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Fros, Fashions & Finds

LOC’D Lifestyle Meetup Brings Consumers and Practitioners To The Table

By Megan Davis
The Truth Contributor

If you live in Ohio and have natural hair, you may have had the opportunity to be a part of the natural hair community and overall movement that has evolved over the last 10 to 12 years.

Many naturals who began their journeys in the last decade have more than likely mastered their hair care routines and also may know how to create their favorite styles at home. Among these, a small number have probably shown someone else how to maintain and style their hair. If you did this and someone offered to pay you, you could be fined or forced into cosmetology school, which doesn’t offer natural hair care in its curriculum at any time.

As the trends change, many have gone with the flow, from wearing Teenie Weenie Afros (TWAs) to rocking the perfect twist out. Today, the trendsetting continues as men and women are going back to braids such as cornrows, box braids and ladies love the newer crochet styles.

But the hottest trend now is locs. Traditional locs, Sisterlocks, Freeform locs and a red-hot issue, loc extensions. There’s a whole other community under or included in the natural hair community consisting of men and women who are wearing any form of locs.

The beauty industry is changing because of the high demand for loc services, which aren’t widely available in Toledo or the region. Specifically, in Ohio, while there may be a number of locticians, they are probably in hiding due to the aforementioned reason listed above: the lack of board certified credentials.

In a meeting held last week with Ohio Democratic Representative Stephanie Howse, a group of women from Toledo, Cincinnati and Cleveland shared experiences about licensing, education and the right-to-work as an entrepreneur despite the current rules that exist in Ohio.

“I’m afraid to advertise my services as a Sisterlocks Consultant in Cleveland,” said Wanda Rahkeera about her business. She not only has locs, but she is a loctician who can’t legally work in the state of Ohio because of its highly complex laws and regulations. Despite being trained in a specific skill set for locs, she cannot openly practice without a full license, natural hair license, and it is challenged by the current “boutique” license being offered in Ohio.

Ty Sherrer, of Cleveland, is a nurse and loctician, sharing her battle with cancer and how she overcame by going natural inside and out, and learned to groom her own re-grown locs, which she originally lost due to chemotherapy. She shared information about the many chemicals put in the hair, from shampoos to styling products, that may be linked to forms of cancer and stated that it’s not something that is shared in the Black Hair Industry as a whole. She is inspired to educate others about the benefits of going natural.

Kristin Brown, of Toledo, attended the LOC’D Lifestyle Meetup to talk about the current industry and its opportunities in Ohio compared with those in Michigan. While she has begun advertising her services, she is reluctant to build in Ohio for concerns regarding the laws and the people who are opposed to any type of change. She has discovered a mentor in Michigan, Angela Hammond, who has been a loctician for a number of years and has supported the local natural hair movement. Because Michigan is exempt from natural hair license requirements, she can freely practice her craft while renting a booth in Hammond’s salon.

“We went as a group to the Ohio Board of Cosmetology in the 80s.” stated Safiyyah Muhammad of Cleveland. “They wanted to fine us for braiding and locking people’s hair, but we fought it. We went to Columbus and protested the requirement,” she continued. As a result of this, the group of natural stylists were asked to take a “made up” board test in Columbus with doubts that they’d pass. The group, having made it through the testing process, were “grandfathered” into the board of cosmetology, a term that the board dislikes and states does not exist.

It was shortly thereafter that one of the directors of the board established a 450 hour requirement for natural hair stylists to become licensed and free to practice. The same requirement, created in the early 90s, has not been altered, updated, or changed to reflect the true practice of natural hair care but remains in law for Ohio.

During LOC’D, Maurice Price, who came to visit family in Toledo from Houston, Texas, popped in on a whim after hearing about the event. He thought it was cool that this type of thing is being done in Toledo, and was also looking for a loctician to book with before he went back home.

There were questions about product use and build up, the frequency of cleansing and styling locs and embracing the stages of locking. Each guest received a free natural hair product or accessory and also shopped for additional items from The Kitchen Salon as well as Autumn Gineen’s Boutique.

The conversation that began at the table sparked ideas and gave hope to those in attendance that things will change in Ohio. From simply embracing locs to accepting them to including them in this region’s beauty industry, there is still much work to be done. Representative Howse (D) Cleveland, knew of the disparity in Ohio’s cosmetology industry and the barriers womenpreneurs currently face. She has worked behind the scenes with state legislators and has met with the board and beauticians across the state, explaining the fence-straddling position most are in.

While making new legislation to reflect the needs, demand and positive financial impact on the state is needed, the journey to creating the change needed is a long-winding road ahead. Of the guests at LOC’D, local locticians were invited to attend, to present their businesses and skills to potential consumers, a service that Megan Davis, owner of The Kitchen Salon, has done several times in the past ten years.

Getting people to advertise or market their business, especially if they’re good, is lost in this area. Some people don’t advertise because of the current laws and some don’t because they simply don’t know how. This meetup was the first of its kind for people who wear and service locs only, since the natural hair movement began in Toledo, in 2007. Davis is encouraged that the work she has done to reach out to others and bring them together, will continue in this, her 12th year in business, and grow, understanding that there is a need.


Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/29/19 13:57:41 -0400.



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