Student org Hairology makes history with debut hair show

Photo credit: Jayden DeGrace

Hairology’s first annual hair show was a big hit. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, UM students gathered in the Shalala Student Center to enjoy the extensive display of hairstyles from various cultural backgrounds.

Playing on the word heritage, Hairology used the theme “Hair-i-tage” to educate the audience on how cultural hairstyles have evolved across the African diaspora.

Freshman public health major Gabrielle Harris enjoyed the “90’s hair show nostalgia.”

Due to delays at the event, students expecting to eat dinner at 6:30 p.m. were unable to enter the ballroom until 7 p.m. The line of eager students wrapped around the third floor staircase of Shalala.

Freshman public health major Norel Reyes said,“It’s good that we have this diversity here even though the line is a little long.”

At the ballroom’s entrance, student volunteers served delicious appetizers prepared by supporting organizations like Mission JA, Yellow Rose Society, and Lucha Latina. Some cultural bites included empanadas, puff puffs and tostones.

At the same time, hair masterclasses took place. 2022 UM graduate Reina Mitchom held the “Braid Refresh” workshop, where she taught attendees how to refresh knotless box braids, a protective hairstyle composed of individual plaits squared off into boxes and braided with synthetic or human hair to add length, thickness and fullness.

“I know a lot of students get knotless braids,” Mitchom said. “It’s easy, it’s convenient, especially when you’re busy studying. Sometimes people don’t know that you can extend the life of your braids with just a couple of tools and products, so I’m just hoping this will save students money and time.”

Photo credit: Jayden DeGrace

The other masterclass was the silk press workshop, teaching students how to achieve the “silky straight look.”

Senior health science major I-asiah Christmas and senior biology major Brianna Mathurin got the opportunity to educate and offer students products to take care of their hair such as edge control and hair gel at the beauty supply pop up.

The hair show took its audience on an educational journey through the history of natural hair. From Africa to the Caribbean to Latin America, cultural hairstyles paired with stunning visuals and popular songs had the crowd singing and dancing along.

Attendees were not just silent bystanders, however; the show had an interactive component where participants could be part of a hairstyle contest. Volunteers gathered onstage while the audience vocally decided who had the most creative hairstyle.

At the event’s conclusion, UM students praised Hairology and the BAM committee for creating an environment on campus where Black students feel seen and supported.

“Being the minority here at this PWI, we should be celebrated every month, not just one month out of the whole year,” freshman biology major Shania Seepersad said. “Tonight made me feel more comfortable and not alone. Even walking around campus at different times of day, you don’t even get to see Black people, and just seeing them all in one space and coming out for each other just means a lot.”

Isaiah Frazier, a third-year student studying organizational leadership and Hairology’s male liaison, took on the role of model coordinator and coach.

“A lot of creative time and energy went into the creation and curation of every hairstyle, outfit, video edits and even song choices,” Frazier said.

Working with sophomore advertising management major Deitrick Knatt, the duo practiced runway basics for a month and taught their models how to walk, pose and work a stage.

Photo credit: Jayden DeGrace

Frazier also worked alongside Yohanna Getahun, a first-year student studying business administration and health management and policy. The secretary and events chair for Hairology, Getahun was in charge of checking people in, contacting potential sponsors, making volunteer schedules and organizing the tabling event to promote the hair show.

“I hope everyone who came left with an undeniable feeling of welcomeness and acceptance,” Getahun said.

Getahun praised the hair show’s turnout and anticipates larger turnouts at their regular general body meetings (GBMs). Students can follow the organization on Instagram and add them on Engage for more information about upcoming GBMs.

“I envision Hairology becoming one of the major organizations on campus, above just Black organizations. I look forward to continuing our hair supply tablings to ensure students have access to the hair products they need,” Frazier said.

Frazier hopes that students left the hair show feeling inspired.

“I also hope that everyone simply enjoyed the experience of being in a space created by us, for us to embrace our culture and Hair-I-tage,” Frazier said.

Both Frazier and Getahun emphasized their gratitude towards hair show attendees, their fellow E-board members and their team of models, hairstylists and creatives.

“Without them, none of this would have been possible,” Getahun said. “Our goal for this hair show was to promote inspiration and representation of all hair types and styles. We hope everyone left not only feeling loved, but beautiful as well.”

Photos taken by Jayden DeGrace @jaydegrace.