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Andre Walker

Hairstylist Andre Walker was born on October 19, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois to Woodrow Walker and Fanny Walker. He attended Kohn Elementary School and Lindbloom Math and Science Academy in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from there in 1974. Walker earned his certificate in cosmetology from the Pivot Point Academy in Bloomingdale, Illinois in 1977.

After graduating from cosmetology school, Walker was mentored by Chicago-stylist Leigh Jones and began working as a hair stylist for the beauty salon at the I. Magnin & Company department store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, under the leadership of stylist Rudi Hooker. In 1980, he established his own studio, the Andre Walker Salon, which he operated until 1987. Walker then joined Harpo Productions as a hair stylist in 1985, and worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal hair stylist for her many television appearances and for every cover of O, The Oprah Magazine until 2015. Walker also styled the hair of former First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and was credited with creating Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry’s signature short pixie haircut. In 2013, Walker and Dianne Hudson, Oprah Winfrey’s executive producer, founded Andre Walker Hair LLC. Two years later, the company launched a new hair care system for naturally textured hair, called The Gold System, as well as The Andre Walker Hair Typing System. Walker also served as an industry advisor to select fashion and trade media outlets, promoting hair care science and education.

In addition to his career in the hair care industry, Walker also published Andre Talks Hair! in 1997. Walker has been the recipient of several awards, including seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for his work on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was nominated fourteen times for the award. In 2008, Pivot Point Academy awarded him the L.E.O. Award, which honored the achievements of beauty professionals influenced by school founder Leo Passage. The following year, Walker received the Thurgood Marshall Fashion Icon Award. In 2016, he was presented the Bronner Bros Industry Icon Award as well.

Andre Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/06/2017

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Kohn Elementary School

Lindbloom Technical High School

Pivot Point Beauty School

First Name

Andre

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WAL23

Favorite Season

Early Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Napa Valley

Favorite Quote

Treat People The Way You Like To Be Treated. -Maya Angelou

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

10/19/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Hairstylist Andre Walker (1956 - ) was the personal hairstylist for Oprah Winfrey, founder of Andrew Walker Hair, LLC and developed The Andre Walker Hair Typing System.

Employment

Andre Walker Hair

Harpo Productions

Andre Walker Salon

I. Magnin Department Store

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:616,15:4136,71:4752,79:7832,163:14790,223:15385,231:16915,275:17765,289:18190,295:19380,317:21505,351:21845,356:28472,440:32688,541:32960,546:47798,765:50636,797:54614,866:55076,874:55604,884:57056,914:66055,1041:66505,1049:71605,1153:72130,1161:75510,1171:77148,1214:82920,1273:84900,1294:88705,1314:91918,1391:95887,1493:96328,1502:98533,1564:99478,1642:116363,1915:116728,1921:118261,1952:118553,1957:120670,2001:126320,2019:127698,2034:129924,2071:130454,2077:136178,2161:136920,2169:142782,2289:162587,2496:163979,2508:164414,2514:165458,2528:165893,2534:167546,2564:177326,2699:177794,2706:181928,2817:182318,2823:183410,2843:185126,2886:205802,3119:206426,3129:208220,3154:208610,3160:209858,3176:210326,3183:211184,3195:212978,3224:229300,3311$0,0:9312,109:12500,137:13592,154:14294,165:16010,192:17648,225:18116,232:18740,245:19052,250:20456,285:22640,334:34920,419:35620,427:39720,517:46001,599:48397,621:49013,630:51708,685:52016,690:54326,846:59947,992:62488,1053:75936,1278:77054,1309:78774,1337:79204,1343:79720,1350:88603,1504:89516,1516:95529,1632:96951,1656:97820,1672:98136,1677:99242,1688:99716,1695:105096,1725:110230,1791
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andre Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andre Walker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andre Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andre Walker talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andre Walker describes his father's upbringing and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andre Walker talks about his parents' move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andre Walker remembers visiting his paternal grandparents in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andre Walker remembers his father's stories of lynching

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Andre Walker talks about his father's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Andre Walker describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Andre Walker describes his neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andre Walker describes his experiences of bullying at Alfred D. Kohn Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andre Walker remembers his academic difficulties

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andre Walker recalls his early interest in hairstyling

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andre Walker remembers Robert Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andre Walker recalls winning a beauty school scholarship from Pivot Point International

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andre Walker describes his first hairstyling business

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andre Walker remembers the curriculum at Pivot Point International, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andre Walker remembers the curriculum at Pivot Point International, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Andre Walker describes his relationship with Leigh Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Andre Walker remembers working at the I. Magnin Salon in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Andre Walker describes his clientele at the I. Magnin Salon

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andre Walker remembers styling Oprah Winfrey's hair

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andre Walker recalls establishing his hair salons

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andre Walker remembers balancing his salon and personal hairstyling work

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andre Walker describes his approach to styling Oprah Winfrey's hair

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andre Walker talks about Oprah Winfrey's wigs and weaves

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andre Walker recalls traveling with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andre Walker remembers styling Oprah Winfrey's hair for exercise

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andre Walker talks about Oprah Winfrey's natural hairstyles

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Andre Walker describes his appearances on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Andre Walker talks about hairstyling based on body size

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Andre Walker talks about the changes in Oprah Winfrey's hair style

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andre Walker remembers styling Halle Berry's hair

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andre Walker talks about his Emmy Awards for hairstyling

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andre Walker talks about the lighting design on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andre Walker talks about his compensation as a celebrity stylist

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andre Walker remembers writing 'Andre Talks Hair!'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andre Walker describes the Andre Walker Hair Typing System

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Andre Walker talks about Walker Simmons Designs, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Andre Walker remembers his parents' reactions to his sexuality

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Andre Walker remembers the AIDS crisis

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Andre Walker remembers meeting his partner

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andre Walker remembers retiring as Oprah Winfrey's hair stylist, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andre Walker remembers retiring as Oprah Winfrey's hair stylist, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andre Walker describes his relationship with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andre Walker recalls creating The Gold System hair care line

