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Black hair took the crown at Sister Spokesman event

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — Hair enthusiasts of all ages packed into a suite at Thor Companies in North Minneapolis for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from the importance of representation and self-love to healthy scalp and hair maintenance and proper hair care for children.

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By Paige Elliott

Black hair, in all its diverse glory, was the topic of the day at Sister Spokesman’s “Wear Your Crown” event.

Hair enthusiasts of all ages packed into a suite at Thor Companies in North Minneapolis for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from the importance of representation and self-love to healthy scalp and hair maintenance and proper hair care for children.

“There’s never been a better time for Black women in history,” declared panelist Faatemah Ampey, celebrity stylist and owner of SuiteSpot and Salonspa. She cited Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and others as high-profile examples of Black women succeeding while serving up bold, natural looks.

“I think we have to learn how to have courageous conversations with people about our identity and our beauty,” added Ampey when asked how to find a sense of comfort when encountering not-so-nice Minnesota workspaces. “We should lose some of our defensives because people don’t know what they don’t know. It is our responsibility to educate people.”

“We’re taking a few steps forward and few steps back,” added panelist Briana McCall Cress, owner of Gorgeous Looks Salon, in reference to recent news stories involving Black hair. “But we have more images in the media and more people who are being intentional about putting [their] Blackness first and showing who we are, loving who we are, and accepting that we’re remarkable.”

Attendees packed into Thor Companies for a discussion about hair. (Photo by: Steve Floyd | MSR News)

Attendees packed into Thor Companies for a discussion about hair. (Photo by: Steve Floyd | MSR News)

Essence Shabazz, owner of E.bazz Hair Loft Beauty Supply, rounded out the panel. She encouraged attendees to know their worth from the inside out and to prioritize spending habits. “Take care of your home first. I see us spending so much on wigs and weaves when we can’t afford it.

“If you don’t own your own home but you’re spending $500 on a weave — that is insane! If you want a certain look, but can’t afford it, ask [your stylist] how to achieve it for less,” she advised.

The event was moderated by Stephenetta (isis) Harmon, MSR editor-in-chief, Hype Hair digital editor, and owner of Sadiaa Hair+Beauty Guide, a beauty directory for women of color. In addition to the discussion, attendees shopped with local entrepreneurs, networked and vibed to sounds from KMOJ’s Q-Bear.

Next up: Sister Spokesman talks love and relationships at the Minneapolis Urban League on June 1 from 12-4 pm. RSVP @ Sister Spokesman/Facebook .

See a Facebook live stream of the event here and here.

Connect with the panelists at the links below:

Briana McCall Cress @ gorgeouslookssalon.net

Essence Shabazz @ ebazzhairloft.com

Faatemah Ampey @ suitespotsalonspa.com

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon @ sadiaa.com

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Arts and Culture

Black Owned Fashion Brand Launches During COVID-19

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While many businesses are shuttering during the double pandemic, PSK Collective, launched online in August.  

Founded by legendary World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight, PSK Collective is a “size-inclusive” (up to 3XL) activewear brand:  sweatshirts, tops, jerseys, dresses, jackets, and 

The PSK Collective is donating 15% of its profits to the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) a non-profit founded by Billie Jean King to help women and girl athletes. Knight also sits on the Board of Trustees of WSF.

The PSK Collective is all about “recognition, equity, and unity” for women in sports and through fashion in pursuit of sports and leisure.  

Born on the Fourth of July in 1974, Knight played basketball and tennis in her youth before going to college an HBCU, Alabama State University.  Later, while she was attending law school at the University of Wisconsin that she was introduced to rough and tumble sport of rugby. 

Eventually, she would play and coach the running game from 1999 to 2019, making three appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010 when she was named USA Rugby’s Player of the Decade.  

In 2016, Knight became the first, and so far, the only, Black person inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Knight came out as a lesbian in 1997.  

She practiced law after graduation but wanted to give back to women in sports. Her strong and athletic build meant Knight — and other women like her — were challenged by what to wear during their athletic endeavors.

Her work with WSF, the need for inclusivity and equality inspired her to create the PSK Collective, which is also affordable. 

The brand is geared for Gen Z/millennials and accessible to all. Its ambassadors are diverse and include Akira Armstrong, dancer/choreographer; Naya Tapper, also a rugby player, and Aja Evans, a bobsledder. The clothing line is also meant to appeal to wrestlers, BMX athletes and para-olympians.

In addition to the PSK Collective, Knight, a New Yorker, is pursuing mixed martial arts, broadcasting, and acting.  

Knight will be featured in Halle Berry’s directorial debut, “Bruised”.

For more information and on the PSK Collective, log onto psk-collective.com.

