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Michael "Rahni" Flowers

Hair stylist and business owner Michael “Rahni” Flowers was born on March 15, 1955 in Chicago, the tenth of thirteen children. His father, Edmond Joseph Flowers, was a factory worker, and his mother, Mae Carrie Byrd, was a housewife. The couple had come to Chicago from Mississippi in the 1940’s as part of the great migration of African Americans seeking more economic opportunities in the North. In 1973, he entered Northern Illinois University as a pre-med/psychology major, where he studied until 1976. He later enrolled at Pivot Point International, where in 1977 he received his degree in cosmetology. After graduating from Pivot Point International, Flowers trained and worked at Vidal Sassoon for several years. In 1981, he opened the original Van Cleef Hair Studio in Chicago. In 1988, Flowers purchased the salon’s present location in what was then the still underdeveloped Chicago River North area.

First Lady Michelle Obama had been a regular client of Flowers from the age of 18, until her move to Washington D.C. He had the honor to style the First Lady, and the ladies of the First Family, for the 2009 Inauguration. Flowers has worked with a number of other celebrities, including Kerry Washington, Marilyn McCoo, Nancy Wilson, Regina Taylor, Sinbad, and Phyllis Hyman. Other notable Chicago clients include Allison Payne, Carol Mosley-Braun, Merri Dee and Muriel Clair.

Flowers, through his studio, has supported a number of organizations, including Cabrini Green Tutoring Program, Children’s Advocacy, Lynk’s Organization, DuSable Museum, WGN-TV’s Wednesday’s Child, Chicago Juvenile Detention Center, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People and special interest programs during Women’s Health Month. In 2010, Flowers received a L.E.O. Award from Pivot Point International for success in field of the professional beauty.

Hair stylist and business owner Michael “Rahni” Flowers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.226

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/25/2013

Last Name

Flowers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Domestic Partner

Occupation
Schools

Hearst Elementary School

Garfield Elementary School

Proviso East High School

Northern Illinois University

Pivot Point Beauty School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

FLO03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

Your Word Is Your Bond.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/15/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bacon

Short Description

Hairstylist Michael "Rahni" Flowers (1955 - ) opened the Van Cleef Hair Studio in 1981 in Chicago, and purchased the salon’s present location in 1988. First Lady Michelle Obama was a regular customer of Flowers, starting in 1981.

Employment

Van Cleef Hair Studio

Vidal Sassoon

Fotomat

Community Center

National Youth Corps

Favorite Color

Cool Colors