From homelessness to hair stylist success

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Shawn Reece in action. Pic © Ady Sargeant JMU Journalism

An ambitious hairdresser has turned his life around by starting a hair business, just a short year after experiencing homelessness and hate crime.

Shawn Reece, 37, moved to Liverpool from Trinidad and Tobago in 2019 in an effort to find better work opportunities.

However, he was left homeless after a disagreement with the friend he was staying with. He was then placed in an asylum hostel, where Shawn says he was subject to hate crime form others that lived there.

It was then that he got in touch with the Anthony Walker Foundation which helps to promote racial harmony. Shawn said: “There’s so much human potential in migrants it’s unbelievable.”

Shawn was initially upset with the lack of Afro-Caribbeans embracing their natural dreadlocks and that led to the inspiration to set up his own business after studying at Liverpool City College.

YouTube: Ady Sargeant

Shawn says he is extremely passionate about hair and believes his work as a hairdresser is about much more than simply changing a client’s personal style.

He told JMU Journalism: “I see hair as therapy, as a way to help people deal with their emotions.”

Initially he began working from home but then recently started his business, Afro City Hair, after being introduced to Yemi Sheen, 41, who is the owner of Yemi’s Barbershop on Smithdown Road, Toxteth.

Yemi opened his barbershop in 2003 after previously working for Tony Cummings, who helped him to set up his shop. Mr Sheen ssaid: “I look at it as a platform to help others out.”

About Ady Sargeant, JMU Journalism