The CROWN Coalition Takes Action To Dismantle Hair Discrimination In Swimming

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Dove and National Urban League, founding members of The CROWN Coalition, an alliance founded to end race-based hair discrimination and the official founders of the CROWN Act movement, have taken action stemming from a July 2nd decision by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) organization denying swim caps created for Black hair for competition at the Olympics. While there has been a formal apology issued by FINA and a commitment to review another request for inclusion in the next submission window in September, their original decision highlights the issue of hair discrimination in the sport. 

Hair is a critically important part of Black heritage, identity, and culture, and Black athletes should have the freedom to compete without being forced to forfeit their cultural identity or dignity. Dove and The CROWN Coalition are committed to driving cultural sensitivity and working to end hair discrimination with the CROWN Act, legislation that ends hair discrimination in the workplace and public schools. The Coalition is now working to influence local, regional, national and international governing bodies to adopt policies to ensure full, equitable participation in the sport of swimming; not excluding the use of swimwear and accessories allowing full access to the sport.

“Dove has always stood for beauty inclusivity and we believe athletes should be able to experience inclusivity in pools as well,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of North America Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever.  “This matter underscores the continued importance of passing CROWN Act legislation. It is why the work being done by Dove and the CROWN Coalition is so incredibly crucial, and we are proud to extend our work from the workplace to schools and pools.” 

“FINA’s original ruling against a specific swim cap just highlights the issue that Black swimmers have in this sport,” said Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League and one of the founding members of the CROWN Coalition.  “This decision by FINA shows a lack of historical and emotional awareness for the Black community.  The work we are doing with The CROWN Act is important because it shows the education that needs to happen in our country to end hair discrimination in schools, the workplace and now in pools – this has got to stop.”

“FINA’s decision was made from a lack of cultural perspective and representation, which ended up having greater implications. One being subconsciously discouraging swimmers with natural hair, making them feel like they don’t have a place in the sport on the international stage,” said Lia Neal, two-time U.S. Olympic swimming medalist and founder of Swimmers for Change. “The CROWN Act is an important step toward awareness for inclusivity and representation in pools and boardrooms alike.”

“As the world’s #1 resource for Black competitive swimmers, Black Kids Swim is committed to increasing Black participation in competitive swimming,” said Ebony Rosemond, Executive Director of Black Kids Swim. “The talented young Black swimmers we work with every day are the future of swimming and many of them have natural hair.  Competitive caps that take natural Afro hair into consideration are already needed and in use. BKS applauds Soul Cap, Swimma Caps, Black Girls Swim and the many brands who recognized this need and, years ago, sent a much-needed positive message of inclusion to our young swimmers.”

Protective hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists and knots are important protective styles often worn by Black people, and Dove, The National Urban League and the entire CROWN Coalition has been working hard to ensure that hair discrimination is illegal in the U.S. with The CROWN Act.  To date, thirteen (13) states and thirty (30) municipalities have enacted The CROWN Act, or laws inspired by The CROWN Act, with a federal bill introduced in both chambers of U.S. Congress in March 2021.  We’re encouraging everyone to join The CROWN Act movement and help us #PASSTHECROWN to end race-based hair discrimination in the U.S. by signing the petition at

As a founding member of The CROWN Coalition, Dove has championed The CROWN Act movement, created and driven by a team of Black women leaders working with a village of women who share a desire to end discrimination including Esi Eggleston Bracey and Erin Goldson of Dove, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Holly J. Mitchell, and JOY Collective agency leaders, Kelli Richardson Lawson, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard and Adjoa B. Asamoah as lead legislative strategist.

Help #PASSTHECROWN. Join The CROWN Act movement, working to pass this important legislation nationwide, by signing the petition at

In the UK Dove is also striving to accelerate work to help eradicate race-based hair discrimination and campaign for legislative change with partners Emma Dabiri and Zina Alfa, who have both created petitions to make hair discrimination illegal under the UK Equalities Act.

In 2021 we established the UK CROWN Fund, investing £170,000 in Black-led grassroots organizations with the aim to: eliminate barriers to progress for women and girls in the Black community, empower the next generation, and drive long-term systemic change.

To help drive change in the UK, please add your signature here:’

About The CROWN Coalition
The CROWN Coalition is a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law & Poverty, to end race-based hair discrimination in America. The Coalition, now consisting of more than 80 supporting organizations, is the founder of the CROWN Act movement and was the official sponsor of the inaugural CROWN Act legislation in California in 2019.  For a full list of CROWN Coalition members, visit and see the list here.

The CROWN Coalition is proud to have supported anti-hair discrimination legislation to address unfair grooming policies that have a disparate impact on Black women, men and children and has drawn attention to cultural and racial discrimination taking place within workplaces and public schools. The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors.


Marcy Polanco
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Shemika Harmitt
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