PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Northeast Portland barber shop connects culture and community among Portland’s Black community, which is one of the smallest among major cities.
The Influential Grooming Lounge offers a space for community members to get a haircut, locks, braids and a social aspect “where people can congregate, and have a good time and hopefully leave enriched,” Arthur Williams, founder and co-owner, said.
Williams noted, “Portland is a place where a lot of transplants come. You have big corporations like Nike, Adidas, Intel and stuff like that. So, when these Black people come to town, they want to find a Black barbershop where they can get their hair done the right way.”
With staff who grew up in different areas from Alabama to Haiti, Williams says it’s the people who work at the shop that make it stand out.
“Everybody that works in our barber shop is from a different background or different place,” Williams said. “We’ve got this plethora, or melting pot, of cultures in our barbershop.”
Outside of Portland, Williams is also a celebrity hairdresser, which gives him the opportunity to work on TV sets and travel the world.
Williams says this gives him the opportunity to put The Influential Grooming Lounge on the map and lets others know “there’s Black people in Portland,” and “there’s really dope Black people in Portland that do real, big things.”