|Hair stylist and community organizer Shaina Machlus (left) with her mother|
Machlus, a Guilford College graduate and professional hair stylist who gives free haircuts to people experiencing homelessness at the Interactive Resource Center, is the instigator of the Hair Do Project.
A crowd diverse in age, race and income level representing the intersecting worlds of activism, art and cosmetology gathered at the Interactive Resource Center for the a photo exhibit, documentary premiere and panel discussion on Friday.
Machlus later explained during the panel discussion that she envisioned the project as a way to draw out personal stories from people based on their experiences with hair and to string them together into a social history that will empower collective transformation.
"If you want to have a nice social experiment, ask them about their hair," she said. "If people don't want to talk about anything else, they'll talk about their hair, whether they have it or not."
A celebratory mood highlighting a sense of collaboration pervaded the unveiling of the Hair Do Project, which received funding from the NC Humanities Council.
"I'm so happy to be part of a Southern city that's so ripe to become so much more equitable, engaged and communal," Machlus said.