Local 706 - The Artisan

Summer 2024

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62 • THE ARTISAN SUMMER 2024 In Memoriam EXTENDED FAMILY NEWS Essie Cha (1961-2024) KEY MAKE-UP ARTIST We have lost our beloved sister, key make-up artist Essie Cha. She passed away in her home on March 24, 2024, peacefully in her sleep. She had been living in Atlanta, Georgia, for several years, while still maintaining her membership in Local 706. She had moved to Atlanta around June 2011 just to try it out, not thinking that she would stay but ended up purchasing her home there and slowly moving her extended family there. Essie had been department heading many projects from the moment she moved to Atlanta. Some of her favorite projects were Candy, Making Chang, and Powers. Essie was a very generous, kind, and thoughtful Gerald "Coke" Riley (1939-2024) JOURNEYMAN HAIR STYLIST Gerald Riley was born in Houma, Louisiana, on October 1, 1939. As a baby, he was nicknamed "Coke" because he drank his milk from a Coca-Cola bottle. He developed a value for hard work as a child; pulling nails from planks to build homes with his father; shagging balls as a caddy on a segregated golf course; and serving regulars as a poolroom 'runner.' Although Coke couldn't have foreseen it at the time, a seemingly insignificant job shining shoes for 15 cents in a 'whites-only' barbershop planted the seed of possibility. In 1957, an opportunity led Coke to Compton, California. He studied cosmetology at Allen's Beauty College where his enthusiasm and discipline had an outlet and his creativity flourished. The 1950s was a decade before the "Black Is Beautiful" movement and the talented Coke questioned the traditional notions of beauty. He grew to seek a new purpose and re-envision the model for healthy and diverse Black hair styles. Mr. Coke opened his first full-service salon in Compton and grew to expand to a second salon and stand-alone beauty supply in Inglewood, California. Mr. Coke's Incorporated ventured outside-the-box in terms of education, marketing and sponsorship. He expanded his brand to produce The Coco Awards, trade shows, competitions and even sports & game tournaments. His vision culminated in the engineering and invention of an essential professional tool, the Coco styling iron. person, always willing to help anyone out. She leaves behind her mother Sungji Cha, her siblings, sisters Margaux Waki, Suzay Cha and brother Paul Cha, along with her nieces and nephews. If you would like to send cards and share your stories or memories of Essie to the family, please send to: Cha Family, 3028 Riverstone TRL, Atlanta, GA 30339 ❧

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