RCNQ, based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is offering free protective Afro hair and 50% off braiding every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in June to diversify hair salon skills and staff.
They are advocating a change in hiring practices and training to bring more skills into the salons. The free styling includes two strands, flat twists, Bantu knots, and more.
10% of profits from all June appointments will be donated to the Black United Representation Network (BURN). The organization seeks to bring about systematic change by advising black-owned companies in Greater Manchester and increasing the number of black executives in senior decision-making positions.
They are focused on upgrading black-owned companies in the area and have partnered with Be The Business to offer the Advisory Board program, where a board of seasoned advisors will support black-led companies for free over a period of 12 months .
The differences between communities and the ability of the hair industry to meet their needs are staggering. A study by Habia found that there are more than 35,000 hair salons in the UK, but only 302 offer Afro hair.
Rob Czlapka, head stylist and owner of RCNQ based in Manchester, said: “There are four types of hair that you can train with during hairdressing training, but you will only have the option to work with three of them. In my experience, white students have been encouraged by faculty to ignore Afro hairstyles as this is not a type of hair that is commonly worked with in predominantly white salons. Instead, they focused on straight, wavy, and curly hair types.
In 2015, hairdressing academies added black hairstyling to the course to solve this problem, but devoted only 12 weeks of a two-year NVQ Level 2 hairdressing course to afro hair. There is now talk of integrating all four hair types into the course, which would be a big step towards questioning the subject of racism in the hairdressing industry.
There is a huge gap between the variety and skills available in salons, which results in different hair types going to different salons. Black barbers usually have the skills to handle all hair types, while white barbers don’t learn how to work with afro hair. Predominantly white salons should be able to provide hair service to everyone regardless of race.
We are currently pushing for changes in the hairdressing industry. We’re hiring people with the skills to work with afro hair and style it across seniority levels, and we’re investing in training so all of our stylists are well equipped for all hair types.
We also invest in anti-racism training to make sure our salon is a safe place for people of color. This was followed by training to ensure best practices are maintained and microaggression management so individuals know how to deal with situations.
Within the next year I would like to have a completely mixed background of employees at RCNQ with the full skills to cater to each person’s needs. We strive to include everyone in our experience, and other salons need to do the same. “
You can sign up with RCNQ for free styling and 50% off braiding.