First Black-owned beauty school in Rochester aims to bring jobs, opportunity to area

Couple open Rochester’s first Black-owned beauty school

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester welcomed its first Black-owned beauty school into the fold Saturday morning, Visions School of Beauty. While that’s already a milestone for owner Kenisha June, she and her husband Jerome June are aiming for much more than that. The two are hoping to give back to their community and bring jobs and opportunities to the students Kenisha will teach.

Kenisha has been working in the beauty business since she was in high school at Edison Tech. Through her two-decade career, she’s learned under others, developed her own style, and eventually opened up her own business: Visions Beauty Salon. Surrounded by a well-dressed crowd of friends and family and local leaders, she opened up her second business right next door. 

“I said, ‘Why not pay it forward and start giving back to the community, to individuals who want to learn how to do hair for a living?'” Kenisha said. “So this was the next best thing — it’s the next best thing from owning a hair salon, so here we go!”

The full-service hair school can take up to 16 students at a time, and will give them all the tools they need to start their own beauty businesses.

“So they’re going to learn the hair, the nails, the skin,” Kenisha said. “And then I myself, as a business owner, will be giving all the business skills that I have.”

The Junes said they’ve spent many late nights over the past two years working hard to make their visions a reality. For Jerome, it was important to open the school in the neighborhood that raised him: The North Clinton corridor. 

North Clinton Avenue is well-known in the city as a hot spot for gun violence. News10NBC has reported time and time again on shootings in the area. But we’ve also reported time and time again on the people who live there, who want to see the streak of problems end

“I know this neighborhood well – we’ve been hit with a lot of crime, a lot of drug activity, so I really wanted to be a part of the solution,” Jerome said.

Folks in the area — and local leaders who attended Saturday’s ribbon cutting — said they’re excited to welcome them. 

“It signifies hope into this community,” Monroe County Legislator and area resident Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons said. “Everyday we’re working with businesses just to retain their business – to see a new business come in – again [it’s] a very special ribbon cutting. It means hope.”

While the starting date hasn’t yet been finalized for classes, Kenisha is hoping to hit the ground running with her first sixteen students. 

“We just don’t want to be noticed as a black-owned hair salon,” Jerome said. “We want to be someone that’s creating jobs, providing opportunity, and also providing hope for this community.”