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New hair salon looks to fill gap in Black hair care services in San Luis Obispo

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 15, 2023

R.A.C.E. Matters was established in San Luis Obispo in 2016 with the mission to create educational, artistic, and cultural content while also providing a safe space to amplify Black voices.

As the new school year approaches, their efforts are aimed at local youth.

“For years, there's always been conversations about the lack of opportunities for Black hair care in particular," said Courtney Haile, R.A.C.E. Matters founder.

It's a conversation Haile wanted to not only be a part of but provide a solution to.

“For years, decades even, a lot of folks who need to get their hair braided, who have textured hair, largely the Black and African-American community have had to travel very far distances to fill this very basic need, this self-care need and really, it's a health equity issue because we can talk about the physical and mental benefits of just having basic hair care," Haile said.

That’s how "Texture" hair salon was born.

“This week only, a community member, a very skilled braider, approached the organization with the idea to do free back-to-school braiding for local youth," Haile said.

Korah Clark, a 4th grader, was just one of many students who benefitted from the free service.

“I was actually really excited because I love getting my hair braided. I just don't like sitting there for so long," Clark said.

“It can be costly to maintain our hair and for the back to school especially, you want to be looking fresh, have those fresh, tight braids. It's really an incredible opportunity," Haile said.

In addition to the hair salon, Haile says she hopes this space can be a multipurpose room that will amplify Black voices while welcoming other communities and perspectives.

“Diverse and inclusive community... You know, everyone's welcome but there's a difference between everyone is welcome and we designed this with you in mind. In a community that lacks diversity, it's crucial to have not only representation but culturally affirming spaces," Haile said.

Haile adds they are looking forward to rolling out more programs like these. To learn more you can visit this website.