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andre Walker remembers launching The Gold System hair care line

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andre Walker describes his hopes for The Gold System

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andre Walker reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andre Walker shares his advice to aspiring hair stylists

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Andre Walker remembers retiring as Oprah Winfrey's hair stylist, pt. 2
Andre Walker recalls his early interest in hairstyling
Transcript
Okay, I was in Seattle [Washington] and I had this moment where it was just so real, it was like God was speaking to me. So, it's like it's time to do this, it's time to move on. And it's so interesting 'cause I was there working with Oprah [Oprah Winfrey], and we had done something. I think this was when she was working, getting her tea together with Starbucks [Starbucks Corporation], that's why we were in Seattle and then we had to work in Santa Barbara [California]. So, we left there and went to Santa Barbara the next day and we were doing some stuff that she--for her and out nowhere she turns to me, but prior to that I had decided okay, when we get back to Chicago [Illinois] on Monday, I'm gonna sit down and talk to her and tell her that I'm gonna start helping you find somebody else and I'm gonna move on. So, we're at her house in Santa Barbara getting ready for whatever it is we're you know doing that day. Out of nowhere she just goes, "Are you ever planning to retire?" (Laughter) And it was just I'm like oh, god this is making it easier for me now, 'cause I can just tell her right now. I said, "As a matter of fact I just decided yesterday that I wanted to talk to you about this on Monday and yes, I am retiring." And Gayle was in the room also, Gayle King her friend, and Gayle's like, "Oh, you're just joking, you're not gonna do that, you're just talking right now." And Oprah said, "I know he's telling you the truth right now. He's real and if I had to tell you this Gayle, you wouldn't believe me. I'm so glad you're here right now to see it." And she said, "I get it, I understand it. You've done this, you've done it the best you can do it, and you just can't do it anymore. So, I get it, I understand." And that's how it happened, it was, it--so, I was--up to that point I was thinking okay, now how am I gonna bring it up? How am I gonna say I need to talk to you about something? Can we sit down in your office and have this conversation. It just organically, just happened. So, that I know was meant to be. It was truly meant to be.$$And from that point how much longer did you work for her?$$It took me another year, I think to find somebody, 'cause I wasn't gonna leave (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I was about to say, so you found her replacement, right?$$Yeah, I wasn't gonna leave until I helped find somebody to replace me. So, I went through quite a few people and Johnny Wright, the first lady's [Michelle Obama] hairstylist, after about eight months of not being successful finding anybody, I called him. I said, "Do you know anybody that can, you know I'm gonna retire soon," and he's like, "I wish you could hold out another twenty months, 'cause I would love to do it," (laughter) 'cause he knew the, you know, the Obamas would be out of the White House by then and I said but, "No, I can't hold on for another twenty months." So, he recommended me his friends, Nicole Mangrum, who I interviewed, and she lived in Chicago. She still lives in Chicago so was convenient, and so I would have her just kind of follow me when we'd go on you know, trips and work. So, we got to the point where Oprah was pretty comfortable with her and I felt like she could do the job, and, and I transitioned, transitioned out on May 30, or 31st of 2015.$When did you develop an interest in hair?$$Oh, god I always had it.$$Yeah?$$Yeah.$$What, what are your early memories of your interest?$$Just remembering looking at different hair textures on people and especially being in a school where it was this diversity. You know there was all kinds of hair and it was just kind of, it was so interesting to me. And I remember the first time I decided to do hair was, you know, messing with my mother's [Fannie Benson Walker] wigs 'cause she used to wear these wiglets, and I think I was probably in seventh or eighth grade at that, at that point when I did that, and so when she realized that I had this talent to do hair, you know throughout high school [Robert Lindblom Technical High School; Robert Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois], I was doing her wiglets for Sunday church (laughter).$$(Laughter) And what is a wiglet, what's that?$$That's what they called them back then, but it was just a hairpiece and it was probably shaped either in a circle, the base was shaped in a circle or an oblong and you would put it on top of your head, you know. It was like you pull all your hair back and you attach this hairpiece you know this bun and it would give you a lot of height and sometimes I would you know, I would have fun with my mother and just put two and three pieces together. You know, so she might have one in the front, on the top and one in the back (laughter), so.$$She was styling (laughter).$$Yeah, but so it was interesting because she didn't want me to become a hairstylist either, you know.$$Why?$$'Cause she didn't think that it was the sort of profession that black men could make money or a really good living doing. And--but I just persisted that that's what I wanted to do so I kept doing it.

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

James Harris

Hair stylist James Harris was born on October 20, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Emma J. Jones-Harris, a supervisor for the Boston City Hospitals, and Grover Harris, owner of a demolition and trucking company. His aunt was a hairdresser and his uncle was a barber. By the time Harris was twelve years old, he knew that he wanted to become a hair stylist. Harris attended the Newman Preparatory School High School for Boys in Boston, Massachusetts. He and a friend purchased wigs wholesale and sold them while in high school, and at the age of eighteen, Harris had his first paying client.

After graduating from high school in 1967, Harris he started a career as a hair stylist. He toured the United States with Summit Labs, an African American hair care manufacturing company. In 1972, Harris was a member of the first African American team to win an International Beauty Show. Harris earned a degree from La Newton School of Beauty in Roxbury, Massachusetts, developed products with Revlon and opened his first salon, the Libra Studio, in Mattapan, Massachusetts, all in 1974. In efforts to revolutionize the hair industry, Harris established the Hairmetrics hair care training center with stylist Olive Benson that same year. Hairmetrics was the first advanced hair training center in the world. Shortly after the opening of Hairmetrics, Harris sold his Boston salon and moved to New York in 1977 to become the styles director for Soul Scissors, the country’s first black salon chain. In 1980, Harris helped create Shear Energy, an advanced hair designing system for excessively curly hair. That next year, he started working with Glemby International Beauty Salons as president of the Black Hair Is line. In 1991, Harris became the first African American male member of Intercoiffure, an organization of elite hair stylists and salon owners. He stayed at Glemby International Beauty Salons until 1997, when he opened the Mahogany Door Beauty Center & Spa in Harlem. After three years, he left the salon and started working at L’Oreal in a variety of capacities. He remained with L’Oreal until 2007, when he decided to return to the salon industry and established the James Harris Salon in Boston and New York.

