The other day on twitter someone asked for recommendations for black stylists in the Boston, (USA) area. She got a ton of comments with recommendations and people sharing their struggle trying to find stylists in non black majority areas. One of those comments screenshot below caught my attention because it made no sense whatsoever, well at least to me it didn’t.
|I am actually grateful to this comment for inspiring this post:)|
I was like sis what Europe are you talking about, is it the same Europe I know or a different Europe? Or was this the usual American generalisation of Europe you know “I am going to Europe” “I live in Europe” etc instead of being country specific. I had to jump in and comment because that did not make sense to me at all. You can find a black stylist professional or otherwise in the smallest of towns at least in Western Europe if you look hard enough. I mean there are black stylists in Seoul, South Korea! South Korea, a historically homogenous country! Not to talk of Europe with its millions of decades long black residents. There are entire streets in London and Paris (in my experience) where you will find a black salon and a black beauty supply store every two steps you take. Some of these streets actually have people out on the pavement soliciting for clients for their salons. I mean we are in 2021 not 1921, it doesn’t make sense to fly all the way across the Atlantic to get your hair done, that is one pricey hair appointment. I mean even if one lives in an Eastern European country, it is cheaper to fly or take the train whichever gets you there quicker, to London, Paris, Brussels and even Amsterdam I believe, where you can get a same day service at a walk in salon than flying back to the US. And you get to visit another country in Europe in the process, so that’s a win win two birds one stone kind of situation. Some Eastern European countries like Ukraine and Russia have African students studying there, some who do hair on the side for extra income. FYI Africans have been studying in Eastern Europe for decades (my half Nigerian half Slovakian bestie’s parents met in Prague as students in the late 60s/early70s) so I am sure there will be a descendant, maybe two or a new arrival who can do hair in some parts of Eastern Europe, especially the capital cities.
Even in Western European small towns and villages with seemingly hardly any black populations, there’s probably someone who can do black hair or knows someone who can do black hair, it may be an informal home service or an instagram stylist but it is quite possible to find someone there or the next town over if you are proactive enough in your search. I have a friend who moved to a small town in Germany over 20 years ago, back then black girls in small towns would sometimes have to travel to major multi-ethnic cities to braid their hair and usually through word of mouth recommendations. These days it is much easier to find someone who lives in the same small 99% Caucasian populated town as her, who does home service hair braiding appointments. If there is one thing black people have anywhere in the world, it is a strong informal network of service providers to suit our black needs be it hair, food etc. Use the resources at your disposal, we have social media these days unlike back in the day, ask for recommendations online, use the search engines available to your advantage, Europe is heaving with black people who can do hair. That brother you saw at the mall in Iceland, where you were the only two black people in the entire 100 floor mall, could have a sister, girlfriend, cousin, wife, mother, auntie, colleague, or friend who does hair or knows someone who can do hair or even know how to do hair himself. That friendly Swedish shopkeeper in small town Sweden, who owns the corner store down the road where you buy your groceries, could have one other regular black customer he could ask on your behalf, could know of another small town 30 minutes away, with a much larger black population that you the new comer had no idea existed and surprise surprise could even have a black spouse or grandchildren that he could ask on your behalf. You would be surprised the kinds of networks people have. It could be something as random as the owner of the nail shop where you get your nails done, having a son, that works in a factory with a guy from Ghana, and BOOM one thing leads to another and you’ve got your black hair stylist problem in some random Polish city solved! Be proactive in your search.
One of the recurring comments that really hit home for me on that thread was “go where our people are”. I whole heartedly agree. Find our people and you will find a black hair stylist anywhere in the world.
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