Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Most Black women know that going to the hair salon is like going to a cousin's house for the day. The common thread in the salon is that women share the same hair secrets, which makes the hair salon experience sort of a sisterhood.  Well all that is changing now since the recession has hit.

 Black hair salons have fallen victim to the now severely handicapped U.S. Black economic power (what little there was), according to an article in the Washington Post. Most upper-middle class and wealthy Blacks had much of their fortune in real estate. When the market's bubble burst, Black businesses were hit hard, hair salons not exempt. As as result, Black salon owners and their staff have been integrating into mainstream establishments, such as one salon owner who now finds herself reporting to Sak's Fifth Avenue's salon for work every day.  Per a Washington Post article, she feels the integration is hurting Black women and their psychological safety. The article also stated that the new trend washes out the culture. 

According to Charles Gallagher, a white professor of sociology, criminal justice and social work at La Salle University: "You are erasing culture, you are erasing history and you are erasing a way African Americans have socialized with each other for decades," he says. "These J.C. Penneys and Saks are culturally spaceless. You don't learn about culture, gender or experience, and the lessons about the politics of the community, that's all gone."
But the other side of the coin is that the blending of salon patrons breaks down barriers between women of different cultures, and unites them on the basis of womanhood. 

Brandy Davila, who is an African American and an owner of the multicultural Salon Tenshi in North Philadelphia, opens her doors to all clients and stylists.

"And I'm finding it's a learning experience for everyone," Davila said. "White clients get to see what goes on with African American hair, and my black clients see that white people's hair isn't as easy to deal with as we think."
The salon integrations wasn't planned so there's no way of knowing how this trend will turn out. Only time will unveil the truth of the matter. We feel it just "is what it is". All things change and transform at some point in time.  And on the bright side: Surely, all Black hair salons will not succumb to the diar straits of this economy, so all isn't lost for those who feel they just can't.  



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