Harris is the founder of the African American stylists’ organization, Hair Fashion Group. He participated in fashion shows in South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil and other countries. He has collaborated with celebrities such as Diana Ross, Tyra Banks, Nancy Wilson and Patti LaBelle as well as designers Patrick Kelly, Betsey Johnson and Gucci.

James Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.241

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2007

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Hyde Park High School

The Newman School

Wilfred's Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture

St. John School

Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

HAR26

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

Don't Stop 'Til You Get It Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/20/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Hairstylist James Harris (1948 - ) was the first African American member of Intercoiffure, and the founder of the Hair Fashion Group.

Employment

Libra Studios

Soul Scissors

Mahogany Door Beauty Center & Spa

L'Oreal

Revlon, Inc.

Shear Energy

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Harris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Harris talks about his aunt's professorship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Harris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Harris describes his parents' discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Harris remembers his maternal and paternal grandmothers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Harris describes his earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Harris describes his community in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Harris remembers joining the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Harris describes his relationship to religion

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Harris lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Harris recalls his neighborhood growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James Harris remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - James Harris remembers family holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Harris recalls his experiences at the St. John School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Harris remembers the integrated Oliver Wendell Holmes School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Harris remembers the school desegregation in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Harris recalls his experiences at a majority-white high school in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Harris describes his start as a hair stylist

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Harris talks about working as a wig stylist

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Harris describes how he came to join the Boston Hair Fashion Guild

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Harris recalls training at the Wilfred Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Harris remembers the all-white Newman School for Boys in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Harris remembers leaving Morehouse College to open a hair salon

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Harris talks about his experiences in Paris, France, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Harris talks about his experiences in Paris, France, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Harris remembers Libra Studios and the Hairmetrics training center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Harris recalls his experiences at the International Beauty Show

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Harris talks about designer Patrick Kelly

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Harris recalls founding Shear Energy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Harris remembers working for Revlon, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Harris recalls how he came to open a salon in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Harris describes his work with model Naomi Sims

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Harris talks about the James Harris New York salon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Harris talks about the changes in majority beauty standards

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Harris talks about his mentorship of makeup artist Sam Fine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Harris remembers joining Intercoiffure

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Harris describes the Hair Fashion Group

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Harris talks about the ownership of black beauty companies

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Harris describes his hopes for the Hair Fashion Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Harris talks about the Mahogany Door Beauty Center and Spa in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Harris recalls his talk show appearances

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Harris talks about his celebrity clientele

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Harris talks about his plans for the Hair Fashion Group

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James Harris reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - James Harris describes how he would like to be remembered

Antonio Anderson

Antonio Darcy Anderson was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 22, 1965. Anderson’s parents are Linda Johnson, an Atlanta businesswoman, and Bennie Anderson, an original member of the music group, the Drifters. Anderson’s mother raised their family as a single parent until she married Herman Johnson, who had a significant impact on Anderson.

Anderson graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School in 1983. He immediately began to train as a hairstylist with Frank Arnold at Arnold’s International in Atlanta, Georgia. While attending school and working full-time at ITE, an electrical company, Anderson also apprenticed with David Fields of Daweed’s Hair Design in Lithonia, Georgia. He trained as well at Pivot Point International System of Cosmetology Science and become proficient as a colorist.

After graduating from Arnold’s International, Anderson performed platform work for Pro-Line International, Inc. as one of its youngest instructors. In 1986, with his training, family support and an established clientele, Anderson opened Styles by San Antonio in Decatur, Georgia when he was twenty-one years old. The salon continues to service clients after twenty years.

In 2001, after his third child Gabriel was born, Anderson, with the help of his wife, Raquel, designed the Gabriel Feeding Pad Break-Away to help parents multi-task while bottle feeding their baby. An appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show landed them a contract with the Babies R Us Company. The Gabriel product line is sold all over the world.

Anderson resides in Conyers, Georgia with his wife and three children.

Anderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 12, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.163

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/12/2006

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Southwest DeKalb High School

D. H. Stanton Elementary School

Columbia High School

Arnold International

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Antonio

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

AND04

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens, Adults. Inventors, New Business, Development

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Christmas

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Teens, Adults. Inventors, New Business, Development

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Think Out Of The Box.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/22/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Personal care entrepreneur and hairstylist Antonio Anderson (1965 - ) founded Styles by Antonio, a hair salon in Decatur, Georgia, and invented the Gabriel Feeding Pad Break-Away.

Employment

Daweed's Hair Designs

Styles By San Antonio

Pro-Line

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:2816,21:3168,26:6502,56:12350,133:20090,238:20434,243:20950,250:29864,307:30942,324:32020,389:44524,517:51258,610:52738,692:55032,738:55328,743:67860,894:70380,939:74520,1027:74880,1032:77400,1062:99520,1483:100012,1493:100340,1498:108715,1556:109055,1568:120530,1822:120870,1827:131130,1969:132930,2000:134655,2045:139242,2091:152192,2374:155226,2441:155596,2447:159640,2452$0,0:4697,139:8547,213:10010,247:29700,476:30125,482:31655,515:38795,668:41600,725:48910,855:59482,948:60028,957:60964,968:61510,977:70402,1166:75004,1361:88000,1536:98620,1663:98980,1668:109128,1841:121754,2001:124328,2062:134702,2317:143264,2428:147128,2494:148052,2516:151412,2589:152000,2605:152840,2628:153428,2636:154016,2645:154436,2663:155024,2672:159154,2686:159730,2699:161314,2734:165058,2893:177846,3039:182540,3132
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Antonio Anderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson describes his single parent household

