Makeup Artist Alekedia Jefferson, left, worked on Stella Luoma’s face during the Kings and Queens Day event at YouthLink
The event was held to commemorate Black History Month. With the help of volunteer stylists, barbers and makeup artists, young people struggling with homelessness were given the chance to look and feel good during Minneapolis nonprofit YouthLink’s third Kings and Queens Day, held in conjunction with Black History Month last Wednesday.
YouthLink Community Coordinator and Opportunity Navigator Thomas Collins said that 75% of the young people they serve are Black and brown, making it crucial to celebrate Black History Month. The drop-in center for homeless youth hosted a Malcom X brunch earlier this month and will showcase art during an event on Friday. Looking good can help uplift these young people, he said.
Junior Davis worked on Erick Brandon’s face during the Kings and Queens Day event at YouthLink
“Appearance plays a lot into people’s self esteem, their self worth. They don’t get too many chances to go to a barbershop or afford having their makeup did,” Collins said.
The young people getting pampered are also getting inspired, said Collins. They can see themselves in the stylists, barbers and makeup artists, all people of color. The young men got to experience the barbershop atmosphere that builds community for many Black men, said Collins.
“Everybody that’s here right now, they really care about these youth and they want to see these babies smile, because they don’t get to smile too often,” Collins said.
Story: Zoë Jackson