Area hair stylists improve self-esteem for homeless women

By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
For The Birmingham Times

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Takaya C. Maddox knows all about miracles. She considers herself one, recounting the story that she could have died before she was born at a Birmingham-area hospital.

“I stayed in my mother’s womb too long,” said the Roebuck resident, explaining that she was born in September when her mother was due to give birth in July. “The doctor sat on my mother’s bed and cried and told her if I died it would be his fault. He said if I lived, ‘I was going to be mentally retarded.’

“So my whole life is a miracle,” Maddox, 40, said. “Everything I do is miracle-based.”

The 40-year-old’s hair salon is Miracle’s Hair Design in West End; and her hair product line is Miracle’s Hair Bundles. Her foundation is Be The Miracle.

“When I have my daughter, she’s going to be named Miracle,” she said. “I’m pretty sure she’s going to come by way of a miracle.”

On Monday, Feb. 26, Maddox assembled 10 stylists in a classroom at Pathways, a day center for homeless women and their children, to help carry out a vision of helping people feel good about themselves.

“Women and men love to look and feel good. When you look and feel good, your attitude, how you feel about yourself, your confidence, your well-being is boosted,” Maddox said.

“Be The Miracle is us giving the miracle of getting your hair done,” she said. “We’re all licensed hair stylists and we just want to give back, to let people know that we love you and we want you to feel good about yourself.”

Be The Miracle launched in December 2017. The foundation previously held hairstyling sessions at Alethia House, a community-based organization that provides substance abuse treatment and prevention services to low-income individuals, and the YWCA.

Terri Eckert is one of the 38 women who had her hair styled Monday at Pathways. She was dressed in a suit, shoes, blouse and necklace that she received from the clothes closet of the women’s day center on Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard next door to the Redmont Hotel.

Eckert was set to interview at a pair of local law firms for a paralegal job. The outfit and hairstyle would make a difference, she said.

“Any time you look good as a woman, your self-esteem rises,” Eckert said. “That’s what I need. I need to feel good, professional and get a job.”

Maddox said her eyeliner was not at its best on Monday because she had been crying as she drove to Pathways because she knew what impact the service could have on the women.

Takaya C. Maddox (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. photos)

“I’m a girl who suffered with low self-esteem,” said Maddox, who grew up in Green Acres and graduated from Midfield High School. “I’m a girl who suffered with confidence issues and I wasn’t on the street. I can imagine what their environment dictates to their spirit.

“This is just a piece of the pie to let them know God loves them,” Maddox said, noting gift bags each woman received when their hair was done. “We put a card in their bag that says, ‘You are God’s miracle.’ They are. Each and every one of us is an individual miracle. God blessed us with something. You’ve just got to find that something.”

Maddox describes herself as a church girl who loves God to her heart. There’s nothing, she said, like helping someone who cannot pay you back.

“There’s nothing like being there and giving something to someone who cannot give back,” the stylist said. “One day of badness can take you all the way down for years. Well, when you get one day of good things and one day of feeling good and feeling encouraged and feeling that confidence, it can lift you all the way up.”

Other participating stylists were:

— Tara Garner, manager, Miracle’s Hair Design.

— Carla Tucker, Miracle’s Hair Design.

— Sonya Ivy Smith, Divine Hair Designs.

— Teaira Braxton, Styles by TeAira Monroe, Sola Salon.

— Jennifer Moore, JenWalDesigns, Sola Salon.

— Tangi Nix, Hair Exraordinaire, Sola Salon.

— Deondra Brooks, Face Candi Hair & Makeup Studio, Sola Salon.

— Jennifer Rose, J Rose Boutique.

— Alexis Tooson, Larajes House of Styles.

— Arkimmie Jackson, Brown Beauty Institute.

Solomon Crenshaw Jr. is a member of the board of directors of Pathways.