Visiting a barber shop or a hair salon may seem like a luxury, but an artist who visits shelters for homeless Americans sees it as a matter of identity.
“Hair care is kind of seen as a non-essential need for people that are homeless,” says Jody Wood, creator of mobile hair salon Beauty in Transition. “It’s an extra maybe even some people think is superfluous, but I’m interested in trying to resist in this process of losing one’s identity.”
To some degree, we all struggle to find and keep our identity. But imagine the devastation of losing it slowly over time, separated from the people around you, labeled as “the homeless,” ignored throughout the streets of Philadelphia by passers-by.
A traveling salon catering to homeless clients may seem unorthodox, but a simple hairstyle can help an invisible person feel visible. I never thought about it that way until I spoke to Wood about her project. Perhaps it is because I am accustomed to getting my hair cut whenever I need it. For me, it is not a struggle.
Beauty In Transition partners with various institutions and providers to create a mobile, outdoor beauty salon to serve homeless shelters throughout different cities.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jody Wood and Nicola Benizzi.
Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis and blogger for The Huffington Post. Click here to learn more about Peak