Mari Pressley

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — A new Winthrop University student group is working to bring together and offer support for young black women on campus.

The group called The Blueprints, which became active last semester, holds an Instagram bio that reads “for BLACK WOMEN, by BLACK WOMEN.”

The group hosted a cornrow workshop on Oct. 10 for students interested in improving their braiding skills and learning the basics of cornrowing, while also providing information about overall maintenance of natural hair textures.

“It’ll really helped me to not depend on other people to do my hair, because when I feel like I have to do my hair, I get overwhelmed and I feel like I can’t do it, so learning how to cornrow would be very helpful,” Jerney Wilson, a business management major, said.

For many students, being away from home where students have access to family members or hairstylists they’re familiar with, can be a challenge, as they’re forced to find new methods for maintaining their hair while at school.

Katrina Mack, a hair stylist and owner of the UltraKare Hair and Beauty salon, taught students how to properly care for their hair and maintain it on their own.

“The overall takeaway, the biggest one for me is to embrace self. Your natural hair is who you are. It’s what grows from your scalp, so the more you embrace it and the more you are knowledgeable about how to care for it, the better it’ll be,” said Mack, who also shares hair care information on her Instagram page The Curl Curator.

While learning basic cornrowing skills, students also had the chance to serve as live models.

“See me personally, all I do is put heat in my hair. I don’t really wear my natural hair, but the more that she was telling us, I learned the different textures, what products you need to do and what’s really the best for your hair,” Kiera Jenkins, a fine arts major, said.

At the end of the event, students were able to purchase hair care products, they were given individualized advice about their textures and offered free one-on-one 20 minute virtual sessions to ask questions.