There have been a number of articles written on her ordeal and the Salon which refused to apologize has since done so realizing that their reputation was on the line.
Denny Kemp Salon and Spa leapt into action… sort of, issuing a statement later Friday that said a stylist had made “inappropriate” and “improper and offensive” comments.
“Though we believe that our stylist meant no harm and simply spoke inarticulately,” reads the statement, “his words were perceived as hurtful and completely contrary to what our salon stands for.”
Dawkins says the salon’s namesake, Denny Kemp — owner of one business in northeast Minneapolis and another in Edina — reached out to his wronged customer directly.
But with Dawkins, a 24-year-old “social entrepreneur,” they’d crossed the wrong woman. Dawkins says she wasn’t appeased by the offer of free spa treatments on Friday, or, when he called back the next day, the argument that more than two dozen peoples’ jobs were on the line.
To Dawkins, the issue was that one person’s job wasn’t on the line: the stylist who’d offended her so deeply. She was informed that the man would keep his job, and wasn’t subject to “disciplinary action,” as Dawkins had hoped. She also wanted the spa to pursue cultural competency training and to “identify clear gaps in their services to people of color.”
Of late, Denny Kemp hasn’t announced much in the way of radical change, but did share a photograph of a sign reading “BLACK HAIR MATTERS,” adding, “We completely agree.” It’s all a bit hollow for Dawkins, who was, last Friday, set to get her first salon hair treatment in 18 months.
Back around the turn of 2015, when a “natural hair” look was catching on among her friends, Dawkins got the relaxer cut out of her hair, shortening it immensely — “at first I looked sort of androgynous,” she says — and then did nothing to it but shampooing and a self-conditioning regime. Some days she wrapped a bandanna around it. This period marked the first time in her life she wasn’t opting to have her hair professionally treated or styled in some way.
“It was a big step with my identity,” Dawkins says.
The experience was a trying one, and Dawkins eventually relented on getting professional treatment, as she was having difficulty maintaining her look as she wanted it. She just picked the wrong salon, on the wrong day. Not that she’s going to have any trouble finding qualified hair-caregivers in the near future.
A ton of local stylists have contacted Dawkins since her experience was widely spread.
“It surprises me that race was even a factor here,” she says. “I’ve had probably 20 people reach out to me to offer their services, and 80 percent of them are white.”
The salon has since responded with an apology for their actions:
As many of you are reading about or have heard, our salon is going through a major learning curve. We would like to share what we have learned from our valued client Bianca and how we plan to move forward to serve both her and the rest of our community.
Thanks to Bianca and her colleague for insight with helping us develop an action plan to address and move past a highly regrettable episode in our salon history. We hope it will be meaningful for everyone affected by this.
First, we extend our heartfelt apology to Bianca and to anyone else who has been hurt by this incident.
Bianca was serviced by this stylist in the past without issue and we are working to ensure that nothing similar to what happened on Friday, June 10 happens in the future.
Several of you have demanded that Justin be fired. We discussed this with Bianca and this was not her goal; we are moving forward with education, awareness, and a renewed commitment to serving all people in our diverse community.
If you are a salon and you cannot handle a few curls and kinks that’s one thing, but to refer to a person’s hair as an animal that cannot be tamed was just out of line!