Celebrity Hairstylist Vernon François on Being a Black Man With Red Hair and Freckles

vernon francois, redhead, red hair, black men
Vernon François is not a “ginger,” but he is a proud black man with red hair and freckles. (Photo: Nkrumah Farrar)

Vernon François‘s hands have touched the heads of the most beautiful and brilliant women Solange Knowles, Lupita Nyong’o, Cynthia Evrio, and Ava Duvernay, just to name a few. His skill and expertise on natural hair has led to some pretty iconic looks. Case in point: Nyong’o’s towering Met Gala hairdo.

While François mostly keeps his close cut crop hidden underneath stylish fedoras and wide-brimmed baseball caps, the celebrity stylist tells Yahoo Beauty that he “100 percent embraces having red hair.”

Me and some of my #brothers

A post shared by Vernon François (@vernonfrancois) on Mar 16, 2017 at 7:37am PDT

“It hasn’t always been that way,” he says. “Growing up, it was a stigma. I attracted playground bullying and faced some difficult times. As a teenager, I sometimes dyed my hair brown to disguise it. The road to loving my natural, vibrant color was quite long and filled with some obstacles.”

The negative attention François received because of his bright, orange hair and freckles is why he doesn’t like the label “ginger.” He explains, “It doesn’t bring back happy memories for me.”

One joyful moment François experienced being a black man with freckles and red hair was posing for London photographer Thomas Knight’s Red Hot 100 exhibition, which portrayed redheaded men in a positive light. “Taking part in Red [Hot] 100 has changed my life beyond measure, because of the amazing and beautiful people that I met through it,” he says. “It was monumental being part of a group of redheads who had all experienced challenges and discrimination, now being role models for others.”

François is able to embrace his truth and accept everything that makes him who he is. He explains:

“This is who I am: a black man with freckles on my face, freckles over my body, and red hair. I love and embrace my uniqueness and individuality every part of me, exactly as I am.”

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