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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Nashville

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Nashville, TN. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Nashville's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Nashville. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Nashville, TN. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Nashville, TN

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Nashville,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Nashville, TN

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Nashville, TN

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Nashville, TN

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Nashville, TN, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Nashville, TN

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Nashville, TN

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Nashville, TN.

 Greek Grocery Store Nashville, TN

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Nashville, TN

Latest News in Nashville, TN

Tennessee Announces 2022-23 Principal, Supervisor of the Year Finalists

Education Leaders Receive Highest State Recognition for Dedication to Excellence NASHVILLE, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the nine finalists for the 2022-23 Tennessee Principal of the Year and nine finalists for Supervisor of the Year awards. The finalists represent each Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) region in the state, with three finalists in each Grand Division: West, Middle, and East.“Principals and supervisors play a foundational role in the succes...

Education Leaders Receive Highest State Recognition for Dedication to Excellence

NASHVILLE, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the nine finalists for the 2022-23 Tennessee Principal of the Year and nine finalists for Supervisor of the Year awards. The finalists represent each Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) region in the state, with three finalists in each Grand Division: West, Middle, and East.

“Principals and supervisors play a foundational role in the success of their teachers and students, and we are fortunate to have so many incredible principals and supervisors in the state of Tennessee,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “I am inspired by these outstanding leaders that continually work to support students and school communities across Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Principal of the Year award is awarded annually to a school leader for outstanding service in education and exceptional leadership that drives overall improvements in his or her school. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of one year of experience as a principal and a minimum of three years of experience in public schools. In addition, all nominees must have a proven track record of exceptional gains in student learning.

The nine finalists for 2022-23 Principal of the Year are:

West Tennessee

Shelby/Municipals Jessica Woody Dogwood Elementary School Germantown Municipal School District
Southwest Nathaniel Lewis Jackson Central-Merry Early College High School Jackson-Madison County Schools
Northwest Kristie Wilson Camden Elementary School Benton County Schools

Middle Tennessee

Mid Cumberland April Sneed Whitworth-Buchanan Middle School Rutherford County Schools
Upper Cumberland Christie VanWinkle Glenn Martin Elementary Cumberland County Schools

East Tennessee

“Congratulations to all of the Tennessee Principal of the Year finalists,” said Tyler Salyer, 2021-22 Tennessee Principal of the Year. “A principal’s work is a work of the heart. You all know that the work of the principalship can be tiresome and stressful, but what drives us is knowing that our impact is eternal. The sacrifices that are made are worth it and you make them selflessly every day. Through your commitment, dedication, and support, you are making a difference in the lives of students and families across our great state. Press on, and again congratulations on your accomplishment.”

Each year an outstanding public school supervisor earns distinction as the Tennessee Supervisor of the Year. To qualify, candidates must demonstrate a record of implementing innovative programs and managing and motivating students and faculties. Additionally, the nominees must have a minimum of three years' experience as an administrator and a minimum of five years' experience in Tennessee public schools.

The nine finalists for 2022-23 Supervisor of the Year are:

West Tennessee

Shelby/Municipals Yolanda Finnie Martin Shelby County Schools
Southwest James Fields Tipton County Schools
Northwest Brandy Milner Benton County Schools

Middle Tennessee

Mid Cumberland Penny Thompson Lebanon Special School District
South Central Cari Pugh Manchester City Schools
Upper Cumberland Rebecca Farley Cumberland County Schools

East Tennessee

Southeast Brian Webb Bradley County Schools
East Tennessee Tonya Berrier Sevier County Schools
First Tennessee Greg Wallace Johnson City Schools

“Congratulations to all finalists for Supervisor of the Year,” said Rory Hinson, 2021-22 Tennessee Supervisor of the Year. “You work tirelessly each day to ensure school administrators, teachers, and students are successful. I know you are excited to be able to showcase the great things that are being done in your district."

Principal and Supervisor of the Year finalists will proceed to an in-person interview that will be held in the coming weeks where each will meet with a panel of interviewers made up of department staff and other education leaders.

Winners for each Grand Division and the Tennessee Principal and Supervisor of the Year will be selected from this group and announced at the Tennessee Principal and Supervisor of the Year Celebration held later this fall.

