Bridgeport Neighbors Rally To Support A Black-Owned Beauty Salon That Had Its Windows Shattered By A Vandal With A Sledgehammer

Robert Hundley

BRIDGEPORT — Opening up a hair salon was a desire come legitimate for Brittany Matthews.

For as long as Matthews can recall, she has liked anything about the manner and natural beauty industries and hoped one particular day she could begin a organization of her individual. Previous summertime, she was equipped to open Haus of Melanin at the corner of 34th Spot and Morgan Street in Bridgeport. 

“We do nails, we do makeup, pure hair, braids, locs, every thing,” stated Matthews, who is trying to make her salon sense cozy and harmless for everybody. “I desired some thing that felt like you had been at household, chilling and comforting.”

Credit score: Provided/Brittany Matthews
Haus of Melanin’s home windows had been shattered by a vandal.

But on the evening of Feb. 12, the welcoming place Matthews and her personnel experienced labored so really hard to develop was vandalized. A man threw a sledgehammer into one of the salon’s home windows, wholly shattering it and a window up coming to it. CBS Chicago 1st described the vandalism. 

About an hour soon after Matthews and her stylists shut the salon, a neighbor spotted a person in a ski mask managing up to the retail store with a large sledgehammer, Matthews reported. The neighbor yelled and called the cops. The man broke the window, ran back again to his motor vehicle and drove absent. 

No footage of the vandalism was accessible for the reason that Haus of Melanin’s outdoor safety cameras weren’t activated that evening, Matthews said.

No just one has been arrested, police claimed.

“My coronary heart was shattered when I noticed it. I was like, ‘Why us?” Matthews mentioned. “For some thing to transpire like this that you perform so tricky for, I was just devastated.”

The store closed the following day for the reason that shattered glass littered the ground. For virtually a week, Matthews couldn’t phase foot in her very own salon for the reason that she was so harm — the boarded-up home windows have been a distressing reminder of the hateful incident, she explained.

“But my family members, and my women at the shop, everybody was like, ‘You have to preserve going.’ And we determined we have to do something. Which is when people today started out achieving out to us and showing us guidance,” Matthews said.

Matthews began an on the web fundraiser, hoping to increase $5,000 to include the price of repairs. So much, the fundraiser has gotten about $4,400. You can donate on the internet.

Ambria Taylor, a ten-calendar year resident of Bridgeport and applicant for 11th Ward alderperson, observed what took place to Haus of Melanin on Twitter a several days immediately after the incident and was annoyed it wasn’t getting a lot more focus. 

Taylor asked Matthews if neighbors could go away notes of encouragement on the plywood more than the broken window to beautify it, and she shared Haus of Melanin’s fundraiser. That led to donations tripling, Taylor mentioned.

“She definitely rallied up the neighborhood like, ‘No, we’re not heading to have this in Bridgeport,’” said Matthews, who started off viewing neighbors pop into the salon just about day-to-day to affirm their support for the company and supply their assistance.

“You stroll by the shop just about every day and it is stunning. [Taylor] bought so much guidance for me, and we reached the objective to get everything replaced.”

Credit score: Amy Qin/Block Club Chicago
Brittany Matthews needs Haus of Melanin to be a cozy, welcoming house.

But neighbors want to aid Haus of Melanin further than offering income for the repairs, Taylor stated.

“They really need to experience like they have neighborhood assist and that everybody isn’t silently agreeing with whoever did this, mainly because which is the information you mail when you don’t say everything,” Taylor reported. 

Matthews said she’d been warned Bridgeport “probably wasn’t the ideal neighborhood” for her Black-owned small business. A “Trump 2024” flag hangs on a household in close proximity to the salon, and Matthews mentioned she has seen anti-Black Lives Matter messages there. The neighborhood has observed many instances of anti-Black violence in its history.

But things are modifying for the far better in the community, Taylor claimed, and people are embracing the chance to make Bridgeport — a lot more racially numerous than ever — experience extra welcoming.

Since opening in June, Matthews mentioned her salon has been “booked and chaotic,” buzzing with shoppers from as considerably as Michigan. Despite what would seem like a setback, she’s fully commited to the neighborhood and needs to remain in Bridgeport, or at least until she outgrows the house. 

Matthews, a Roseland indigenous, life close by and has identified as Bridgeport dwelling for a few a long time. She would like to inspire her 7-calendar year-aged son, Brayden, who has autism, to do something he places his thoughts to, including most likely continuing the family members enterprise, she claimed. 

“If he wants to open up a barbershop or choose over the hair salon, he can do that in the potential,” Matthew explained.

For now, while, Matthews is concentrated on expanding and growing her salon. 

“I just want Haus of Melanin to be a residence brand,” Matthews said. 

You can follow Haus of Melanin on Instagram for updates. 

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