Tamekia Swint uses her skills as a stylist to help educate parents of black children on haircare. For nearly ten years, Swint has shared her knowledge with hundreds of families across the United States. From three clients in 2010 her non-profit, Styles 4 Kidz, has transformed the lives of over 500 children. She focuses on adoptive families, specifically white parents who adopt children of color. These kids have a hair texture that is entirely unlike the hair of a white person. To help their children feel their best, these parents must learn what black hair needs and how to meet those needs.
A trip to Poland inspired Tamekia Swint to start her non-profit organization, then called Styles 4 Girlz. She taught a hair-braiding class to a group of students on an overseas mission trip. After she returned home, she met a transracial adoptive mom. The mother knew she didn’t understand how to style her child’s hair and reached out to Swint for help. Once the two connected, Swint’s mission took form. This mom introduced her to a whole network of transracial adoptive families in need of the same guidance.
"Our goal is to create a safe space where children and families don't feel judged for their lack of knowledge about hair care."
Three years later, Swint decided to expand her mission. She originally offered in-home consultation services to her clients but saw a greater need in the community. Styles 4 Kidz continued to teach foster and adoptive families how to care for black hair. However, they added specific consultations for children of color who have special needs. The organization also visits residential homes and detention centers to give underserved children a sense of dignity. Swint says one of her goals is to build a community of diverse people who can style black or biracial hair, boosting self-esteem and cultural pride.
"We also desire to create a community of support for these families by inviting African-American families to participate in our mission."
In addition to their one-on-one services, Styles 4 Kidz has opened one of the first non-profit salons. This brick-and-mortar salon is a place where African and African-American kids can receive protective styles, hair treatments, and advice on how to care for their tresses. Swint emphasizes how important it is to celebrate black hair!
"As an African-American community, we want to come alongside these families."
Parents of biracial children are often inexperienced with black hair. Even Kim Kardashian herself explained that she doesn’t know exactly how to deal with North West’s curls. She’s come under fire for straightening North West's hair. Kim pointed out that she only allows North to straighten her hair two times a year because she knows heat treatment can destroy the girl’s curls. Still, Kim herself hired a professional stylist to teach her how to braid North’s hair into protective styles.
Even the most privileged of mothers, Kim Kardashian herself, struggles to know how to care for her daughter’s ethnic hair. Tamekia Swint is on a mission to help moms just like Kim who want to learn more about black hair. One by one Swint is fixing the crowns of these gorgeous children and teaching their parents to keep their tresses healthy and happy - just like their children.