Judge rules against Missouri hair braiders; appeal planned

(ThinkStock)

(ThinkStock)

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A federal judge has upheld Missouri’s licensing requirements for African-style hair braiders, despite claims from braiders that the process is irrelevant to what they do, unnecessary and expensive.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Bodenhausen issued the ruling Tuesday. Attorneys for two St. Louis-area hair braiders, Joba Niang and Tameka Stigers, said Wednesday that they will appeal.

African-style hair braiders in other states also have challenged licensing requirements with help from the Virginia-based Institute for Justice. It’s “Braiding Freedom Initiative” has won legal battles in some states, lost in others.

The Missouri coursework covers sanitation, chemical use and other aspects of the beauty industry, but excludes any preparation in traditional African braiding techniques its practitioners say date back thousands of years.