By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer
Two decades after her first visit to the Latin American island with African roots, local hair stylist and entrepreneur Akilah Hatchett-Fall returned to Cuba looking to share some sacred knowledge.
Hatchett-Fall is the owner of Sacred Crowns, located in downtown Sacramento across from Golden 1 Center. Natural hair enthusiasts remember the master loctician’s previous salon, K.I.N.K.S. International, as one of the early places to get one’s hair done.
During our recent trip, Hatchett-Fall shared how lifelong learning, a history with the Black Panthers and her many world travels help shape her worldview and approach to natural hair.
“[We have to think] how we can use our hair as a weapon to protect us, as a vehicle to go within and as a vehicle to move forward,” she said. “I want to teach that wherever I go and have that translated in whatever language of the country I’m at.”
In Havana to provide support for the Cuban people, Hatchett-Fall looked for salons to partner with. Some local salons weren’t quite there yet, offering only chemical straightening services. She ended up doing a hair demonstration at the home of our trip host Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, who shared that Hatchett-Fall started her locs 25 years ago. When Hall-Trujillo came back to Sacramento in 2021 and first mentioned the possibility of going to Cuba to me while meeting at a downtown coffee shop, I gave her directions to Sacred Crowns, where she had an appointment to get her locs touched up.
During the Cuban demonstration, Hatchett-Fall shared her process for evaluated hair – and the people whose heads it grows on.
“We need to understand the power of our hair and what it does and what it’s capable of, because it is magic,” she said.
“I am a curandera for hair. That’s what I am,” she continued, referring to the Spanish word for a healer or person who possesses magic-like skills.