The stuff of a desert of black hair
Kingsman observes that the few black stylists she has found are almost always full with clients. The demand is present and strong – yet there are still so few options.
“I think a lot of times the concept of an existing hair desert is attributed to the fact that there isn’t enough demand,” Kingsman muses. “It’s easy to say ‘Well there are very few or no blacks in Oregon, so obviously why would there be black stylists or stylists who can handle afro textured hair properly?’ I totally disagree with that statement. The demand is there, whatever the percentage, the suppliers don’t care. ” Kingsman believes hairdressers should learn to deal with all textures and types of hair, regardless of what their own hair is or that of the majority population, and otherwise take it upon themselves to learn all they can about. textured hair. “Hair salons should make sure they have at least one person in their salon who can serve a client with afro-textured hair, and if not, invest in training their stylists so they can,” continued Kingsman.
If there was a non-black stylist confident in her textured hair skills, Kingsman says she would trust her scalp in their hands. But for Johnson, skill level is a moot point. “No,” Johnson maintains. “Getting your hair done is more than a service. It’s a sacred cultural experience.”
Where do we go from here?
The existence of black-haired deserts is beginning to permeate the national consciousness. Last week tonight with John Oliver recently aired a segment on black hair that aimed to both analyze why black hair is still such a divisive point of contention in America and raise awareness about what can be done to address hair discrimination. And while passing the CROWN Acts and deregulating natural hair braiding may help communities within black hair deserts, the question of eradicating existing ones and completely preventing the creation of new ones remains. .
Stylists we spoke to agree that it will come down to an overhaul of all parts of the cosmetology education system (especially training non-black stylists on how to care for and style Afro hair. -textured), but also the active recruitment of black stylists where there are none and tackling the barriers in place that prevent black stylists from opening stores in those areas – because even with a full education on textures, building trust between black women and non-black stylists is going to take time.
According to Johnson, “It starts with seeing hairline deserts as a symptom of a much larger problem affecting both urban and rural communities – like development, land use, and town planning policies. We need to take a vision. holistic view of the landscape in which we operate. They are all intertwined. When we begin to unravel the factors that create capillary deserts, we are eliminating not only capillary deserts, but other issues that adversely affect our quality of life. to bring the same care and attention that we pay to our hair, to our communities and the people with whom we are in community. “
Because it was never “just hair” for us. White supremacy did it, but we did it this way: our hair is our belonging, our history and our home. It is our pride and our empowerment, and it is the provocative, resilient and lush flora of the harshest hair desert.
Read more from The Melanin Edit:
The movement of natural hair is not immune to texturism
Why some black women return to relaxants
It’s time to broaden our view of women who wear locs
Now check out this washday tutorial for jumbo box braids:
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