By Tony Jones
MEMPHIS, TN — Memphis cosmetologist and entrepreneur Anita Williams got the perfect Thanksgiving tweet this week when OWN TV star Kimmi Grant said that she was featured Williams’ invention the Wig Pal™ on the popular nationally televised show.
Now in it’s 9th season, “Love and Marriage: Huntsville” featured the Wig Pal™ as a backdrop on a segment shown Saturday night. Though brief, the three clear camera shots of the Wig Pal™ are an invaluable plug that happened to come at the right time. Her shoutout can be seen on Instagram.
The owner of Attitudes Hair & Nails Salon in Whitehaven, Williams came up with the idea for the Wig Pal™ to properly service her custom wig line, but is now building a company to respond to customers wanting their own. Awarded three patents by the U. S. Patents and Trademarks Office, Williams, her family and assistant cosmetologist LaToya Kelly eat, sleep and drink the Wig Pal ™ Company trying to push it forward. The hit on such a major show couldn’t have come at a better time.
“She is so sweet for doing that,” says Williams. “I wasn’t able to see it, and I still haven’t seen it yet but my son recorded it for me and I’m going to soon as we can go home. We were at the hospital attending to my mother in law when she reached out to us to let us know that the segment was airing” It proves that black people can and do work together every day, she says.
“She did a promo for us last year because she liked the product and we’ve since become friends. She found out a couple of months ago that she had cancer, but the type of person that she is, and this is so inspiring to me, she decided to get out in front of it. She had beautiful hair, but found out that she had to do twenty weeks of chemotherapy, so she started wearing wigs. Then, she came up with the idea to cut her hair and have a wig made from it, then several more. Hair loss is common for chemo patients, I know because I lost my mother to it, and we’re going through it now with (her husband) Curtis’s mother. So many people get terrified, which makes the loss of hair from the chemotherapy even worse, but she decided to get out in front of it. Go black woman!”
Another element in the Wig Pal™’s evolution is how it has created a mission for Williams and the company as strong awareness advocates for women suffering from hair loss, particularly the widespread condition Alopecia Areata. Williams began suffering with it many years ago, and has several clients that also suffer from it. Highlighted by the bizarre attack on Chris Rock by movie star Will Smith at the Academy Awards earlier this year, African American women comprise the largest segment of those suffering from Alopecia, and a small support community had begun to grow to at her shop, so she decided to push it forward to help women depressed by it drop their hesitation to be open about it like a zero and become their own hero. In August, the Wig Pal ™ Company launched the Alopecia Allstars, comprised by her customers that have it. They contacted the national Alopecia Areata Foundation, held an awareness building online event, then followed it up with an online fundraiser weeks later that raised over $1,000 with less than 72 hours notice.
“Alopecia or not, we’re still fierce,” one of the ladies said on the broadcast. And as the popular street saying goes, say no more.