Talyn Jefferson, a Black college cheerleader, is making headlines as the latest person to be discriminated against for wearing a bonnet. Earlier this month the former junior at Ottawa University in Kansas, MS said that her coach, Casey Jamerson kicked her out of practice after refusing to take off her bonnet during practice. She was later removed from the cheer squad.
Jefferson says she was worried that her long braids would hit one of her teammates in the face, so she decided to throw her hair in a bonnet. “I got kicked off because I was standing up for myself against microaggressive comments that the coach made toward me, that made me and others very uncomfortable,” the 20-year-old said in an interview with The Kansas City Star.
“Instead of the university addressing the fact that the comments were out of line and made me uncomfortable and the coach should have apologized, their solution was to kick me off instead,” she continued.
Jefferson told a friend about the incident that occurred on January 6th. Her friend then posted the conversation on Twitter.
As friends and allies rallied with Jefferson, they encouraged the rest of the squad to boycott the team by standing in solidarity with her.
Kansas City Star reached out to the school for a statement where they confirmed that Jefferson was in fact released from the team, but it was not because of her hair. They responded, “no student has ever been sanctioned or expelled for wearing box braids, bonnets, or any other hairstyle.”
Jefferson is exploring new schools to attend as a result of being removed from the team. Their reasons for releasing her sounds like a familiar narrative that many Black women have heard before. “They claim I got kicked off because I defy authority and I have anger issues, but like I’ve said, that is not true. I have no type of misconduct issues at that school.”