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson describes his mother's parenting

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson remembers his mother's spirituality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson describes his mother and maternal aunts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Antonio Anderson describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Antonio Anderson describes his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Antonio Anderson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Antonio Anderson describes holidays with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson describes Englewood Manor in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson describes his neighbors in Englewood Manor

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson describes his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson remembers his first family vacation

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson remembers the Cub Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson remembers D.H. Stanton Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson describes his early activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson describes The Move of God Church, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson remembers moving to Decatur, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Antonio Anderson remembers Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson describes his experiences of integrated education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson recalls his family's role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson recalls the house his family owned in Decatur, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson remembers his brother's teenage misbehavior

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson describes his mother's house rules

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson describes his aspiration to become a hairstylist

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson describes the history and process of the Jheri curl

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson remembers the Arnold International School of Cosmetology in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson describes the Pivot Point International hairstyling method

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson recalls working for hairstylist David Fields

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Antonio Anderson describes his early clientele

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Antonio Anderson describes how he supported himself during cosmetology school

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Antonio Anderson recalls his first competition at the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson recalls founding the Styles by San Antonio salon in Decatur, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson remembers winning the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson remembers winning the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson describes the impact of winning the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson remembers his platform work for Pro-Line International, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson describes the expansion of the Styles by San Antonio salon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson recalls his marriage and first child

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson describes his idea for a hair care invention

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson remembers designing a tool to apply relaxer

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson remembers patenting the Quick Dispensary 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson describes the responsibilities of a patent attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson remembers introducing the Quick Dispensary 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson recalls the high production cost of the Quick Dispensary 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson reflects upon the Quick Dispensary 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson remembers inventing a relaxer caddy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson recalls inventing a trash bag dispenser

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson describes the grace period to obtain a patent

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson remembers redesigning the Quick Dispensary 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson recalls the birth of his third child

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson remembers his idea for the Gabriel Feeding Pad

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson recalls the prototypes of his bottle feeding invention

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson describes his decision to manufacture the Gabriel Feeding Pad

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson remembers finding a manufacturer for the Gabriel Feeding Pad

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson remembers soliciting investments for the Gabriel Feeding Pad

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson remembers the American Baby Faire trade show

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson remembers designing the Gabriel Feeding Pad Break-Away

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson remembers marketing his invention to Babies "R" Us

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson remembers being invited to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson describes his appearance on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson recalls securing a distribution contract with Babies "R" Us

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Antonio Anderson describes the impact of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Antonio Anderson recalls being invited to return to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Antonio Anderson recalls emails asking for advice on inventing and marketing

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Antonio Anderson describes the success of the Gabriel Feeding Pad Break-Away

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Antonio Anderson remembers securing a contract with walmart.com

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Antonio Anderson remembers appearing in People magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Antonio Anderson talks about his book and workshops

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Antonio Anderson describes his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Antonio Anderson describes the role of his faith in his success

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Antonio Anderson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Antonio Anderson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$10

DATitle
Antonio Anderson describes his aspiration to become a hairstylist
Antonio Anderson remembers his idea for the Gabriel Feeding Pad
Transcript
So, Southwest DeKalb High School [Decatur, Georgia], at this point is there--what is some of, what are some of the influences at the school? Are there teachers, counselors? Are you thinking about college? What's going on in your later high school years?$$Well, during that time I--when I was a senior in school, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do. And letting people know that you want to be a hairstylist--you just didn't go around, you know, letting the guys know that you wanted to be a hair designer, and things of that nature. It just didn't sound good, you know. And so, I really didn't need a teacher to tell me what--you know, say, this particular teacher inspired me to do this, or that particular principal--because I knew what I really wanted to do. And my [maternal] grandmother [Mable Avery] was, to a certain degree, she would do hair in the home and for the different people around the neighborhood. And so, she would use the Marcel irons, and I watched her use the irons a little bit. And, but for some reason I knew that--you know, going to see my mother [Linda Johnson] when she was able to get her hair done, and when I went--during that time I was getting my hair done. And I just knew for some reason that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something in that line, in the hair care business. I wanted to do hair. I had the knack for just doing hair, naturally. And so I didn't have to, it didn't take a lot of training for me. And so, as a senior in high school, I pretty much knew that's what I wanted to do. I knew that's what I wanted to do, but I didn't share it with a lot of people, because it just didn't sound good, you know (laughter).$$What do you mean it didn't sound good? I mean, because it's a stereotype?$$Yeah, it's very, it's stereotyped really bad, as far as most guys who do hair--that they're, that they're gay. And it's, and when I went into--when I got into--we're not there yet. But once I got into school for hair, it really was just the opposite. It wasn't--you know, you have some of the guys that was in that, going that way. But the bottom line was, you know, they were good people. You know, they were, you know, I treated them nice. And a couple of them, you know, I was great friends with. I mean, I actually was great friends with them. You know, they respected me as far as, you know, my position, and I respected them as their position, and we, we had a great time.$And so, going back to the building program, I was--during that time I was just, we were just so happy and everything that we were going to have a healthy baby and everything. And I just, the Lord just laid on my heart to--we were trying to raise money to rebuild the roof and things of that nature. So I began to--I told her, "I guess I want to sow this seed." I went up and sowed a seed, and from there--in August, Christian [Christian Anderson] was born in 2000. Two or three weeks later the Lord gave me the idea of the Gabriel Feeding Pad. And we decided to name it, I decided to name it after him. And the product is on the market, we have it on the market today, and it's called the Gabriel Feeding Pad. And his first name is, his middle name is Gabriel. And that's when the idea came to me. And I- I'm convinced that as long as this world exists, it's going to be seed time and harvests.$$Tell me, how did it come to you? What was going on that would make you think that you needed this Gabriel Feeding Pad? I mean how did you come up with the idea?$$Well, a funny thing happened. I was sitting actually right here in this living room. And I was watching, it was about five minutes to one. And I'm a big football fan of the Atlanta Falcons. And Raquel [Raquel Lett-Anderson] had said she was going to bed, she was going to take a nap, and that she was going to leave all the kids with me, and gave me Christian. And he was about three weeks old. And I was like, "What in the world?" So, I began to feed him and have a good time with him. And then I noticed, I said, "Oh, my God, the Falcon game is getting ready to come on." And so at that time I had my, I, I was trying, I was bottle feeding him, and I wanted to continue to bottle feed him; I didn't want to pour the bottle out. And so I wanted to continue to bottle feed him, and you know, caress him and have a good time with him. But I was trying to reach the remote control at the same time. And I was getting all excited and nervous, because I was trying to grab the remote control. And I wanted to turn the football game on, and I couldn't. And so I ended up putting the bottle under my chin, and I finally got the remote control on. And once I got it on and started watching the game, Raquel came through. And she began to look at me, and I was looking at her, and I said, "I have another idea." And she was like, "Oh, Lord." And I told her, I said, "I can't believe that--how you manage to do the things that you do." Because she was still, at that time she was at home. She was doing some things from the house, a little bit of working from the house and working with the children, and teaching the children and educating them at the house, and homeschooling my youngest daughter [Blaire Anderson], my young daughter, my only daughter. And we could not figure out, I could not figure out she could multitask with all the kids. I mean, how did she do all that and still be able to work with the other kids, bottle feed, eat, and this and that? And I just couldn't, it just didn't, I said it's got to be something better than that.

