Fishers beauty school teaches expression and evolution of African hair braiding

Posted at 2:38 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 13:28:44-05

INDIANAPOLIS — African hair braiding dates back centuries.

"It originated in 3500 BC," Tempest Golden, the assistant campus director at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Fishers, told WRTV. She teaches the history and styles of African hair braiding.

Braiding was how African tribes indicated their tribal nation, age, marital, and class status.

Braided hairstyles are still a way of identifying oneself in the Black and African American communities. However, as time has progressed, the styles have transcended into a form of individual expression and protection.

"It still is an expression to identify who you are, what you believe in," Golden, 32, said.

From Bantu knots, also known as Nubian knots or Zulu knots, to box braids or cornrows, braiding as a hairstyle has lasted generations in the Black and African American culture. It's just as likely evolved.

"It's always been the same," Golden says, "Everything is a big cycle. So what they did back in the '80s is coming back where they're doing what we call now 'tribal braids,' but we used to call them 'layer braids,' or what they call 'lemonade braids' now is what we used to call 'feeders,' where you're just feeding hair in — so it's just one big cycle."

Braids have also evolved into weaving through additional hair, colors, beads, ponytail holders with plastic balls attached (mainly seen on children), and other jewels.

"I love everything about this industry. I love how it's constantly evolving," Golden said of being in cosmetology. "I love how this industry, with braiding, and everything, is ever-changing."

Tempest Golden, the assistant campus director at the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Fishers, teaches the history and styles of African hair braiding.

'We just teach hair here; we don't teach race.'

Often, white hairdressers are not taught how to do Black hairstyles or maintain the textures of Black hair.

"We don't know how to do your hair" is a common statement made by white hairstylists to multicultural women. And if you do happen to find a "mainstream" salon that's able to do different textures of hair, you'd likely pay a pretty penny for it.

Just as recently, a Washington woman's TikTok went viral last year after sharing her experience being turned down by 26 salons when she inquired if they could do her 4c curly hair. Several commenters who said they were stylists claimed they either weren't offered courses on different textures while in beauty school or it cost extra to get into those specific classes.

Golden says when hairstylists of any race only learn how to do one type of hair, they're doing nothing but limiting themselves.

"I do fashion shows. And at any given moment, I can do any type of hair; I can do any type of makeup because I market myself, and I'm not limiting myself," Golden said, as an example.

At Tricoci, Golden explained, they teach all hair.

Tempest Golden braids Alexis Chambers' hair on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Tempest Golden, the assistant campus director at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, braided a heart in the hair of one of her students, Trinitee Allen (pictured).
Trinitee Perry, a student at Tricoci University, poses after having her hair braided.

"We teach textures of hair. We teach whether it's fine, medium, or coarse. And we teach about density. We teach about how to be able to manipulate the hair," Golden said.

Golden says she has white students who get excited to learn traditionally Black hairstyles and flat iron ethnic hair.

She adds that money is to be made when you know all textures and ways to maintain hair. Once stylists figure that out, she says, being a multicultural hairstylist will be the mainstream.

"We just teach hair here; we don't teach race," Golden said.

The Tricoci University of Beauty Culture was founded by Mario Tricoci in 2004. It has over 15 campuses, including this one in Fishers.

Golden has been doing hair since she was 12, when she taught herself how to do just about any braiding style. While earning her cosmetology license at the since-closed Regency Beauty Institute, Golden remembers taking a class on ethnic hair that a white woman instructed.

The Indianapolis native says she knows that the industry is changing and becoming more culturally inclusive and aware.

"And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck in a mindset where 'I only need to do my texture.' No. Make yourself relevant. Make yourself marketable. Do everything."

You can learn more about Tricoci University at

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WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.