When Jazzale Mackins’s hair isn’t done, she’s a “nervous wreck.” Style is important to her, as she’d prefer to draw as much of a distinction between herself and others as possible, especially regarding the “do.” When she first had locks, she noticed others were sporting locks, too, which didn’t sit right with her. She had to switch it up. Coming from a family of seven brothers and three sisters, her desire to stand out in a crowd is more than understandable.
It’s more than a personal preference, though, as hairstyling is a near-lifelong fascination that she’d love to turn into a career. Her current post-high school trajectory is to study cosmetology and break into the glitz and glamour of the beauty industry. “Seeing other people do hair and how successful they are doing it is what makes me want to do it,” Jazzale says. Personal transformation and the link between exterior beauty and our internal security is the universal need she wants to investigate further.
Jazzale’s social circle is as carefully maintained as her hair. She separates those she knows into two groups, “friends” and “associates.” Socializing is more straightforward for her because she prefers one best friend over one too many fairweather friends. “I tend not to have [a lot] of friends because I don’t like drama,” she explains. “I like to stay out the way. I feel like the best way to stay out the way is to solo rock or have one friend, no more.” The so-called “associates” haven’t quite made a permanent impact on Jazzale’s heart yet, but she doesn’t count them out entirely. It’s a matter of trust. “Associates are people that I might talk to, keep it cordial with, but I wouldn’t go tell them something that’s personal,” she says.
Her older brother Jukeivion, by her description, is a foundation in her life. “I look up to him. I feel like that’s my whole heart,” she says, placing one hand over her chest. “He makes me feel safe. When I’m with him, I know nothing can harm me. That’s my best friend. That’s my boy.”
In August of last year, Jazzale lost her cousin Jaquavion to a senseless act of gun violence. The event was difficult enough to process because of how close they were, but the terms they were on at the time of his death led her down a mental spiral of self-doubt and misplaced blame. “It hurt me so bad because whenever he left, we weren’t on good terms,” she explains. “It made me feel bad but I had to learn to stop blaming myself because it wasn’t my fault.” Reminders of the good times they fostered together, no matter the circumstances close to his passing, ultimately led Jazzale out of that dark place: “I know how I feel about him. I know how he felt about me at the end of the day. We’re family.”
She channels her grief into her current passions, which are to help others “look good, feel good” and educate others on the importance of setting aside hate and judgment. That’s why if she could do anything possible, she’d commit to ending racially motivated violence and its underlying racist attitudes. “I don’t hate racist people; I hate the way they think,” Jazzale says. “I feel like we’re all the same person. We bleed the same, so why must we fight? What made y’all hate us so much that y’all have to call us names and treat us like trash?” She admits that she prays for people who hold these attitudes daily, which warrants a commendation for immense patience. If you read her words over again and feel a certain way, then perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and figure out for yourself what those feelings are, where they originate from, and what you can do about them. Check your fade, curls, coif, pompadour, or perm while you’re at it. Jazzale can help you with that, too.