A note from co-founder, Cherie Gatson
On May 20, 2020, George Floyd, an innocent Black man, was wrongfully murdered by four police officers from the Minneapolis Police Department. Far from an isolated incident, the disturbing nature of Floyd’s death sent shockwaves across the U.S. that continue to reverberate presently and throughout the world. For many, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It spurred conversation about systemic racism that runs deep and ignited the modern-day civil rights movement.
It caused my co-founders and I to look inward and reflect on our purpose; specifically within the salon and haircare industries. Our unique backgrounds made us well aware of the lack of representation and inclusion for Black hair at every level of the system. Of three things we were certain:
- The need for change and equal representation was long overdue. Now was the time to take action.
- We would have a hand in the disruption of our respective industry.
- The place to start was in our local community.
Three short months later, we launched H.A.P.I. and birthed our signature “Black Hair Matters” diversity workshop series for hair professionals across Oregon — arguably one of the most racist states in the nation. We had meaningful and productive conversation about inclusivity and change in our industry, appropriation, and the importance of social and cultural awareness. Class participants were willing and eager to learn and it gave us hope for a better, more inclusive salon industry. If we could move the needle, even a bit, we had found our place in the movement.
HAPI is a collective dedicated to bringing diversity to the salon and hair care industries via education reform.
We at HAPI envision an inclusive salon industry where our education system produces hairstylists that enter the workforce with the ability and tools to care for all hair types (straight, wavy, curly, or coily) regardless of race or ethnicity.