Color naming

People of color struggle to find someone who can cut their hair properly in small town Iowa

DECORAH, Iowa (KCRG) — For many black Iowans living in small towns, getting a haircut can be a chore.

That’s why an Eastern Iowa College has partnered with a Rochester, Minnesota barber to make sure black students on campus can get a great haircut.

“I could only get my hair cut when I got home,” said Luther College student Mychal Shed. “There was a time when I didn’t get my hair cut for four months.”

Luther College then began partnering with Clipdart to hire Gilbert Jordan, owner of Uncle Gil’s in Rochester. Uncle Gil is aptly named, giving life advice while giving them a chop.

“I try to encourage them and tell them that the small town is a better setting because now you can focus on what you’re supposed to do,” Gil said.

His clippers fill the void these students need while giving them the barber-client dynamic they’ve lacked since arriving at Luther College.

“Once you find a barber, it’s like a full-fledged relationship,” Daniel Webster said.

“When I got here, I called my hairdresser, Mo, and told him I hated doing this to him,” Mychal said. “He told me to do what I had to do. He gave me the right of way.

Students like Webster and Shed could now walk around campus with the confidence that a fresh haircut gives them.

“I feel good,” Webster said. “I’m smiling; it looks like the birds are out, the sun is out, everything’s a little brighter.

“A few days ago I looked in the mirror and I didn’t know who I was looking at,” Mychal said.

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