Sally Hazelgrove, the white leader of the Chicago-based Crushers Club charity, has been facing serious backlash over images from October 2016 showing her cutting the dreadlocks of two Black teenagers. The images have been condemned as racist and were deleted from Twitter on Friday.
Crushers Club’s Twitter account also used the phrase “All Lives Matter,” a term seen as a critique of the Black Lives Matter campaign against police violence. That tweet, along with, one that asked for President Donald Trump’s help with gang violence in Chicago were also deleted.
The Crushers Club is a boxing charity that helps keep kids off of the streets and out of gangs.
The incident has received extra attention since Meek Mill and Rhapsody donated $200,000 to the charity on behalf of the Inspire Change Initiative. Inspire Changes is also supported by the NFL and Roc Nation.
“Out of 500 youth going through our doors I cut two young men’s hair because they asked me to and we are a family structure and so I did it and didn’t really think about it after that,” Crushers Club founder Sally Hazelgrove said in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I tweeted about it without much thought. It’s hair. but I regret it now and I promise you I will not be doing that again if asked.”
But for many, it’s not just hair. Last December, another incident of a teenager having his dreadlocks cut sparked national outrage. A Black New Jersey high school wrestler was videos as he was forced to cut his dreadlocks in order to participate in a match. Instead of forfeiting it, he let his hair be cut and went on to win the match.
California passed a law in July aimed to protect citizens from discrimination based on hairstyle.
“I’m not going to say we shouldn’t have a law that allows us to wear our hair the way it naturally is, but it’s also sad that in 2019, we have to have one in the first place,” Tiffany Dena Loftin, youth and college director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told USA Today.