Hair stylist seeks sponsors for elder makeovers in St. Paul

·2 min read

Dec. 3—SouthSide Fancy is coming to Frogtown, and a handful of senior ladies are in line for free holiday makeovers.

In music circles, Mary Lemon is better known by her stage name, an homage to her sometimes rough-around-the-edges South Minneapolis roots, both literal and metaphoric. Lemon for years ran a hair salon at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue by what's now frequently referred to as George Floyd Square. It was her annual tradition at the time to find young families living in shelters and offer them makeovers and holiday festivities, free of charge.

Lemon adopted the SouthSide Fancy persona fulltime when she took a decade away from the hair business to embrace the rap game. She produced the first Minnesota Jr. Music Awards, which was one of the first outlets to celebrate the music video "Hot Cheetos & Takis" by the young performers known as Da Rich Kidzz. The song, an urban anthem lionizing a particular mix of junk food, became a viral sensation that made Spin Magazine's list of Best Songs of 2012.

Three years ago, Lemon got back into hair, hanging a shingle for Fancy's Beauty Bar at 1999 Burns Ave. on the East Side of St. Paul. On the afternoon of Dec. 19, she'll resume her holiday makeover tradition, focusing this time on elders from the Kings Crossing affordable senior housing complex at University Avenue and Dale Street in Frogtown.

Her goal is to offer 5-to-10 female elders of any race or creed a "Full Fancy" makeover, complete with hair, wigs and makeup, without their having to leave the senior housing complex. A cable access studio, "Speak Minneapolis," plans to record part of the event, as does the Twin Cities Radio Network, which will provide music.

"I usually go to shelters and get kids and give them a Christmas party, but this year I wanted to do the elders," said Lemon, noting the pandemic has been exceedingly hard on seniors. Her requirement is that everyone involved be fully vaccinated.

To fund the makeovers, Lemon is asking sponsors to donate up to $200 per elder. To be a sponsor, email

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