Leigh Jones

Hairstylist and salon owner Leigh Jones was born December 22, 1944, in Kansas City, Kansas. When Jones was four years old, his father died, and his mother moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Jones attended Frank L. Gillespie Technology and Magnet Cluster, Park Manor Elementary School, Saint Columbanus School, and Charles S. Deneen Elementary School. His uncle owned Jimmy’s Restaurant on 63rd Street, where Jones enjoyed listening to the older people tell stories. He graduated from Westcott Vocational High School (now Simeon Vocational) in 1960. Jones attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roosevelt University and Loop College before enrolling in the American School of Beauty Culture in 1962. He was one of the first black students to attend the school, and was influenced by Bernice Van Dessell. Jones graduated from the American School of Beauty Culture and was licensed in 1964. He also attended Revlon Color Institute, the L’Oreal Institute, Pivot Point International, Clairol Color Academy, and the Southern Illinois School of Continuing Education.

In 1963, Jones became the first African American to work for Jean Luc Vercammen; he began working at Carrie’s Chateau and at Frederick Glasser’s Cheers and Shears Salon in 1964. During his career, he worked with Darrell Whitten, Inc., Maximo Salon and Jean Pierre Salon before opening his own salon in 1983. During this period, he was also the stylist for A. M. Chicago host, Oprah Winfrey. Jones became the hairstylist of choice for many well known clients including Lainie Kazan, Lena Horne, Eunice Johnson, Dori Wilson, Heather Bilandic, Beverly Crown, Diahann Carroll, Natalie Cole, Marlo Thomas, Barbara Eden, Billy Dee Williams, Debra Norville, Phyllis Newman, and Essie Kupcinet. He is known for treating all of his clients with the same high standard of courtesy.

Jones has been a commercial hairstylist for Johnson Products, Alberto-Culver, Helene Curtis, Revlon and Clairol, as well as for television specials and Broadway shows. He is the chair and judge of the Gold Trophy and Silver Shopping Competition for the Midwest Beauty Show; he is also a board member of the Chicago Cosmetologist Association, Mid-American Art Association, Bike and Hike for Multiple Sclerosis, and the 10th Annual Chicago House Benefit for AIDS. Living near many of his clients in Chicago’s Gold Coast, Jones enjoys the positive feedback he gets from his work and watching football.
Leigh Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 15, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/19/2004 |and| 9/15/2004

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Simeon Career Academy

Frank L. Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School

Park Manor Elementary School

Charles S. Deneen Elementary School

St. Columbanus School

Harold Washington College

American School of Beauty Culture

First Name

Leigh

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

JON09

Favorite Season

None

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Toronto, Canada, Paris, France

Favorite Quote

They're All Wonderful 'Til They're Yours.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/22/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Food

Short Description

Hairstylist Leigh Jones (1944 - ) is one of Chicago's premiere stylists. In 1962, Jones enrolled in the American School of Beauty Culture as one of the first black students. He graduated with his license in 1964. He worked for a number of exclusive salons before opening his own salon in 1983. During this period, he was also the stylist for television's AM Chicago and then host, Oprah Winfrey.

Employment

Jean Luc Vercammen

Carrie's Chateau

Cheers & Shears Salon

Darrell Whitten, Inc.