To learn more about the Tennessee Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year Awards, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact [email protected].

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Governor Lee, Commissioner McWhorter Announce TN Composites to Expand Operations in Dickson County

· Boat manufacturer expects to create more than 130 new manufacturing jobs in White Bluff, Tennessee· Project represents an expected $23 million investment over the next five yearsNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced today that Ebbtide Holdings, LLC doing business as TN Composites will invest $23.1 million to expand its manufacturing operations in Dickson County over the next fiv...

· Boat manufacturer expects to create more than 130 new manufacturing jobs in White Bluff, Tennessee

· Project represents an expected $23 million investment over the next five years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced today that Ebbtide Holdings, LLC doing business as TN Composites will invest $23.1 million to expand its manufacturing operations in Dickson County over the next five years. Through this investment, TN Composites expects to create up to 132 jobs at its existing White Bluff facility over this same period.

By expanding its Jones Creek Road location, TN Composites anticipates increasing its manufacturing capabilities through the reconfiguration of its facilities, integration of additional technology, expansion of its research and development capabilities and alignment of its process flow. The company expects the result of these changes will drive substantial improvement in efficiency and manufacturing of its quality products and significantly increase the company’s boat production to an estimated 14 boats a week by early 2025.

Founded in 2018 and acquired by Ontario, Canada-based Limestone Boat Company Limited in 2021, TN Composites manufactures under the brands of Aquasport, Limestone and Boca Bay Boats. With the expected 132 additional new jobs, TN Composites would more than double its employee headcount at its sole location in White Bluff.

Since 2018, TNECD has supported nearly 145 economic development projects in the Northern Middle Tennessee region, resulting in approximately 42,000 job commitments and more than $7 billion in capital investment.

QUOTES “Our strong business climate and skilled workforce make Tennessee the ideal location for TN Composites to thrive. I commend this company’s decision to create more than 130 new manufacturing jobs in Dickson County and look forward to their continued success.” – Gov. Bill Lee

“When a company like TN Composites expands in our state, it is not only a testament to the workforce or business climate but also to the community that company calls home. We are proud to be the home of TN Composites and thank this company for its continued investment in Tennessee.” – TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter

“Dickson County is excited about the TN Composites’ expansion and the new jobs the company will create. This business growth arises from strong relationships cultivated with our existing industries and relies on our skilled workforce to meet the challenges of evolving technology and innovation." – Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial

“I am thrilled with TN Composites’ expansion plans in White Bluff and Dickson County. TN Composites, formally Ebbtide Boats, has been a large, local employer for generations. Today’s announcement of a significant investment in infrastructure, coupled with the creation of 130 new jobs, is great news for our local economy and workforce. I wish TN Composites much success in the coming years.” – White Bluff Mayor Linda Hayes

“Congratulations to TN Composites for expanding their successful operations in Dickson County. This is not only a tribute to the employees of TN Composites for the quality of their workmanship but also Dickson County for the industry leading workforce it produces.” – Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield)

“The expansion of TN Composites adds to the long history of quality boat manufacturing in White Bluff. This major investment will strengthen our local economy while also providing additional employment opportunities for residents. I want to congratulate TN Composites on this exciting announcement, and I look forward to the company’s continued success in Dickson County.” – Rep. Mary Littleton (R-Dickson)

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

TNECD Media Contact Lindsey Tipton Public Information Officer (615) 339-6608 [email protected]

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TDOE Celebrates TN ALL Corps Month, Highlighting the Impact of High-Dosage, Low-Ratio Tutoring on Student Academic Achievement

Nashville, TN – Throughout the month of September, the Tennessee Department of Education will be celebrating and spotlighting TN ALL Corps, the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program to boost student outcomes and accelerate academic achievement.High-dosage, low-ratio tutoring can significantly increase student achievement, and consists of intensive tutoring that occurs in small groups (1:3 in gra...

Nashville, TN – Throughout the month of September, the Tennessee Department of Education will be celebrating and spotlighting TN ALL Corps, the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program to boost student outcomes and accelerate academic achievement.

