Flint, MI–In honor of International Women’s Day, Comma Bookstore will be hosting its second annual textured hair care community drive. 

Started last year by Comma Bookstore owner Egypt Otis, the drive, which began Jan. 10, will run until Tuesday, Mar.8. In that two-month period, Otis is hoping to collect hair care products geared toward textured hair.

Otis, who spent a lot of her time working in the areas of victim advocacy and in shelters, noticed that hair care products geared toward textured hair were often scant.

“I was aware of the issue of having accessibility to various types of hair products that are really centered around more ethnic textured hair and I think it’s really important that we address this issue and have a larger conversation about access and autonomy because it’s something that many shelters nationally are not aware,” Otis said. 

Egypt Otis poses for a photo on August 14th, 2020 in her soon-to-be-opened Comma Bookstore and Social Hub located in downtown Flint, Mich. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Otis also mentioned how for many advocacy organizations across the country, the focus on finding housing and employment for those in need sometimes obscures immediate self-care needs like those met by the proper hair care products. 

Otis also talked about how recent developments both locally, statewide and nationally like the introduction of the “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act” or CROWN Act, to the Michigan House of Representatives in early 2021 have shaped the conversation around textured hair. 

“Because there is so much of a focus just on getting housing, getting employment, sometimes just the person as a whole isn’t taken into consideration. I think it’s really important right now, especially since there is legislation being done with the CROWN Act … to provide a service for International Women’s Day and help start the conversation,” Otis said. 

Last year, the drive managed to raise upwards of $2500 worth of hair care products and Otis said she is hoping for similar results if not better for this year. 

For more details on where to find these products and where to drop them off, you can visit the Comma Bookstore Facebook page here

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...