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For the second straight year, Lawrence University will host three professional hair stylists from the Chicago area who will provide demonstrations of the latest black hairstyles and cuts and offer advice to local cosmetologists on some of the “tricks of the trade.”

The three stylists will be cutting and styling hair at the Lawrence Diversity Center, 207 S. Meade St., from 6-9 p.m. Friday Feb. 28 and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1.

“We had a fantastic turnout last year,” said Rod Bradley, Lawrence’s assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs. “In two days, we were able to cut the hair of 40 people and we are looking to equal or exceed that number this year.”

Time restrictions will limit the number of haircuts to approximately 50 volunteers this year.

While getting a haircut would seem to be a simple thing most people take for granted, Bradley said for blacks it can be quite a challenge.

“Many of the students can’t just walk in off the street into a salon and be assured that the barber or stylists know how to cut black hair,” said Bradley. “Some of our black students and some at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh cut each other’s hair. Some have to travel Milwaukee or Madison to get the cuts they want or they just wait until they return to their hometowns to have it done.

“Black women, in particular, have all but given up hope trying to find salons that can offer chemical relaxants for their particular kind of hair, or specialized styling like cornrows, dread locks, jerry curls, and even particular styles of perms.

“We felt there was a need for instruction on black cultural hair styling in the area, not only for our students but for other community members as well,” Bradley added.

Bradley said area salon owners and stylists are encouraged to attend the demonstrations to learn some of the cutting techniques that are readily available in many larger urban areas.