Forget jewelery or high-priced electronics. In cities across the United States, thieves increasingly are setting their sights on a new target: human hair. We explore the growing black market for human tresses, and the recent rash of hair weave thefts that's supplying it.
Part Three of The Current
The Business of Hair
We started this segment with a clip from Lisa Amosu, owner of My Trendy Place hair salon in Houston, Texas. And you heard her right. Earlier this month, robbers broke into her business and stole $150,000 worth of hair. What's more, this isn't an isolated incident. Wigs and weaves made of human hair have become increasingly popular, thanks in large part to celebrities like Britney Spears and Beyonce modeling the look. In fact, human hair is now a billion-dollar business.
And based on a spate of thefts in cities across the United States in recent months, it seems that robbers are looking for a piece of the profits. To help us better understand what's behind this recent rash of human hair thefts, we were joined by Neal Lester. He's a professor of English at Arizona University, who also happens to be an expert on the culture of hair. Yes, there apparently is a culture of hair. Neal lester was in Tempe, Arizona.
We also heard Patience Chodokufa saying that the hair in her shop comes from India. India, in fact, supplies most of the hair being used in salons around the world. Scott Carney writes about that in his new book, The Red Market. He was in Long Beach, California.
Artist: Steve Dawson
Cd: We Belong to the Gold Coast
Cut: # 9, Orange Grove in California
Label: Black Hen
Spine: BHCD 0030
Last Word - Hair
Before we part ways ... a final thought about hair. We talked a lot about it today ... specifically, the popularity of weaves made of human hair. Well, Asha McLeod doesn't care what they're made of. She thinks any kind of weave or hair extension is a bad idea. And it has nothing to do with fashion sense. Asha McLeod is the co-owner of Jazma Hair Inc. in Toronto. And she got the last word today on hair.
Other segments from today's show: