St. Olaf football players launch pop up barber shop to specialize in cutting Black hair
NORTHFIELD, Minn. — There’s buzzing business inside the student center of St. Olaf College, which leaves satisfied students walking away with a new look.
Giovanni Green and Aidan Lloyd are part of a group called Oles Against Inequality (OAI) and are also members of the college’s football team.
They wanted to help students of color get haircuts by professionals that know how to cut their specific hair textures and styles.
“I feel like hair is the biggest way to really express yourself,” said Green.
“It’s a part of my identity, it’s a part of who I am,” said Lloyd.
Hair stylists that specialize in cutting Black hair are not located in Northfield. According to the 2022 Census, Northfield is 84% white, and only 2.4% black, so it’s no surprise there are diverse options for hairstylists in the area.
“We would load up the cars and go up to the cities and try to find a barber,” said Lloyd.
“It’s very particular, especially in the black community. It’s a cultural thing,” said Green.
After a long search, the boys found Nino Gutierrez, from Trendz Barber in Apple Valley, who jumped at this opportunity to connect with young people in the barber chair. Nino and his team have come out to St. Olaf for six pop up barber shops so far and in the time cut 300 heads of hair.
“That’s a pretty big deal because St. Olaf isn’t a big school and that’s 10% of the student body population,” said Lloyd.
A haircut might be a simple act, but each one given at St. Olaf, trims away at a bigger issue.
“Equality and equity is not some large myth that we have to discuss in theory, it’s something that can be present right now,” said Lloyd.
These two hope their barber shop draws more diversity to each new class.
“When kids come in and see things like this, it resonates with them,” said Green.
A resonance they hope will carry long past they graduate.
“This is not a moment, this is a movement,” said Lloyd.
Green and Lloyd’s barber shop was featured in a new CBS sports documentary called “Crown.” It features current and legendary Black athletes and the role they played in shaping cultural and political change when it comes to Black hair.
“Crown” will air live on BET Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. It will later stream on Paramount+.
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