Maximo Salon

Jean Pierre Salon

Leigh Jones Coiffures

Johnson Products

Alberto-Culver

Helene Curtis

Revlon

Clairol

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
207,0:552,7:897,13:1311,21:4416,139:5658,166:8280,220:15684,304:16581,316:18306,353:22332,419:22668,424:23340,434:25692,477:28044,588:30648,678:31068,684:37406,775:37945,783:39177,804:40717,826:41949,852:42334,858:43104,873:43489,879:44336,893:49341,992:49726,998:50881,1021:51266,1027:52575,1048:53191,1057:58836,1063:59766,1088:60820,1116:61750,1156:62246,1165:64292,1216:64726,1224:65284,1238:66276,1262:69252,1323:69934,1340:70616,1356:70926,1362:71236,1368:74708,1456:75204,1465:76320,1495:76878,1507:85251,1583:86079,1599:86424,1606:88425,1676:89115,1691:90840,1729:91392,1739:97550,1766:98190,1777:98750,1786:104190,1917:104830,1930:109806,1970:110282,1976:114838,2093:115246,2100:115586,2106:125022,2230:125682,2244:127464,2289:130368,2355:131160,2369:131490,2376:131820,2382:135450,2418$0,0:1260,20:1680,27:3500,70:5040,106:6440,147:8470,199:13650,303:14770,325:15190,332:15680,341:22110,392:22974,405:28446,572:29022,586:29310,591:29886,600:30318,608:32622,655:33414,675:34926,715:35286,726:37230,766:38094,789:39246,806:39678,813:49492,902:50295,914:55225,976:57240,1034:60100,1082:64585,1208:64845,1213:67965,1299:68290,1305:68680,1313:70305,1349:71345,1371:73685,1424:75115,1467:84704,1557:85343,1567:87473,1609:87970,1618:91270,1631:91526,1636:91846,1642:95302,1731:98438,1807:100614,1872:106046,1924:106900,1958:112268,2138:115501,2216:116599,2238:117758,2265:118124,2273:118368,2278:119222,2293:120686,2327:121479,2344:123248,2391:129342,2416:130287,2433:130539,2438:130917,2445:131484,2457:131736,2462:132114,2469:133437,2498:133689,2503:135579,2550:142400,2639:142725,2645:145130,2701:145455,2707:148770,2782:149290,2792:152680,2809
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leigh Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones describes his mother's family background and her battle with breast cancer

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones describes his mother's migration from West Memphis, Arkansas to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones talks about his mother's second marriage and his worries about having a half-sibling

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones recalls living with an aunt and uncle upon his family's move to Chicago, Illinois in 1949

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls places he lived in Chicago, Illinois upon moving there in 1949

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about his uncle's restaurant on Chicago's South Side and the 63rd Street business district

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones talks about being young for his grade level and remembers an artistic aunt who mentored him

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones talks about his love of football

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls getting into fights as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones recalls his summers in Kansas City, Kansas and his family's values

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about his brother and his fear of his brother's enlistment in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones recalls his childhood in the church, attending Westcott Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois, and Emmett Till's murder

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones recalls his fear of doing white women's hair in private booths

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls the impact of seeing Emmett Till's body in Jet magazine

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about the grade schools he attended and how the Dan Ryan Expressway solidified racial divisions

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones recalls his childhood family dinners

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leigh Jones recalls being discouraged from writing with his left hand and transferring schools because of a racist teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones recalls his how his high school vocational training was useful and talks about a surprise party that was thrown for him

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones remembers his love for music and his church life

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls his father's death and how it affected his relationship with his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones shares why he almost did not graduate from Westcott Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones lists the colleges he attended

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones describes attending and leaving the School of the Art Institute and beginning to consider a career in hairdressing

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about hairdressers in his family and attending American School of Beauty Culture in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls a teacher who tried to deny him opportunities due to his race

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones recalls surviving a car accident

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones describes working at the post office during college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones describes how he got his start as a hairdresser with Fred Glaser

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones talks about getting an opportunity to work with Fred Glaser

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones talks about the clientele at Fred Glaser's salon and changing his own look to attract customers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones recalls his first interaction with a customer who helped him build his business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones recalls strangers' reactions to seeing him shop and dine with his client, Meg Folk

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones recalls situations in which he and others he knew were conspicuous because they were black or appeared to be black

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about the lack of black people on the Gold Coast

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recounts being harassed by the Chicago police, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones recounts being harassed by the Chicago police, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones recalls being harassed by police while shopping on Chicago's Near North Side

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones recalls doing Oprah Winfrey's hair when she worked for AM Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones explains why he stopped being Oprah's hair stylist

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones talks about how long it takes to do hair and opening up the industry for other black stylists to work beyond black communities

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones talks about changes in hairstyling and the difference between hair cutters, hair stylists, and hairdressers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones illustrates the relationships between stylists and between stylists and their clients in a French hair salon

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the relationship between clients and stylists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones reflects on how hairdressing has taught him the importance of interpersonal relationships

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones talks about the increased use of blow dryers in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about doing hair for HistoryMaker Linda Johnson Rice and where he and other hairdressers gather inspiration

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones talks about the politics of hair and trends in hair statements

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones explains why he does not tell his clients' stories and remembers being stuck in an elevator as Lainie Kazan tried to help him

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones recalls instances where he has kept calm as another hairdresser yelled at him

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls an anecdote about Lainie Kazan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the most rewarding part of his job

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about dressing according to the occasion

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones shares a story about a client who passed away

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about the African American hair care industry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the future of black Americans as part of the broader American culture

