Video: African hairbraider Melony Armstrong’s inspiring story

The Melony Armstrong describes the high cost of senseless licensing requirements. Why must she receive a state license to braid hair? Via Mark J. Perry

Melony Armstrong is a petite, 40-year-old African-American mother of four who owns Naturally Speaking, a hairbraiding salon in Tupelo, Mississippi. When she began her hairbraiding business, she met an unexpected obstacle: A state occupational licensing requirement. In Mississippi, hairbraiders had to have a cosmetology license, requiring 1,500 hours of training and $10,000 in tuition—and yet none of the training had anything to do with braiding hair. Faced with giving up on her dream or fighting back, Melony filed a lawsuit in Mississippi with legal assistance from the Institute for Justice to change the law and create more opportunity for herself and others. Melony prevailed in her lawsuit against the state of Missisippi and the state cosmetology cartel and has since grown into an inspiring economic force bringing needed hope and opportunity to her community and her state.

Melony shared her inspiring story in the talk above that was originally presented as “A Nightmare on Occupational Licensing Street” at the AEI Vision Talks in Washington, D.C., on May 16, 2016. To learn more about AEI’s new Vision Talk series, you can visit this website.

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