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Black History Month Special Report: J&T McCullough hair salon

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:51 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - In 1986, Tanya McCullough-Hart opened J&T McCullough hair salon in Ocala with the help of her father, Joe McCullough, who passed away in 2014.

Now, she and her brother run the salon offering styles for natural and relaxed hair.

After being around for over 30 years, she has seen several generations sit in her chair. One day her clients are just little girls and then the next they’re grown with kids of their own, and she’s styled their hair for every occasion.

“They graduated from middle school and then they graduated from high school and now they’re out of college and they’re married and they have children and some of them are bringing their children in so it’s wonderful.”

With all her involvement in the community, she’s known as a neighborhood therapist, just like many other Black hair stylists.

“Hair salon stylist have been called therapists, doctors,” explained McCullough-Hart. “Literally, we may not have the Phd in psychology or psychiatry but it is a source of release for people.”

While people sit in her chair and explain what situations they may be tangled up in, she and everybody in the salon always work together to straighten it out.

“Someone may come in and there are some issues going on with their family or even issues in this community or the country and we pray together about it,” said McCullough-Hart.” “People have said, ‘man I’m glad I came today. That’s just what I needed so now I know what to do.”

She also explained that it’s time for the black community to get back to their roots.

“When we’re not unified we’re not going to stand, so we got to get back to that,” expressed McCullough-Hart. “We got to get back to God, back to family, get back to unity.”

While supporting Black businesses does generate more wealth in the Black community, she said they are especially important as a model for young Black boys and girls.

“They need to see that being an entrepreneur, being able to have your own, being able to be your own boss...that’s possible,” said McCullough-Hart. “And without Black-owned businesses, they won’t see that.”

As far as Black History Month, she’s happy to see how far the Black community has come.

“Look where we are today where we have a vice president that’s like us,” added McCullough-Hart. “So, thank God for Black History Month, and may we know it goes far beyond than just Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman, we have people today we should be looking up to.”

Tanya McCullough-Hart is just that for young people today.

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