I made a call the other day to Rare Essence Academy and spoke to Essence who owns the school. My intention was to share her awesome work from Instagram and since I planned to do more than one share I really wanted to get her verbal consent.
After chatting for a bit Essence gladly obliged giving me the ok to start picking some great videos to share with all of you.
As I checked out her work and the work of the Academy I realized that what Essence had built was one of a kind, something that could not possibly be reduced to a few social media shares. Essence the owner of the school has quite a story and her Academy is just what the natural hair industry needs right now!—– Education!
While reading a little bit about her I came across an interview she did with the online collective 4cHairChick where she described her battle with the State of Arizona to change the braiding laws to allow braiders to braid without having to attend Cosmetology school.
Her story is part of the fight to allow braiders to practice their craft for compensation without going to jail or incurring tons of fines.
Here is a snip of that interview:
What was the call – what made you decide to even consider pursuing a case against the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology?
I remember reading a Vibe magazine article – maybe in 96 or 97 – I remember a lady getting arrested for braiding hair. I remembered it had information about some law or issues with not being able to braid.
That [article] was really ahead of me thinking to braid professionally. Fast forward, I’m living in Maryland for a few years – in Maryland you didn’t have to have license to braid hair. I was working out of salons and barber shops with no issue. My spirit motivated me to leave Maryland and move back to Arizona… but I was talking to God like, “what we gonna do? The law says I need a cosmetology license.”
I wasn’t feeling cosmetology school because I knew the route I was going – braiding – wasn’t going to be taught. It wasn’t a part of the curriculum.
I called the State Board of Cosmetology and told an administrator that I was a professional braider. They told me that [anything involving] hair period required a cosmetology license.
Fortunately Essence was able to get legal assistance and fought her case and won! This is a huge accomplishment because she gave braiders in Arizona a chance to practice their craft without harassment. But the story doesn’t end there. The fact that the care of natural hair including braiding isn’t included in Cosmetology school is what makes Rare Essence Academy so important.
Essence created a platform that actually provides online training and hands-on training for women and men who want to learn how to braid and care for natural hair. Her Instagram gives you a taste of just what you will learn, check out the view:
Detailed braid work
Locs for the little ones
If you have a chance to check out Rare Essence Academy you will see way more than I can share here. If it doesn’t exist you have to build it and that is just what Essence did. Head over to the Academy’s Instagram and website and see for yourself just how awesome the Academy is.