oumou Sy from Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, came to New York in 1991 and began showing her skills in hair care. Though she didn’t speak English at that time she began working in small hair shops in Harlem. Years later she received her Natural Hair Care License in Cosmetology and Natural Hair Care from the State of New York.
Under the tutelage of Khady “Khady Rasta” Ndiaye, Oumou started her hair care business at home. As her clients base grewthrough the “grapevine” she continued to craft her talents by attending seminars and workshops and competing in the top African American Hair Shows around the country.
Oumou has won several awards for “twisting” and is one of the most sought-after hair braiders in Central Harlem.Clients often travel from neighboring states to get their kinky twists, flat twists or goddess braids which are neatly crafted with natural hair, and with the best hair products.
Due to the overflowing home-based business, in 2003, Oumou moved her business to the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market Incubator Program (MSHMIP), and in 2005, she relocated to her current 1300 sq. ft. location at 116th Street and Malcolm X Blvd.
Many African American and African women have stories to tell about wearing natural hair. Oumou in her quiet way has gained the respect of many women, men-young and older, by giving them the confidence to wear natural hair.
She is thankful to have learned the skill of hair braiding and plans to open a school to teach hair braiding techniques to children in Central Harlem.