I wanted to pamper myself and was looking for a salon where I could get my hair done. I was calling up multiple salons to see which one I should go to; I asked about pricing, what services they offered and, most importantly, if they do Black hair.
As I further described in a YouTube video, I was essentially told, “No, we don’t do Black hair here.” The response I was given didn’t make me angry at the time. Looking back, what makes me angry is how angry I wasn’t when I was essentially rejected from a salon because I’m Black. I was so used to, as a Black person, not being cared about. It was sometime later that I started to think about my experience, “Why aren’t salons able to do Black hair?;” Don’t hair stylists go to school for hair?;” “Do schools purposely not teach about Black hair or do they not even have lessons on Black hair in the first place?”
How can someone get any sort of license or become a “professional” hair stylist, yet not know how to do Black hair? The idea that schools seemingly don’t require you to know how to do Black hair before you become a licensed, professional hair stylist is a perfect example of institutional racism. Why do salons hire hair stylists who don’t even know how to do Black hair? How can one open up a salon and not bother to cater to an entire demographic? I feel like you might as well put a, “NO COLOREDS ALLOWED” sign on the salon’s door.
The bias against Black hair is nothing new. This anti-Blackness can be seen in the recent viral video of musician, Amara la Negra, being criticized for her natural afro on the television show Love and Hip Hop: Miami. The bias against Black hair (and Black people) cause salon owners as well as hair stylists to feel as though Black people aren’t worthy of being catered to. We as Black people, and allies, need to stop supporting these racist businesses. If a business doesn’t feel like they should cater to Black people, don’t go to them. Don’t give them your money for any service, even if it doesn’t involve hair. It’s 2018, no one should be getting rejected by a salon because they’re Black. Salons and hair stylists need to be held accountable for their racism. It’s time for change.