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Popular Atlanta hairstylist celebrates grand opening in Virginia Highlands

ATLANTA VOICE — Known as the “baaad girl” of natural hair, celebrity stylist and former We TV “Cutting It In The ATL” star Mushiya Tshikuka along with husband and business partner, Louis Smith, celebrated the official grand opening of their Runway Curls Salon Suites on Thursday, October 17th.

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Mushiysa Tshikuka and Louis Smith posing with their children to celebrate the grand opening of Runway Curls Salon Suites

By The Atlanta Voice

Known as the “baaad girl” of natural hair, celebrity stylist and former We TV “Cutting It In The ATL” star Mushiya Tshikuka along with husband and business partner, Louis Smith, celebrated the official grand opening of their Runway Curls Salon Suites on Thursday, October 17th.

Hosted by VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” star Mimi Faust, the event kicked-off with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony by state representative Park Cannon followed by a Black Carpet Reception and the highlight of the event– the Runway Curls Hair Show– presenting Mushiya and the Runway Curls models.

“From being raised in the Congo, where I learned to do hair from my mother, to moving to Atlanta where I built the Damn Salon brand to becoming one of the lead stars on WE tv’s ‘Cutting It In the ATL,’ the purpose for my journey in the beauty industry has never been more realized than now,” Mushiya said.

“My purpose is to become an innovator. To shake-up common practices and add a new twist or approach that makes the industry better. Opening the Runway Curls Salon Suites was the hardest undertaking of my career as it represents a beauty model that transcends the concept of the common salon suite. From the moment you walk through the doors, you encounter our sleek and intelligent technology to stimulate your intrigue. Then the technology is coupled with a unique setup that incorporates 45 beauty and wellness specialists divided between private suites and shared booths. Finally, the integration of vast retail options ranging from hair extensions and wigs, to skincare and cosmetics, makes the Runway Curls Salon Suites unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

The Runway Curls Salon Suites features fully furnished single and double salon suites equipped with salon chairs, shampoo and dryer systems, full wall mirrors, built-in retail shelving and a flat-screen tv.

In addition, the facility offers booth rentals for those not quite ready for a suite; education & training lounge featuring classes by renowned master cosmetologists; and a Runway Curls beauty boutique offering the latest in premium, high fashion hair and hair care products.

This one-of-a-kind facility accommodates up to 45 beauty entrepreneurs providing a variety of beauty and wellness services. Services include everything from hair care of all specialties, specialized skincare treatments, makeup services, brow and lash treatments, nail care, and massage therapy.

Located at 780 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA, the Runway Curls Salon Suites is officially open and accepting appointments with salon suite owners. Photo recaps from the grand opening event are below or you can view the full gallery here. For more information on Runway Curls Salon Suites visit: runwaycurlssalonsuites.com.

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.

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Occupational licensing may get easier

FLORIDA COURIER — Gov. Ron DeSantis during the 2020 legislative session will continue to push lawmakers to simplify occupational licensing requirements for jobs such as interior designers, barbers and hair braiders.  Arguing that licensing regulations in Florida are “way more onerous and way more burdensome” than in California and New York, DeSantis said Tuesday during an appearance in Miami that he will present lawmakers with proposals that would eliminate or reduce training hours required for some occupations, prevent the Department of Business and Professional Regulation from denying licenses because people defaulted or were late on student loans and allow certain license holders in other states to be immediately qualified in Florida. 

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Photo by: Stefan Dimitrov | Twenty20

By News Service of Florida 

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis during the 2020 legislative session will continue to push lawmakers to simplify occupational licensing requirements for jobs such as interior designers, barbers and hair braiders.

Arguing that licensing regulations in Florida are “way more onerous and way more burdensome” than in California and New York, DeSantis said Tuesday during an appearance in Miami that he will present lawmakers with proposals that would eliminate or reduce training hours required for some occupations, prevent the Department of Business and Professional Regulation from denying licenses because people defaulted or were late on student loans and allow certain license holders in other states to be immediately qualified in Florida.

Statewide approval

DeSantis said he also wants the department to craft legislation to allow people licensed by counties to work in other Florida counties without having to file paperwork, pass exams or pay additional fees.

“Many of these licensure requirements have no relevant impact on public health and safety,” DeSantis said. “Rather, they hurt Floridians by restricting employment opportunities, raising the prices of goods and services, and inhibiting consumer choice. At the end of the day there is a role to have occupational licensing, but that occupational licensing should be designed to protect the public safety, consumers. It should not be used to create a guild that keeps people out and prevents them from realizing their dreams.”

The House approved a bill during the 2019 session that advanced some of DeSantis’ occupational licensing proposals, but the measure did not pass the Senate.

In his inaugural address in January, DeSantis highlighted that a focus of Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears would be to identify occupational licensing requirements that need to be “streamlined, rolled back or eliminated.”

The 2020 session will begin Jan. 14.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier.

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