High-dosage, low-ratio tutoring can significantly increase student achievement, and consists of intensive tutoring that occurs in small groups (1:3 in grades 1-5 / 1:4 ratios in grades 6-8) two to three times per week. This model helps students accelerate their learning in an individualized manner and focuses on scaffolding academic content so students can access new learning, while building upon their knowledge and skills base.

Throughout Tennessee, 87 districts are participating in TN ALL Corps to provide free tutoring for over 200,000 students over the course of three years. Districts that signed up for TN ALL Corps as early adopters provided tutoring supports to students beginning in the 2021-22 school year, and as year two of TN ALL Corps programming begins, participating districts and schools have flexibility on how to implement and create a schedule that works best for their teachers, tutors and students.

“As Tennessee continues its work to help students recover from the pandemic and accelerate their learning, the TN ALL Corps program continues to show promise and commitment from educators, districts, and communities across Tennessee to work together to improve student outcomes through high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are focused on helping all our students achieve their highest potential, and thanks to the commitment of over a third of our school districts, our students have access to intentional tutoring and supports to set them up for success inside and outside the classroom.”

Students across the state had varying access to instruction in spring 2020 and throughout the 2020-21 school year. In January 2021, Governor Bill Lee convened the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session to pass policies to help mitigate COVID-19 disruptions and support Tennessee students, including the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps which codified TN ALL Corps into state law.

"TN All Corps makes a positive difference in the lives of our students. Students are teamed with our outstanding educators in small groups to dive deeper into the learning that takes place daily in our classrooms,” said Dr. Russell Dyer, Cleveland City Schools Director of Schools. “I am proud of our teachers for standing in the gap for our students and I'm equally proud of our students and families for committing their time to this effort. It truly takes a village to raise a child and I'm thankful to the State of Tennessee for identifying this need and funding it for the long-term benefit of our students."

To support implementation of the law and to aid districts in administering their TN ALL Corps programming, the department has put in place a few essential supports.

Through the department’s partnership with Zearn, students and families in the TN ALL Corps program now have access to a platform that can provide digital lessons and student progress updates in mathematics as well as a teacher-tutor-family communications tool that helps connect content to classroom instruction by easily sharing student progress reports with families and facilitating collaboration opportunities for teachers and tutors to work together to support student learning.

“Coming out of the pandemic, our district recognized the learning gaps incurred by our students. The high-dosage, low-ratio model from TN All Corps was the perfect fit for our district and students,” said Jonathan Criswell, Director of Schools, Milan Special School District. “The teachers have been able to concentrate on providing intense grade-level instructional support to students while having individualized time to ensure that students grasp previous grade-level skills which may be missing or incomplete. We are confident our targeted students will show tremendous growth over the next year.”

The department has also created a TN ALL Corps Advisory Council comprised of district leaders and early adopters of the TN ALL Corps program to help ensure that participating districts have a strong partnership with the department. The council will offer guidance on how to meet program requirements and model for what high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring can look like that includes more learning opportunities for students.

TN ALL Corps Advisory Council Members:

“We have never had a program like this. It identifies kids who are almost there. It quickly gives them the boost to be on grade level. Often, students spend forever intervention with nominal gains,” said Katie Arnold, TN ALL Coordinator, Cheatham County Schools. “I wish we could have all of our students participate in TN ALL Corps.”

Finally, in June, the department announced the expansion of TN ALL Corps to five community partners around the state including: the Niswonger Foundation, Literacy Mid-South, and United Way of Greater Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. These partners will follow the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio model for tutoring within their local program and added an additional 20,000 seats for at-risk students.

"Through our work with eighteen school districts and 5,500 students over the past 15 months, we know high-dosage tutoring works to accelerate student learning recovery. It is not physically possible for teachers, alone, to provide high-dosage tutoring to the number of students who need it,” said Debra R. Bentley, Director of Project On-Track, Niswonger Foundation. “Because of Project On-Track's design, community college and college students, parents, caregivers, and retirees are stepping up to extend the reach of teachers and support students as tutors. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

For more information on the department's TN ALL Corps program, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact [email protected].

