Willie Lee Morrow, inventor of the Afro pick, dies at 82

Renowned businessman was a staple in the Black community
Willie Lee Morrow, inventor of the Afro pick, dies at 82
Photo credit: Shutterstock / SimplyAdrienne

The inventor of the Afro pick, Willie Lee Morrow, died on June 22, 2022. He was 82.

Morrow established himself in San Diego, California, in 1959, where he felt there was an opportunity for him to grow. He taught himself the basics of barbering and chemistry, and used those skills to begin his hair care business.


Morrow wanted to use the hair products he invented in the 1960s and 1970s to give back to San Diego’s Black community, while also creating opportunities and providing resources for his people. He began offering haircuts to the Black community, and throughout time created styling objects such as the Afro pick and the blowout comb.

Morrow then used th profits from his barbershop and hair products to launch a media company — whose portfolio included a radio station and newspaper — to provide opportunities for Black people.


Morrow was also big on collecting items such as antique hair cutting and styling tools. Many of the items in his collection were displayed in 2016 at the California Center for the Arts.

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