Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where Ya At Madame C.J. Walker?

Found this interesting post over at the Afrosphere's African American Opinion blog via African American Political Pundit and Eurweb.

How did Koreans start operating hair and nail salons in black communities across America. Almost overnight? Why did we allow Koreans to (t)ake over a business that was historically a business operated with the black community and mostly by black women. How did all this happen? Who was asleep at the wheel? Is it not time to take our business back one neighborhood, one community at a time?

My wife talks about this issue all of the time, especially how these products are damaging Black women's hair. Here's some additional food for thought from filmmaker Aron Ranen.

Maybe, ... it's time for an Organic Beauty Product revolution ... A backlash against all the chemicals that are making black woman's hair fall out...healing as Aron points out, here is where it could get interesting.... how about BLACK Farmers growing the organic ingredients!!!
Go here to read more.


Anne said...

How about challenging the notion that straight hair is more desirable than curly hair? We women sometimes get bored with our hairstyles and want to change them, and that's fine... as long as our choice of new hairstyle is not motivated by feelings of inadequacy pushed upon us by the fashion industry or other social groups. We are beautiful as we are, but some of us have been brainwashed to feel ugly. So sad.

Nice blog. I came here from Francis' blog.

That Girl Boo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
That Girl Boo said...

Peace & Blessings Anne, We are beautiful as we are, this culture often tries to trick us about our features, our hair and just in general about being us, then they turn around and try to imitate us...?'s cool any way we wear our hair as long as we are happy, as for me my hair is natural, I pull my thick hair into a pony tale everyday, and press it when I need a change, the chemicals in the hair products are not good for us, so I choose not to put that stuff on top of my most precious asset, my brain,
Take Care

DP said...

Anne, thanks for dropping by. I agree with you 100%, the issue is self esteem. I prefer natural hair myself but the fashion and advertising industries push a certain image for all women, which is straight hair. I was also drawn to this because of the business side of the issue. A vibrant business sector within the Black community seems to have been the target of a hostile takeover and we didn't even realize it while it was happening, or the significance of its occurrence. Now its done and the question is, should we mount an effort to reclaim that business, or move on? I don't have the answer, but I'm leaning towards promoting natural and letting them find customers for those terrible products somewhere else.

Anne said...

That Girl Boo: Thanks. My hair is naturally wavy, not really curly, and salt-and-pepper colored. When I was younger I permed it and dyed it just about every color I could. I didn't like my natural hair at all. I do now, and also accept my body type, which is very different from a fashion model's body. Thanks to some wonderful complimentary men, I now understand that there are many different tastes in this world, and models are only one of many types of women who are considered beautiful. Everyone is beautiful to someone, and hopefully beautiful to themselves.

DP - I don't look at Asian hairstylists as the enemy - they're just trying to survive like everyone else. Maybe part of the blame should go to their customers, who choose to spend their money there... but ultimately I hope for a day when color will play no part in anyone's business decisions, any more than left or right-handedness or shoe size would.

The business aspect of hairstyling is interesting, and goes far beyond your neighborhood barber shop. It's a huge industry that encompasses big beauty product companies, chemical companies, the fashion industry, advertisers, magazines, and Hollywood. It's closely related to plastic surgeons, diet product companies, and anyone else who preys upon people's insecurities.

DP said...

Anne - I didn't mean to convey the impression of Asians as enemies, far from it. We have a lot more in common than differences. I also understand that this is a business, a global one at that, but I do lament that at a local level, this business has been lost to the community that most of its customers come from, with a resulting drop in the quality of the products sold.

Anonymous said...

i agree that there should be a backlash against all these chemicals that contribute to the hair loss among black women, if that happened then so much of our money wouldnt be going towards other people who have already established a strong community among themselves=}we really need to start building our community by throwing out these false ideas of beauty that force some of us to torture our hair and in the process make the koreans rich

DP said...

Anonymous - I hope you're right that women will realize they're beautiful in their own right and don't need to go through these processes. Thanks for coming by.