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Tennessee Voices, Episode 309: Daniel Strobel, Nashville Shores

Nashville's tourism scene has received plenty of attention in recent years for bike bars and party buses on Broadway.The question for families with children who are not celebrating a bachelor or bachelorette party or a milestone birthday is: "Where do we take the kids?"There are options, but there is also a lot of nostalgia for Opryland, the theme park that closed in 1997. Native Nashvillian Daniel Strobel feels that too, but he now works at a place that provides an alternative.As head of marketi...

Nashville's tourism scene has received plenty of attention in recent years for bike bars and party buses on Broadway.

The question for families with children who are not celebrating a bachelor or bachelorette party or a milestone birthday is: "Where do we take the kids?"

There are options, but there is also a lot of nostalgia for Opryland, the theme park that closed in 1997. Native Nashvillian Daniel Strobel feels that too, but he now works at a place that provides an alternative.

As head of marketing and public relations for Nashville Shores, Strobel gets to talk about the water park, zip line, lodging and boat rentals that attract families to Hermitage in eastern Davidson County.

On this episode of the Tennessee Voices video podcast, we talked about filling the void created by Opryland's closure and creating family-friendly spaces away from so-called "NashVegas."

He has a very interesting back story too. Strobel's father Jerry was the general manager of the Grand Ole Opry for 30 years, but Daniel said he did not appreciate the magnitude of that venue until he went away to college in New Orleans.

His eyes were opened to how "neat" Nashville is.

Hear more Tennessee Voices: Get the weekly opinion newsletter for insightful and thought provoking columns.

Sign up for Latino Tennessee Voices newsletter: Read compelling stories for and with the Latino community in Tennessee.

Sign up for Black Tennessee Voices newsletter: Read compelling columns by Black writers from across Tennessee.

About Tennessee Voices

The Tennessee Voices videocast is a 20-minute program, which started in March 2020 and invites leaders, thinkers and innovators who have written guest columns for a USA TODAY Network Tennessee publication to share their insights and wisdom with me and our viewers.

Please email your ideas for future guests to me at [email protected]. Thank you for watching.

Finally, our journalists are working hard during this pandemic to bring you accurate, verified and solid information. Please consider subscribing and supporting local journalism.

David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and an editorial board member of The Tennessean. Tweet to him at @davidplazas.

A breath of fresh hair: CROWN Act brings freedom to TN workplaces

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Carla Tarkington has been styling hair for decades.“I get to minister to my clients, I get to be their big sister, I get to be their little sister, I get to be the mom,” she said. “I get to be the best friend, I get to be everything they can’t tell their husband.”Up until this year, it was technically legal for Tennessee businesses to discriminate based on natural hair.“Long overdue. I really don’t understand why it was even a thing,” Tarking...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Carla Tarkington has been styling hair for decades.

“I get to minister to my clients, I get to be their big sister, I get to be their little sister, I get to be the mom,” she said. “I get to be the best friend, I get to be everything they can’t tell their husband.”

Up until this year, it was technically legal for Tennessee businesses to discriminate based on natural hair.

“Long overdue. I really don’t understand why it was even a thing,” Tarkington said. “I never understood why someone’s hair affects their ability to perform what they went to school to learn to do.”

Tarkington, who runs 2MuchHair, likened the time before the law to having to put on a mask before going into work.

“It’s like waking up every day and putting on makeup you don’t want to wear,” she said. “You don’t want to do that to make someone else comfortable to be in their presence.”

The new law is called the CROWN Act, which also serves as an acronym – Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair. The bill, sponsored by Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) in the House, makes it illegal to discriminate based on someone’s natural hair.

“We actually started hearing from people about feeling as if they lost their job because of the way they were wearing their hair,” Camper said. “We didn’t feel like that was fair.”

It was a bill that passed by a hair in the Tennessee House. It needed 50 votes, and it got 50 votes. When the vote happened back in April, you could see the relief on Camper’s face.

“I had to really have some real, open, honest conversations with members about why this is important,” she said. “Some of them felt like it was a burden on businesses and for multiple reasons, people felt like we should not be doing this.”

Regardless, the act became law on July 1st, and the effects are already apparent.

“Clients have come in and they’ve cried, they have shed emotion. They’re so happy that they can go to work like they want to go to work,” Tarkington said. “They’re cutting time out in the morning. They don’t have to spend as much time presenting a look that is ‘accepted.’”

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