Keya Neal, known as the force behind the texture vs. race movement and as an educator, is creating a stylist support resource community called Kolours of Kovid to act as a safety net for stylists. The Kolours of Kovid community offers mental support, food security and financial assistance to those who develop severe COVID-19-related symptoms and for those whose recovery is an active one due to the virus.
A community healer and leader by nature, Neal contracted COVID in early December and quickly deteriorated as secondary symptoms began to develop. During her time recovering in the hospital and her continued recovery journey while at home, the outpour of support for Neal, combined with her firsthand experience with COVID, inspired her to shine a light on the unique hardships that stylists face during this pandemic. Now, she is calling upon stylists, beauty industry brands and small businesses to come together to create funds, wellness baskets, and pool resources for stylists in need.
“This disease is ravaging our communities and the shame, stigma and unfamiliarity around it cause far too many people to suffer in silence when we could help," she says. "The recovery process of this virus is an active one—one that can last days, weeks, even months. Each day ‘after COVID’ is different, filled with an unpredictable rotation of symptoms caused by the damage done to the body. One day it’s a cough. One day fever and chills. Some days you are completely fine, only to succumb to overwhelming weakness the next."
During her recovery, many of Neal's peers in the salon industry confided that they had been silent about how COVID ravaged not only their body but their business long after the infection had passed. “Even if you’re no longer positive, the damage done to your body can leave you with COVID-like symptoms, such as extreme weakness, a cough and in some cases extensive lung damage," she says. "Being a stylist is already a physically demanding occupation, but it’s also one that requires you to be physically close to your client. When you have a cough you can’t control, your clients don’t care that it was from an infection from months ago.”
Those who would like to join the Kolours of Kovid community can click here to register.