John Oliver features CT state senator in segment about hair

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State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven speaks during special session at the State Capitol, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven speaks during special session at the State Capitol, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

John Oliver, host of the popular HBO program ‘Last Week Tonight,’ used a clip Sunday night of Connecticut State Sen. Gary Winfield during a segment about hair.

“I woke up this morning and I had a whole bunch of texts and emails and messages on Facebook,” Winfield said. “I was caught a little off guard.”

The clip showed Winfield speaking passionately in favor of the C.R.O.W.N. Act, which banned discrimination on the basis of hairstyle. “CROWN” is an acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”

In the clip used by Oliver, Winfield recalls when he was a child, his sister’s hair was altered using caustic chemicals.

“And I think about my daughter, and what do I tell her about what’s acceptable, because I tell that young lady right now who’s 3 years old, she’s beautiful and that she’s perfect the way she is,” Winfield said.

Winfield said he is known for telling personal stories on the floor of the senate, because “Until you put the story to it people don't understand what it really means.”

Oliver spent a significant portion of his hour-long show on hair, which Winfield said was “amazing.”

“It’s a long segment,” he said. “There’s a lot there. It’s amazing how much time was spent on this issue.”

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont in March.

“When a person of color has a job interview or simply goes to work, they should never be judged based on anything other than skills, work product, commitment, dedication, and work ethic,” Lamont said when he signed the bill into law.