Hair Wars is a land of fantasy

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Detroit is known as the Motor City, but for some it’s the hair capital of the world.

As Hair Wars enters its 31st year, hair stylists from all over the country come to learn, experience and take part in the show that has inspired so many people.

A tribute to music, hair stylists and cars, the theme this year is “The Motown Show” and will feature 20 skits that are five minutes each with 10 lifetime achievement awards given to hair stylists who have revolutionized the hair industry.

As the unique sound of Motown music merges with hair design, Detroit stylists make fantasy hair creations that only they can dream of.

“Groups like The Supremes and The Marvelettes have set trends in not only music and fashion but hair, too,” said David Humphries, founder of Hair Wars. “The Motown era alone inspired so many people. I wanted to put on a show that focused on Detroit and all the talent that it has produced and has to offer.”

Humphries came up with the platform for hair stylists as a way for them to showcase their talents. After seeing how popular the segments became during his parties as a local club host, the idea for Hair Wars was born as stylists from Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago began to flock to Detroit to participate in the annual show.

“We are innovators when it comes to hair,” Humphries said. “The quick weave, the spike ponytail and the French role all originated from Detroit. There is no limit when it comes to hair design.”

While Keith Matthews has participated in hair wars since 1992, he still finds new and creative ways to push the envelope with hair.

Matthews is known for his designs, like the fantasy Coca-Cola wig and Tootsie roll wig. This year, he plans to incorporate records and cars into his hair creations.

“When people come to a hair show they don’t want to see basic hair styles like wraps or something that you would see every day,” said Matthews, who has been doing hair for more than 40 years and is the owner of Beauty Village hair salon. “This is hair entertainment. We are coming up with designs that people haven’t seen before.”

Before the show, a natural hair care class will take place, giving tips and instructions on how to take care of braids, twists, locks and spiral hair styles.

While the main show will be on the stage, Humphries encourages people to participate from their seats by sporting creative hairstyles and wearing eye-catching clothing.

“A lot of side shows go on in the audience,” he said. “It gets everyone excited to be able to showcase their own hair styles and fashion. It’s a way for people to be themselves and that is what Hair Wars is all about.”

(313) 222-1855


2016 Detroit Hair Wars ‘The Motown Show’

6:05 p.m. Sunday

Ford Community and Performing Arts Center

15801 Michigan, Dearborn

$20 advance; $25 at door

(313) 534-8318