Meet the New Yorker Giving Outdoor Donation-Based Haircuts to Support Black Lives Matter
A comb, pair of shears, folding chair, handwritten sign, and gold-trimmed mirror were all Anthony Payne needed to create his traveling hair salon — an outdoor space where New Yorkers can finally get their grown-out haircut while simultaneously contributing to the fight for racial justice. For the past month, Payne has been offering open-air, donation-based haircuts all over Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, with clients’ payments directly benefitting the Black Lives Matter movement.
A cosmetologist and freelance hairstylist, Payne provides cuts in various outdoor locations all around Williamsburg, following the CDC’s recommendation to bring indoor group activities outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic. His go-to spot is nestled up against a fence under the Williamsburg Bridge, but he has also posted up on top of the bridge, on nearby sidewalks, at McCarren Park, and on the North 5th Street Pier, each site just as breezy and picturesque as the next. Both he and clients wear face masks during appointments, and those waiting for first-come-first-served haircuts stand in line six feet apart from one another. As Payne described on his Instagram Stories, “We literally broke down the salon concept and reinvented what we felt was right in this moment for an amazing cause.”
News of Payne’s charitable project quickly spread around the community via social media and word of mouth, and in just a few weeks, he racked up more than 300 clients and donated more than $3,000 to bail bonds, families affected by acts of police brutality, and various organizations and funds, including Young New Yorkers and the NAACP.
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