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Leigh Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Leigh Jones recalls his fear of doing white women's hair in private booths
Leigh Jones reflects upon the relationship between clients and stylists
Transcript
When I first came to work Near North [Chicago, Illinois] in the beauty salon I worked in, one of the beauty salons I worked in, the salons were privatized. They had privatized booths and you had to go in this booth and close the curtain. Well it never occurred to me when I came to work Near North the majority of women were white. There weren't any black women working in there and--or coming in there as patrons. That wasn't my concern even though I had gone to a beauty school [American School of Beauty Culture, Chicago, Illinois] where they told me initially they didn't want me because they didn't know why I would want to learn how to do hair in their school when no white woman would ever let me touch them. And I said to them well obviously you don't know your history because hairdressers historically were the house slaves. Those were black people. So it means that you know back in the days of Scarlett O'Hara and all the others with the (unclear) curls and the--they were black people doing that, not white people. So I had no concerns about what I wanted to do, but they didn't want me in that school. And as a result, I went to the American School of Beauty Culture in Des Plaines [Illinois] because they wouldn't allow me to go to their school on Wabash Avenue. And once I went to the Des Plaines school, I took a train there and three buses every day, one of the teachers finally said to me, this is ridiculous. Transfer to the downtown school. You're already now a part of our system and they can't throw you out. And then that's what I did. But as I started to say, when I first worked in the salon, Darrell Whitten [Inc., Chicago, Illinois], they had these privatized booths and you would go in there and close the curtain. In the back of my mind was always Emmett Till and I just, I told them when I first came there and they offered me a job. And I said but I can't go in one of those little rooms. I want to work out in the front where everybody can see me and where I can see everybody. And they said but you know this is how we do it. I said well I really won't work like that. I can't work like that. And I lied. I said I was claustrophobic. I wasn't claustrophobic but what I was afraid of was going into a room with a white woman. I was young and closing the curtains and god forbid she would say I did something and then I would have myself, find myself in trouble.$You know there, the ironic thing is there are some women who can't be satisfied no matter what's going on because it's not about their hair. It's about a lot of other things. And that's one of the reasons why again like I said I--my motto, my personal motto is the best surprise is no surprise. I do consultations on many person before I ever see them professional in the salon. I have a consultation because then I know if you're somebody I can deal with, if you're somebody I want to deal with. Great thing about the consultation is, am I somebody you want to deal with? It's a very personal kind of relationship. I mean actually hairdressing is probably one of the last personal service businesses in the world that everyone affords themselves I mean from presidents to heads of state, senators, police chiefs, garbage guys, garbage men, waiter, waitresses. Everybody gets their hair done by somebody at some point. But the bottom line is it's like in physics, the physical science, water seeks its own level and there are people that you initially connect with. I mean most women will tell you they can get in the chair of a hairdresser that they've never been to and the minute he touches them they know whether it's going to be good or not. It's like a massage. I get massaged two, three times a week. I can get on a massage table with somebody and the minute they touch me I know if I'm going to complete this massage cause if it's not going to be good, I get up. Because when something's bad, all you get is agitated. And there's just something that innately tells you this is or is not going to work and the same thing happens with women, the same thing happens in beauty salons. You just know that there's some women--you get women who come in and they say oh I went to this person last week and I was with this person last month. And I was with this person last month. Red flag goes up. I'm not even going to make an appointment with you. Why would I? So that I can be the next person, when you get in the next person's chair you can say, "Oh and I went to [HistoryMaker] Leigh Jones last week and I didn't like what he did either." Thanks but no thanks. At no amount of money is it worth it for me to do that. And so you know you have to make determinations about what you will and won't do, what you can and can't do. And it has a lot to do with how you personally interact with another person. Some people just do and some people just don't. And believe me, more people get in trouble trying to do things with people they don't gel with knowing from the beginning it's not going to be right and you still insist on, well maybe I can work this out. And it just never happens that way. And then you end up with both parties being unhappy and upset and having a problem.

John Atchison

Hairstylist and salon owner John Atchison was born in 1941 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. As an adolescent Atchison moved to New York City and finished high school there. Atchison grew up in close contact with his extended family and was initially motivated to be a hairstylist by watching one of his aunts do hair at her own beauty shop.

After finishing cosmetology school, Atchison worked at several salons before landing an assistant stylist position at the fashionable Vidal Sassoon salon. Rising swiftly through the ranks, he was soon appointed manager and artistic director for the Vidal Sassoon salons in New York City. In 1976, Atchison branched out on his own with a salon in New York where his methods and techniques have been at the forefront of style. As a salon owner Atchison is a strong advocate for professionalism and has implemented apprenticeship and continuing education programs. Subsequently, Atchison went on to found a training center for hair care professionals as well as a line of products for African American hair. Through his organization, he has trained thousands of hairstylists in the United States and the Caribbean.

The John Atchison Salon now has two locations, New York and Los Angeles, and after 25 years as an owner Atchison is regarded as one of the premier educators in the industry. Atchison is a motivational speaker and lecturer, and has been awarded numerous honors including a citation from Modern Salon in 1999 honoring him as one of the 75 educators of the century. He is also a consultant to the New York City Board of Education's cosmetology program.

Accession Number

A2001.001

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/2/2001

Last Name

Atchison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture

Morris High School

Carver High School

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Spartanburg

HM ID

ATC01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Colorado

Favorite Quote

Treat them for what they are and you make them worse, treat them for what they can become and you make them better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/15/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sardines, Crackers

Short Description

Hairstylist and salon owner John Atchison (1941 - ) was regarded as one of the premier educators in the hair care industry. He owned the John Atchison Salon, located in New York and Los Angeles.

Employment

Vidal Sassoon

John Atchison Beauty Salon

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Atchison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Atchison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about building relationships with his family members

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Atchison talks about researching his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Atchison talks about his father's cab company, and the limousine business run by his uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Atchison talks about his childhood love of cowboys

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Atchison recalls memories of growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Atchison describes his childhood hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Atchison considers what might have inspired him to own his own buisness

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Atchison lists the schools he attended in South Carolina, and describes a prophesy he received at church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Atchison talks about moving to live in New York City as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about attending school in New York City, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about working in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Atchison describes what motivated him to attend cosmetology school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Atchison describes the triumphs and challenges of attending cosmetology school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Atchison describes the cosmetology field, hair trends during his early career, and his first two jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Atchison talks about getting hired as an assistant at Vidal Sassoon Salon

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about resigning from Vidal Sassoon Salon, and his vision for African American haircare and styling

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Atchison describes how he was hired to work at Vidal Sassoon Salon in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Atchison talks about the challenges he faced as a trainee and manager at Vidal Sassoon Salon in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about opening his first hair salon, John Atchison Salon

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about how he built his clientele

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Atchison describes how his haircutting techniques contributed to his national recognition as a hairstylist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Atchison comments on clients that have aided his development as a hairstylist, including Camille Cosby and Minnie Riperton

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Atchison reflects upon his talent and haircutting techniques

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Atchison considers what makes a great head of hair

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about what he learned as a manager at Vidal Sassoon Salon, and how he applies those skills to the John Atchison Salon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Atchison briefly reflects upon the maturation of his relationship philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Atchison describes the experiences that led him to become an educator, and eventually create a training program for stylists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Atchison talks about forming the Cultural Events Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Atchison talks about the development of the John Atchison Training Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Atchison talks about what inspired his hair care line

