROWN laws have also been passed in California, New York, and New Jersey. The Boston City Council supports a similar proposal and it is being considered in Illinois.

Now around 25 states are considering passing a version of the bill, according to the CROWN Coalition, a network of civil rights organizations, black advocacy groups and the beauty brand Dove.