Perhaps Lloneau is right. Perhaps a reversal is unconceivable. But that doesn’t make this a lost cause. Where did we go wrong since the days of Madam Walker, and where do we go now? Many in the “Black Hair” documentary cited the root of the problem as being the lack of Black unity. It’s common for Koreans to band together to help each other build businesses and then exclusively support one another. Others cite the lack of financial education in the Black community.
Whatever the true cause(s), there is no use in pointing fingers. The most we can do is educate ourselves and spread new knowledge to our sisters, mothers and friends. We can finally realize that there is power in numbers. If we each take tiny steps to support Black-owned brands and businesses, our immense buying power will thwart the efforts of others who seek to eradicate what’s left of Black businesses.
The next time you’re in need of a new bottle of conditioner or moisturizer, visit the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association (BOBSA), an organization that promotes and assists entrepreneurs in their goal of owning and operating Black-owned beauty businesses. They have a national directory of Black-owned beauty supply stores.
If you end up making an impromptu trip to the pharmacy or beauty supply store, or even shop online, purchase products by the handful of Black-owned hair companies that continue to thrive including, Johnson Products, Luster Products, Dudley Products Inc., Namaste Laboratories LLC (manufacturer of Organic Root Stimulator), Clintex Laboratories and Kizure.
I’m not suggesting you boycott Korean-owned stores or stop buying your favorite products. But consider looking beyond the price tag, familiarity, and convenience. This is bigger than us. This is bigger than hair. It’s time we start caring and taking action.
-Audra E. Lord