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Atchison reveals his plans for the future pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Atchison reveals his plans for the future pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John Atchison reflects upon the state of African Americans in the hair care industry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John Atchison talks about his initial decision to focus on hair products over salon expansion

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - John Atchison talks about the significance of African American entrepreneurship in the hair industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - John Atchison makes an analogy of playing cowboys and Indians as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - John Atchison reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Atchison narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Atchison describes photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

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DATitle
John Atchison talks about getting hired as an assistant at Vidal Sassoon Salon
John Atchison reflects upon his talent and haircutting techniques
Transcript
And so okay so you're doing that-Charles [Rome] gets you to come downtown [New York City, New York] and--tell us that story.$$I applied, where he was working [Paul Mitchell Salon] I didn't get hired, they didn't need anyone and I'm walking around and going into various shops. I went to the top shops at that time, Kenneth's [Salon, New York City, New York]. I went to Vidal Sassoon's [Salon, New York, New York], okay then I went downtown to--the guy who was the top guy, a black guy in New York was Walter Fountaine. He and a guy named Rudel [Briscoe] and they had just broken up their shop and I got a job as an assistant working with Walter and a guy in Walter's shop named Lloyd Rota (ph.) from Bermuda. He had trained in London [England] so he had these little scissors and he was cutting hair and he was real cool, I mean he was so smooth and I assisted him and Walter. I used to just watch him, study his style because I loved the way he handled his clients and hair but I had been intrigued with the Sassoon thing because when I was roller skating-I came from a ice skating rink and I passed his shop. I didn't know it was Vidal Sassoon's at the time, I just knew I liked the ambience of what I saw in the window. When I was working at Walter's I used to go to Sassoon's to apply and I told Walter [Fountaine] I was interested in working with Vidal [Sassoon] and he said he knew him and he really wanted me to stay with him but if that's what I wanted to do then fine. So I would just keep going to Sassoon's every month I would go and apply, they didn't need anybody and I'd just keep coming back. Eventually I'm going to get hired, they will get tired of telling me no and eventually I got hired as an assistant.$$So tell me what world that opened up for you and what period of time--how long have Vidal been around?$$I really didn't find the year that Vidal came over, I might have read it someplace but I think he came over in the late '50s [1950s] okay and he revolutionized the whole hair cutting, hair styling thing because his emphasis was on cutting and blow drying and everyone else in New York was teasing, back combing big hair. So that was a hot shop to be in. I didn't know that at that time, I just knew that I liked the ambience and I wanted to learn. After my experience with Walter who when I started with him, I wasn't a stylist, I was an assistant. Now I'm still working in the subway selling tokens. So when I finally got hired the fellow who hired me became a mentor later on, a guy named Edward Wadsworth [Green], he's not here anymore. But I kept going there and when I got hired oh boy we--they worked you, sweeping floors, getting coffee for clients, washing towels and gowns, assisting blow drying, curling hair, shampooing and then two nights a week they would train you in hair cutting and I stayed there for five and a half years.$So you--a whole new world opened up, really with that. You sort of hesitate when I asked that.$$I was thinking about this whole new world and was I really thinking about it as a whole new world or was I thinking about it as being just grateful that I had an opportunity to--for my work to be appreciated. That was more than anything, from the beginning when people were like oh you cut so wonderful, I love your cuts. I didn't understand what the whole fuss was about. When I was at Sassoon's [Vidal Sassooon Salon, New York City, New York]and my clientele was building, I knew I wanted to build a big clientele and I knew how I was going to do it. But people began to appreciate my work, you know because I knew was going--my personality I was going to be what I thought a stylist was supposed to be about, okay and that was polite and charming and all the things you know, and you smile at the right time and do all the things and I enjoy doing it anyway. So it wasn't like I had to act it out, okay. So I enjoyed being that way; that was me anyway. So I knew I had that part down but it was the technical part, I didn't know really how good I was to other people and people--they would come back and they would fly in from different places for me to cut their hair and I didn't get it. And I always worried about what is this that they are coming back for, you know? And as things were happening, I still didn't--I didn't know what it was. Why me when they had a lot people who can cut hair.$$So now you--when you approach a head of hair can you talk about that moment?$$That was like a whole new world. The actual working on the hair, seeing the growth pattern, capturing the movement of the hair, the bone structure, the look, how it would frame a woman's face, the things that I could do with hair as I'm cutting it. How I could cut it and make it perform and grow in a different direction. How I understood the movement of it and the growth pattern from a cutting aspect and it was like without the help of anything, blow dryer, rollers or anything, I could cut that shape in there and I loved that. That was like--I would get lost into it. It was like being--making love, I mean to see that hair move and you're controlling it, you know. I mean, I just loved it. And then I knew everybody can't do this, you know. Even though there are a lot of stylists they can't cut hair and understand that they can do what I can do. Now I knew there were guys that could but there were very few, very few guys could really cut hair. And I was there, they said the guys in London [England] were really the best, I went to London and I checked them out and the best guy Sassoon had, I worked with him. Roger Thompson, he passed away about two years ago and I worked with him. Studied him--I studied all the guys who were supposed to be the best in the world and I was there and that just made me feel--it was amazing.$$So in many ways you're very much an artist?$$$$Okay, I'll take that.$$You're very good.$$People say that and I always tell people if you study something as hard and intense as I did with cutting, you will be good too. I mean that was my feeling. Now what motivates you to do that; that I don't know. Well I can't say I don't know, I say I know because it comes from God. I think God puts the talent in you. He puts the gumption in you to just go ahead and do it. Now you've got to get up and do it and that drive--it just like blew my mind. Even today if I can get a great head of hair and the freedom to cut it the way I want to, I will play in it all day long. I could just cut, just minute pieces, just getting it--perfecting it. Getting it to move but you don't have time when you're doing clients to do all of that. You've got to get to the next client so you do your very best but give me no limits, great head of hair and any texture and just watching it move.