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Black and queer SB couple seeing “overwhelming” support, but also call for community to change

Luna Bella Owners
LunaBella Make-Up & Hair
Christin and Ash Brown, owners of LunaBella Make-Up & Hair and Pura Luna Women's Apothecary.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Ash and Christin Brown own two businesses in Santa Barbara, including a hair and make-up salon that has been open for more a decade. The black, lesbian couple also owns a health and wellness shop, but both businesses remain closed to in-person customers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ash and Christin say, however, that the ongoing national conversation about systemic racism has led to a recent wave of support, with more customers buying from their online store.

“We have definitely been blessed with an overwhelming response to people wanting to support local black-owned businesses,” Ash Brown said Wednesday. “So we are a little bit overwhelmed with the amount of online and phone and email orders that we’ve been receiving.”

While the community at large has shown support recently, the couple says, it has also been problematic over the years.

“We just feel like we are obviously under-represented here [in Santa Barbara],” Ash said. “We like to think that we live in this really diverse, you know, open-minded bubble. But we’re also seeing major wealth disparities and also disparities in our community and not being able to be seen in that way.”

Ash said that in the past, some wedding parties have canceled the salon's services when the clients realized Ash and Christin were a black lesbian couple. She also described forms of racism from customers coming into their shop.

The couple hopes people continue to support black, queer and other minority communities, as well as the businesses they own.

“It is time to really congratulate, support, love on these marginalized communities,” Ash said. “Because we’ve brought so much to the culture of the U.S., and also to us as a community.”

In the meantime, the couple continues to take online orders and prepare for clients to safely return to the salon and the shop in-person, likely in July.

For more information, you can visit the couple's salon and wellness shop websites.

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle

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Ryan Fish

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