Meet The Black Male Nail Tech Confronting Gender Norm

He believes there is a heavy stigma that comes with black men doing nails.

Darnell Atkins, a 29-year-old nail technician from Washington D.C,  began his journey in the billion dollar nail industry after being removed from the U.S. Navy for his alleged past addiction to synthetic marijuana. Unfortunately, he later found himself on the streets, in dire need of money, looking to make ends meet after returning home from serving his country. One day, Atkins visited a nail shop in his neighborhood where he inquired about services for a manicure and pedicure. When the nail technician finally revealed pricing, Atkins knew that day it was time for him to start his own nail shop. “I was hungry, and I was motivated to find a way out,” Atkins said. ‘I didn’t have anything else, so I dumped all of my money into learning how to do nails.” According to Atkins, there is a heavy stigma that comes with black men doing nails, and most decide it’s not worth society questioning their masculinity.

“I resorted back to a couple of hustles,” Atkins said. “But in the midst of me resorting back, I always found myself in front of a Black-owned nail salon. All the hustlers would gravitate towards this area because that is where all the pretty girls were.”

Atkins’ goal is to inspire other Black men to pursue things they are interested in without feeling ashamed.“I want to do good work and be noticed for that, rather than the guy that just started doing nails and people are like, ‘that’s not normal,’” Atkins said. “Let’s make a big impact out of not being normal.”

You call follow Mr.Atkins on social media: @Nen10doe



                                                                  Image Credit: Darnell Atkins

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