The Latest Target of Government Over-Regulation: African-Style Hair Braiders?

Tameka Stigers and Joba Niang are both professional African-style hair braiders in Missouri. However, if they wish to stay in business, the state has ordered that they spend thousands of dollars and hours in cosmetology training, which the stylists say has no relevance to their field.

Joba Niang and Tomeka Stigers appear on 'Dana' June 20, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)
African-style hair braiders Joba Niang and Tameka Stigers appear on ‘Dana’ June 20, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Niang said on TheBlaze TV’s Dana Friday that the coursework teaches how to do nails and chemical treatments, but doesn’t even cover African-style braiding.

“They’re wanting us to get a license to learn things that we don’t use,” Stigers added. “We don’t provide chemical services. We don’t cut the hair. We don’t do nails. We don’t do any of those things that you would learn in a cosmetology school. We’re braiding, we’re locking, we’re twisting hair. And we just think it’s absurd that it’s still happening today, that there’s these regulations that want us to conform to something that we’re not a part of.”

“These women aren’t asking for government assistance,” Loesch remarked. “They’re asking for the government to get out of the way. … The government has no business regulating a simple and safe practice that’s been around for literally thousands of years.”

The Institute for Justice has taken up their case, and on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners.

“We’re very appreciative that the Institute for Justice has come to Missouri to help us fight this injustice,” Stigers said. “We’ve tried numerous times to contact the Missouri Cosmetology Board to tell them, ‘Look, we’re trying to provide a living, an honest living, and take care of our families and provide a service that tons of women and children love.'”

Stigers said the only response they have received so far is that “the cosmetology regime, they want us to conform to what they’re doing.”

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