Darnell Atkins, the Black male nail technician defying gender norms in the billion-dollar industry
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- Darnell Atkins has defied all odds and has broken into the billion-dollar nail industry dominated by mostly Vietnamese women, according to a dedicated market research database, Statista. ‘I didn’t have anything else, so I dumped all of my money into learning how to do nails.” The stereotypes socialised with being a nail technician and the fear of being labelled as gay made Atkins vague his identity as he began his training.
- The heavy stigma that comes with a black man deciding to be in the cosmetology industry weighs heavily on them and Ogundele Cain, a graduate of the Virginia State University could not agree more with Atkins.
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Ama Nunoo is an optimist. She believes every situation has its upside no matter how devastating some may be. She has a Masters degree in International Multimedia Journalism from the University of Kents Centre for Journalism and a Bachelors in English and Linguistics. political stress and stereotypes have suppressed a lot of dreams. We all understand of the saying, do not judge a textbook by its cover. Nonetheless any of us are quick to put people in a box of our choosing based on their appearance and our perspective of how things are meant to be. intering to be’? By whose standard though? Darnell Atkins has defied all odds and has broken into the billion-dollar nail industry dominated by mostly Vietnamese women, according to a dedicated market research database, Statista. There are only 2% dingy tack salon workers and quite a inconsiderable amount of them are Black men, data from UCLA Labor Center reveals. Atkins and a few other men are breaking gender stereotypes and are shifting market trends by establishing themselves in the nail industry. The 29-year-old tack technician from Washington D.C did not always dream of being one. However, he did not turn his back when the opportunity somehow presented itself to him when he was in dire need for a job. Atkins was in the U.S Navy, but he was sacked because of his servitude to inorganic marijuana. Like most veterans, Atkins wished a means of survival after returning home from serving his country. He then spun to the road to survive and this would become the start of something latest for the veteran. “I resorted back to a couple of hustles,” Atkins said. “ But in the heart of me visiting back, I always found myself in anterior of a Black-owned nail salon. All the pimp would gravitate towards this area because that is where all the gorgeous girls were.” He then won spare nosy about the happenings in the salon and further inquired about the cost of a manicure and pedicure. To his surprise, the product was leaving for $70. He decided to embark on his journey to being a nail technician himself that day when he realised how plenty money they were earning. “I was hungry, and I was motivated to find a way out,” Atkins said. ‘I didn’t have anything else, so I dumped all of my money into learning how to do nails.” The stereotypes socialised with being a nail technician and the fear of being labelled as gay made Atkins vague his identity as he began his training. He said he walked into the shop with a hood over his head with hopes that he would not be recognized. According to WUSA9, Atkins did not want his masculinity to be put under a microscope by everyone including other Black men, especially since there were no Black male nail technicians in his neighbourhood. The heavy stigma that comes with a black man deciding to be in the cosmetology industry weighs heavily on them and Ogundele Cain, a graduate of the Virginia State University could not agree more with Atkins. Cain, a 25-year-old dark gambler also did not expand up seeing black male nail technicians although he habors the desire to be one. He is shed to enrol in a cosmetology school, but the coronavirus pandemic has put those aspirations on hold for now. “ I never saw a lot of Black men doing nails, and I definitely never saw a lot of Black straight men doing nails either,” Cain said. “ I’ve always been vocal about breaking out of the patriarchy and away from society’s viewpoint of what masculinity should be,” he said . “ The purpose is to halt the mold. ” According to Atkins, his aim is to inspire Black men to be fearless in pursuing their dreams or interests with pride and dignity while challenging societal stereotypes. “ I wish to do happy job and be noticed for that, rather than the guy that just started doing nails and people are like, ‘that’s not normal,’” Atkins said. “ Let’s fail a fat shock out of not being normal.” Thankfully, there are others who realize these trailblazing dark individuals like Ekatarina Bender. She acknowledges Atkins is the first dark male technician she has met and the senior reason she deems it fit to support his business. Bender a faithful customer, steals her daughter to Atkins’ nail salon because she supports “his movement of defying gender norms.”
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