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Wakati Hair, FAMU, and Walgreens Band Together to Highlight Importance of Supporting HBCUs

#WhatsNextWakati Panelists: L-R: Robyn Mowatt, Mikki Taylor, Noella Williams

Partners hosting a pop-up shop and expert panel to examine trends in Black hair care and to expound upon the importance of corporate engagement and investments in HBCUs

CINCINNATIFeb. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration and recognition of Black History Month, Wakati Hair—a new, Kao USA-owned hair care brand catering to African American hair textures—and Walgreens will take to the campus of Florida Agricultural Mechanical University (FAMU) for a pop-up shop experience and panel discussion, Wednesday, Feb. 23. The panel portion

#WhatsNextWakati Panelists: L-R: Robyn Mowatt, Mikki Taylor, Noella Williams

features the expert commentary of Mikki Taylor, renowned author and Editor-at-Large, Essence Magazine, Noella Williams, Freelance Journalist (Euphoria) and FAMU student, Robyn Mowatt, Staff Writer, Okay Player, Stylist, and FAMU alum, who will join the companies along with students and faculty for a candid discussion about beauty trends and the importance of initiatives that support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like FAMU.

“Wakati Hair and FAMU share a rich backstory of partnership and collaboration, as FAMU business school students helped with the launch of this product line,” said Kenya Foy, Kao Industries. “As the first major retail chain to sell Wakati Hair nationally, Walgreens support was a catalyst for national distribution. We’re excited to join forces for an event that showcases the strength of our work together.”

Wakati Hair Care first launched in November 2019 on Kao USA’s first direct-to-consumer site wakatihair.com. The company started its work with FAMU’s School of Business and Industry (SBI) that same year, enlisting the help of a cohort of students that worked on brand ideation, marketing, and packaging design. The four-product line debuted at Walgreens in January 2021.

Walgreens was the first national retailer to sell Wakati Hair, and the brand is currently sold on Walgreens.com and available in stores in approximately 700 Walgreens retail pharmacy locations nationwide. Wakati, meaning “time” in Swahili, represents how generation after generation has used natural hair to connect with their ancestry, showing how the beauty of Black culture can be represented through hair.

“Walgreens is delighted to join Wakati Hair and FAMU for this campus program that commemorates Black History Month,” said Alethia Jackson, Walgreens vice president, federal government relations. “We believe deeply that partnerships with and investments in HBCUs are an important part of our commitment to improving the health and wellness of communities we serve.”

Wakati Hair now boasts distribution at a host of other national retailers including Walmart, Rite-Aid, Kroger and more. Following the success of this first-of-its-kind partnership for Kao USA, the company continues its ongoing support of FAMU and other HBCUs through additional funding, tailored programming, student mentorships and internships, and job opportunities.

As part of this experience at FAMU, students will ‘shop’ the pop-up experience and have the opportunity to listen to the panel conversation titled, “What’s Next? A Conversation with Wakati Hair on HBCUs & the Future of Beauty.” The conversation will address the evolution of workplace beauty standards and industry trends, as well as underscore the need for corporate and industry support of HBCUs.

The panel will be streamed and recorded for replay. Please visit https://whatsnextwakati.eventbrite.com to register for the panel conversation. Shop Wakati Hair on Walgreens.com.


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