WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — As Black History Month comes to a close, we take a look at a Black-owned business that is creating opportunities for barbers in the area.
The Wichita Falls Barber Academy was created in 2018 and is the only barber academy in Wichita County.
The constant buzzing of clippers, the alcohol burns after a haircut and constant jokes are the ingredients that make up a barbershop.
At the Wichita Falls Barber Academy, student barbers like Jonathan Durant are learning how to become great at their craft while serving their customers.
“Unfortunately I got laid off due to the COVID, it was a perfect opportunity to start my career as a barber. I’m taking it day by day hopefully I’m getting better by better and plus I like working with the kids. It’s always been a passion, something I love to do,” Durant said.
Older local Black barbers told owner Byron Lacy that they weren’t allowed to go to the barber school in Wichita Falls in the 1960’s because of segregation.
That led them to go to East Texas to go to barber school and even Lacy had to go to Dallas to obtain his barber license.
Lacy said as soon as he stepped in a barber school, he knew he wanted to open one himself.
“Coming here to Wichita Falls to open up the first barber school since then, I feel like it’s one of the biggest accomplishments of my professional career. Just to be able to come back and give back to the community where I was born and raised. To be able to do this all over again and give people this opportunity that I didn’t have,” Lacy said.
Making it a little easier on barbers like Durant, who is thankful he can stay right here in Wichita Falls.
“Feels great. Saves me time, saves me money, it’s convenient. I’m right down the street from here so this is really helpful,” Durant said.
Lacy said he is making sure students know all of the skills that it takes to be a barber.
“Any questions I have, he’s there to help me out. Any time I have any issue with customers, he’s there with me helping me with my clients,” Durant said.
A craft that Black people and many others could not obtain in the city can now be learned at the Wichita Falls Barber Academy.
“You’re almost like a counselor to some people. People will come and unload a lot of their daily lives, situations, what’s going on at home, they’ll unload it on their barber. You’re more than just a person that cuts their hair,” Lacy said.
The most students Lacy said he takes at one time is around 16.