Naomi Brooks is the owner of The Hair Sanctuary, Manchester, which she established in 2015. Shortly after, she also founded THS Enterprise Ltd (The Helpful Start) which runs a training programme for young women aged 16-24 in Manchester, to provide the foundation and support them into further education and/or employment. Naomi works in partnership with youth clubs, children services and schools.
In the light of the recent push for the #blacklivesmatter campaign, we asked Naomi for her thoughts on how the UK hairdressing industry can get involved and be more proactive in supporting anti-racism? There is definitely a hair review needed:
“Recent events have highlighted a need for change in society for black people. This goes further than the relationship with police and we need more focus on the daily lives and experiences that non-white people face. This doesn’t exclude the hairdressing industry and here are some key changes I feel could be made to support the BLM movement.”
Naomi tells us the following sectors should be considered:
- Curriculum – Afro hairdressing should be included in the curriculum as mandatory. Currently black men and women cannot go into any salon they please to be serviced
- Competitions – Having platforms for afro hair types. A lot of competitions used to have an afro hair category and the majority have been removed. Why is that? Lack of entries, lack of awareness, lack of skilled stylists to enter or just being overlooked
- Education – for the workforce on racism, injustices and micro aggressions. Whether that is in team meetings, training days or recommending literature to read
- Discussions & knowledge – Create diverse teams behind the brands. People with power and influence. Someone who can tell you the impact from their perspective. Hire black stylists on creative teams ESPECIALLY when the models casted are black and the stylists nominated aren’t experienced to do the job
- Equality – Use your platform to show your peers you are in support of them. Saying something is better than saying nothing at all. But also share their work, showcase afro hair as equally as you would European hair.
Everyone can get involved if you agree with us; a hair review needed. Naomi tells us: “Most of all it has to be genuine and from the heart. These changes can’t be made because brands and salons feel like they are being forced to stand up and be seen to be doing the right thing. Let’s do this together.”
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