A picture from 2016 has emerged on the internet showing the president of charity group cutting a Chicago youth’s locs, and the NFL and Roc Nation are funding the organization.
Roc Nation and the NFL have pledged to donate $400,000 to two Chicago-based organizations: the BBF (Better Boys Foundation) Family Services and the Crushers Club as part of the company’s #InspireChange initiative. Just hours before the Crushers club was set to receive their donation, a series of old tweets resurfaced, causing major backlash against the organization.
A Twitter account posted the tweets, which show the Crushers Club president, #SallyHazelgrove, cutting the locs off two Black youths who were seemingly involved in the organization. The captions implied that cutting his hair would result in him having a “better life.” On tweet read: “It’s a family thing we box, mentor, make music & I get to cut hair. He’s freaking out but looks so cute! #loveshorthair.” Another was, “And another Crusher let me cut his dreads off! It’s symbolic of change and their desire for a better life!”
The tweets immediately created outrage as many people pointed out that cutting a Black person’s natural hair in order to have a “better life” is racist and it perpetuates the idea that more Eurocentric hairstyles are“professional.” Following the backlash, the Crushers Club posted a Twitter video in which “Kobe”—one of the purported youths whose dreadlocks were cut—defended the actions of the organization. “Cut my hair like three years ago, that was something I wanted to do,” he said. “I was tired of it, tired of gangbanging, tired of messing up.”
Hazelgrove told TMZ she cut the boy’s hair at his request. “The Crusher’s Club does not have any policies prohibiting dreadlocks — we welcome all hairstyles from our youth,” Hazelgrove said in a statement. “On occasion, our kids look to change their hairstyles and ask us to assist, especially since haircuts can be a costly expense for them. Our goal is — and will always be — to equip our youth with the resources to improve their neighborhoods, maximize their potential, and develop into the leaders of tomorrow.”
Hazelgrove has since apologized again, saying she did it “without much thought.” “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 told the paper. “I tweeted about it without much thought. It’s hair. However, I regret it now, and I promise you I will not be doing that again if asked. She continued, “The hatred and accusations from this took me by surprise,” she continued. “The backlash has been hard, to be honest.”
The Crushers Club’s mission, according to its mission statement, is to provide lifestyle options outside of gang life. “Our mission is to be the strongest alternative to gangs. We arm young people with the support and skills they need to restore their lives and improve their neighborhood. Crushers Club is rooted in four ideals—respect, discipline, ownership, and love—that give our members a fighting chance.”