In 1998, just two years after she immigrated to the United States from Senegal, Africa, Benta Diaw opened Touba African Hair Braiding in Seattle’s trendy Belltown neighborhood. Over the years, Benta built her successful business the old-fashioned way, by working seven days a week to establish a devoted clientele. Along the way, Benta became a U.S. citizen and has been able to support herself and her two young children as well as her family in Africa with some of her earnings.
Touba is a clean, professional salon that specializes strictly in braiding, weaving and natural hair locks—skills Benta learned more than 20 years ago from her mother and her grandmother in Senegal. Due to Benta’s adamant belief that these techniques are natural and celebrate the God-given diversity of Africans, Touba does not offer chemicals treatments of any kind. Benta considers her services to be far more than cosmetic or “skin deep.” Indeed, part of Benta’s mission is to teach her customers the value of natural hair care as an emotional and spiritual pilgrimage deserving of love and respect as an ancient African art form.