Black businesses are on the rise as of late. Of course, there has always been black businesses that were successful and widely known. Many inventions, hair care products, and a variety of items were created for and by African-Americans. Many African-American millennials are also coming into entrepreneurship. Black businesses have been in our communities for many generations, since Black Wall Street. I decided to touch on the topic of black businesses, due to the many shortcomings of very popular products lines. Especially, hair care products marketed towards black women.
Recently Shea Moisture, a natural hair care line, has come under fire because of an ad. This ad included 3 women, 2 who were caucasian with straight hair and 1 biracial woman with very loose curls. The ad came under fire because the women spoke on “Hair Hate” and how it affected the women.
Many black women felt upset because kinky haired women, predominantly black, were not represented. Then as people were speaking about their frustrations from the ad, it came to light that this brad had sold a portion of their brand to a non-black company. People were also wondering how could a black owned company run an ad with non-black people.
Disgruntled customers then searched to find the people behind the product of the ad and the team of 5 were either white men and women. Is this surprising to us? No. Let me tell you why. In my opinion, there is an issue within the black community on where we spend our dollars. African-Americans in the United States account for a large population when it comes to spending. We spend our money the most. Unfortunately, we don’t spend enough in our own communities and with our own brands.
When we do spend with black owned companies, we only get them so far. Those brands then turn around and have to look for another way to keep their business going. Subsequently, bringing in non-black companies to sponsor or buy a portion. Let’s be completely honest, once they purchase a portion, its become overrun by non blacks. Many hair care companies had to change the formulas of the products, which were geared toward black women.
Our hair is very curly and it takes time for the oils in the product to coat the span of the curls longer, so having many oils is good. Good for “us”. When it comes to a straight textured hair on a woman, the strands are easily coated with oil at a faster rate, making the current products too oily for women with straight hair. So when these companies purchase a portion of the company or try to market towards this demographic of straight haired women, the products are not successful so they end up changing the formulas to better suit “everyone”. Although this seems like a great inclusive method, it has a flaw.
Once the oils are removed from the products it has a great effect on those customers with straight hair, but now it has the opposite effect on the past customers. The products cause drying and eventually breakage to the kinky textured women. My question is, why is it so necessary to include other “hair types” in a brand catered to the textured hair. It would have been great to add a new line of products catered toward them, without watering down the existing products.
All in all, what I’m trying to convey is black businesses will not thrive if the community does not continue to purchase and promote. There are many brands that have the face of black people on them but has nothing to do with black people. These companies are frauds and making their money with quackery. Why would a non-black owned company market to a demographic other than their own?
Black men and women have the biggest buying power! I encourage you to use your dollars wisely to build up your own communities. Have you ever been to a Korean, Mexican, African, or Indian district? All the stores are owned operated and sourced by the same race of people. Those same people own stores in the African-American communities. Something is not right, that’s why I am asking you to spend your money where you are appreciated and represented.
Hey! My name is Maya Washington and I am a 21 year old Senior in college. I have always been somewhat of an introvert when it came to talking to people or in front of a group. But I have always found it easy to express myself on paper. I used to have so many emotions and ideas cramped in my mind I would feel overwhelmed. Writing helped me release my ideas and form them into poems.