Rev. Gerald Wilson, 46, on stumbling into success

August 27th, 2018 3:37 PM

By Michael Romain


I've been doing hair for more than 20 years. I got started in hair after telling a big lie and trying to right my wrong. I was in college at the time and I didn't have any money, so I went to my grandmother, we called her Grandma Stan, and asked her for some. While I'm asking her for the money, she said, 'You should go to cosmetology school,' but I had no idea what cosmetology was or what it meant. Well, I went along with it so I could get the money and went about my way.

I had forgotten all about it, but then the money ran out and I went back to Grandma Stan for some help. She said, 'How's everything going?' I told her everything was fine. She said, 'You sound like you're doing pretty good.' I said, 'Yeah, 'I'm done with everything. She said, 'Where's your license?' I'm like, 'What license?' When she told me the license for cosmetology, I told her I'd bring it next time. 

So she gave the money, but she said, 'This is the last little bit of money I got, I don't got nothing else, so don't ask for nothing else.' But she had a successful business on Madison at the time called Stan's Apparel. She sold uniforms. I knew she had money, but I knew at the same time that when she made that statement, she knew I had lied. 

After she told me that, I went walking. I was about to give up, but then I saw a real small sign on a window that read cosmetology. So I wound up getting a grant to study cosmetology, but as I was going through the classes I thought I was going to be a barber, since I'm a male.

When I eventually found out what cosmetology meant, I was upset. It was a big debate over whether to continue. They told me, if I wanted to be a barber I could start over or I could be a barber under cosmetology. I was too far in to start over, so I just finished it up to prove to my grandmother that I wasn't lying. 

By the grace of God, when I undid my wrong, it just opened up so many doors. It just so happened that I got real good. After going to school, doors started opening. I got to go all over the world and have my hair styles featured in magazines. 

Eventually, I told my grandmother the truth, but she acted like she never knew I was lying. I thank her for that. She never told me she knew I was lying, but I knew she knew. 


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