Denny Kemp Salon: “It’s Not The 1950’s or 60’s Where We Can Just Put Up A Sign”
Denny Kemp Salon And Spa Minneapolis Humiliate Black Customer. Bianca Dawkins is the Founder and CEO of Faces of Hope. She has been a youth representative for the City of Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee for over 4 years and is also a Youthprise Change Fellow. Bianca is determined to share her story as a survivor of violence, homelessness, and health disparities to inspire the youth!
Bianca Dawkins was a victim of hair discrimination last week. In case you don’t know what hair discrimination is, Wiki defines it like so,
Discrimination based on hair texture is a form of injustice resulting in human beings being treated differently based on the stigma attached to hair texture in society.
Bianca was hurt and deeply humiliated by the way she was treated at Denny Kemp Salon and Spa, the establishment where the discrimination took place. After reading about her experience on her Facebook page, I made a decision to reach out to Bianca Dawkins so that she can tell Nuwla.com in her own words exactly what happened, what she would like to happen next, and what also share with us what she has learned from this experience. Read the interview below.
Nuwla: Thank you for giving us this exclusive interview Bianca. So, you wake up and head over to the Denny Kemp Salon and Spa to get your hair done and what happens?
Bianca Dawkins: Here’s how the story went:
I arrived into Denny Kemp Salon at about 2:00 pm and was checked in where I sat with a few other women, who were white. Justin walked right past me and didn’t say anything at first. He then came over, grabbed my hair and said, “I can’t do this.” He went on saying it’s “time-consuming” and he didn’t have tools and he only have 45 mins. He then stated that my hair was an animal that he could not tame. I stated, “so black girls can’t come here” And he stated well “it’s not the 1950s or 60s where we can just put up a sign.” I asked him not to refer to my hair as an animal and then he got to telling me how others in the shop wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it either. I sat there with my head down. He also brought others around into the conversation which was humiliating.
Nuwla: What a prick.
Bianca Dawkins: Yup
Bianca Dawkins: It was tough
Nuwla: So what happened next? Did you walk out of the store?
Bianca Dawkins: I walked out and no one said anything to me.
Nuwla: When did this happen? On what date?
Bianca Dawkins: This happened on Friday, June 10, 2016. Around 2:00pm.
Nuwla: The “others” that Justin “brought to the conversation” were they his co-workers or clients in the store?
Bianca Dawkins: Some were co-workers and there was a client. The conversation took place in front of other clients as well.
Nuwla: Justin’s co-workers and clients were all white Caucasians?
Bianca Dawkins: Yes
Nuwla: Describe their reaction and thoughts on this matter.
Bianca Dawkins: Two of the ladies that sat at the table with me just stared at Justin – the guy making the hurtful comments. His Co-workers told me that nobody felt comfortable doing my hair. They told me it took a special person to do it. They went as far as asking a client who seemed liked a regular, to see if she knew any places I could go. No one seemed concerned about how he was going about it.
Nuwla: Not one hair stylist had the training to provide you service for your hair texture. what does that tell you about the Denny Kemp salon?
Bianca Dawkins: Correct.
Bianca Dawkins: The owner of the establishment called me yesterday and stated there was one girl who could do it and they weren’t sure why she wasn’t recommended.
Nuwla: Well your not going back there again right?
Bianca Dawkins: Correct. I don’t feel comfortable there. I will not spend my money any place that doesn’t show me respect.
Nuwla: Exactly. Now that 48 hours has passed since Justin’s despicable act, tell us what have you learned from this experience?
Bianca Dawkins: I have learned that this conversation is much needed. Black girls primarily have dealt with discrimination against their hair for the longest. We are constantly told what’s beautiful, what’s not beautiful and how we should be.
Bianca Dawkins: I have also learned that when issues like this come up we quickly brush them off and wait for the next thing to happen. More action needs to be taken on issues like this and hair stylist need to understand the accountability they have to their clients in terms of making them feel great.
It saddens me that Justin’s action was trying to be justified and that his experience and skills with hair, overweighed my experience at that shop.
Nuwla: How do you respond to the percentage of people who after reading this article interview will ask “Why did you go to a white-owned hair salon in the first place?”
Bianca Dawkins: Good Question. I have worked in Northeast Minneapolis for some time now and noticed the shop a few years ago. I don’t discriminate on the skill of anyone that does hair. I just wanted a competent stylist of any race plus a convenient location. I have never experienced anything like this before. I frequent black shops all the time. My goal isn’t to find a black, white or Asian stylist, it’s to find a stylist with competence on my hair texture. And find someone that will make me feel great and treat me with respect.
Nuwla: Do you think that this experience will have you only frequent black beauty salon’s moving forward?
Bianca Dawkins: I think I will be on the search to find any competent stylist who will treat me with respect. No matter what color they are. I just want someone who will not degrade my identity.
Nuwla: I’ve had a chance to study your background a little bit and I see that you do allot of great work for the youth in your community. What advice do you have for young black girls who have gone through this exact same experience?
Bianca Dawkins: To be strong and use your voice to raise awareness in their community about issues they care about.
Nuwla: Give us your last thoughts.
Bianca Dawkins: My objective is to raise awareness about the racial injustices around self-image. I feel that everyone should be treated with respect and not put down because the textures of their hair or the way they look. I went to Denny Kemps because about a year ago I had my hair done and was satisfied with the outcome. Being that my hair was relaxed, around the time, I got services there. Yesterday(June 10, 2016) they made me feel like it was impossible to have hair treatment there unless I had a relaxer. The owners Denny Kemps need to train their employees to improve their level of professionalism, and communication skills with non-white clients who have a different texture of hair. I also want a formal apology from Denny Kemp and Justin for embarrassing me in front of their co-workers and clients.
It’s a damn shame that 22-year-old Bianca Dawkins had to live through this experience in 2016. As of June 16, 2016, our sister Bianca still hasn’t received an apology from Denny Kemp Hair Salon, Justin, the bigot hair stylist wasn’t fired, he wasn’t even suspended. I suggest the readers of this interview to go on Denny Kemp Hair Salon and Spa Minneapolis Facebook fan page and demand that they publicly apologize to Bianca Dawkins. Just flood their page with your disgust.