Attending college in a new city comes with a lot of changes. One adjustment that you may not have considered is finding a new trustworthy stylist in the area. Two freshmen are making that transition a bit easier for Bradley’s Black students with Pretty Parlour of Peoria.
Nursing major Diamond Agyare, of Chicago, Illinois has been surrounded by hairstyling her entire life. She was taught by her mother, a professional hairstylist, and has been practicing since she could hold a Barbie doll. Eventually, she began practicing on her siblings and learning to create simple styles and braids.
Political science major Nayelys Duque McLean, of Evanston, Illinois, has only started styling other people’s hair recently, but she has been doing her own since she was six years old. Both young women have worked long hours to perfect their techniques.
Hairstyling means a lot to Agyare and McLean and they feel that it’s a way to create art and help people feel good in their skin.
“[Hairstyling] is just a way to show off my creativity,” McLean said. “I like doing hair because I feel like it’s a talent and not everyone can do it.”
The two decided to start their business after being introduced to each other through a mutual friend. Upon arriving in Peoria, they observed that there weren’t many Black stylists in the area, and realized that they could fill the gap.
“One thing about Nayelys that I noticed from the start is that she’s a good stylist,” Agyare said. “Every day she would style her own hair and it would look so good.”
Agyare proposed the business as a way to make something greater than themselves and make money in the process.
The freshmen take a lot of pride in owning business as Black women and they’re working to promote a culture of personal growth and societal progress. Diversity on Bradley’s campus has been making improvements, and they’re doing their part to bolster it.
“Being a Black owned business means a lot, but being a Black woman-owned business means the world,” Agyare said.
Agyare also quoted Malcolm X, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
McLean and Agyare are working hard to follow that quote to transform disrespected into respected, unprotected into protected and neglected to uplifted.
The business provides services out of the dorms so students do not have to worry about traveling far to get their hair done.
“It means a lot to be able to show off our talents on beautiful kings and queens,” Mclean said.