Fros, Fashions & Finds
Reviving the Black Beauty and Business Industries
By Megan Davis
The Truth Contributor
to boycott the beauty supply store at Swayne Field.” These
are the words from celebrity stylist and Toledo native,
Moira Frazier (also known as Fingaz) who was back home from
Los Angeles, preparing for her Mane Event hair show this
to Facebook live to express her frustration with the Asian
store owners who insulted her during a visit there. She had
several packages of hair that she wanted to purchase for the
upcoming show, and the clerk told her “you know you can’t
return those.” Fuming, she went live to discuss her
experience. The comments were rolling with support of her
call to boycott the store. People began sharing their own
statuses saying “Boycott the beauty supply store in Swayne
experiences like these that often cause us to stop
patronizing and supporting a business. When an offense that
is irreconcilable takes place, people will leave a
restaurant, salon or church in a heartbeat. We tell
ourselves we will never go through this again. That fed-up
feeling is something that provokes people to act almost
immediately so when we are over it, we are over it!
In our anger, our resourcefulness takes over, and we begin
looking for a replacement for that church, that restaurant
or that hairdresser.
seek, we shall find. It is this same determination that
provokes us to change a situation like homelessness or being
in a bad relationship. We move on, striving to do and be
better than before.
We see the
theme of boycotting being played out across America right
now. In Hollywood, comedian Mo’nique called for a boycott of
Netflix because she was given a low-ball offer for a
stand-up comedy show. She stated in several videos and
interviews that other comedians were offered more money and
that their resumes weren’t all as long or as good as hers.
She cited inequity because she is not only a woman, she is a
decided to use her social media platforms to take a stand,
and her position has people divided on whether or not to
support her because, in part, her truth is what most of us
have or are going through today.
underlying issue is what black people have been
facing – we work harder for less.
comedians and actors who have been in Mo’nique’s situation
have chosen a different route to move up on the pay scale.
They have either negotiated deals behind closed doors,
quietly said “no” to a bad deal, and sought other roles that
would be rewarding; or they have made their own companies or
films to highlight their quality of work, dedication and
worthiness. Many more actors choose one of those routes as
opposed to those who have spoken out who have yet to see the
big screen again such as Terrence Howard who tried to get
more money for the Iron Man films or Jada Pinkett Smith who
is often found boycotting something. Poor Aunt Viv from
Fresh Prince of Bel Air has yet to see a new script.
seeing product companies being boycotted it for their
insensitive advertising methods such as H & M that recently
featured a black boy with a hoodie that had a money on it
and an offensive saying. People were outraged!
We saw the
same outrage when a Dove soap campaign showed a lovely black
woman transform from herself into a white woman after using
their skin care products. Then we saw Shea moisture’s
company take a nose dive when they decided to run a
marketing campaign that featured white women complaining
about their too curly, “unmanageable” hair. When that video
hit the Internet, it went viral and people reacted in
disgust and immediately called for a boycott.
because the women who made Shea Moisture a household name
were black with naturally nappy hair, Napturals! Just
as quickly as that happened and support for the company
tanked, hundreds of other individual-owned small companies
rose to the occasion saying “we are here, still black and
still handmade.” This is where we have come to know that no
matter how many ways the industry tries to change the face
of beauty we are still here, even if at a grass-roots level,
growing our home-based businesses, one sale at a time.
It is the
natural hair movement that has birthed so many businesses in
the first place, from shop owners to product developers, to
business coaches and event planners. Just like Madam CJ
Walker, or Damon John who created FUBU, black men and women
are using their hands to make any and everything with their
own unique twist. Today, thanks to social media, black
business owners can find customers just about anywhere as
people who are disgruntled with corporations who don’t care
about us, who aren’t paying attention to our needs, continue
to disappoint us in some way.
the many companies that will try to appropriate something
that doesn’t originate with them, we are still being found
in our communities establishing businesses and organizations
that do provide products and services that are specific to
our own needs. Even if major corporations have millions of
dollars to pour into campaigns targeting African-American
women, there are still hundreds of small
little-engine-that-could type businesses out there selling
their products from the trunks of their cars, backpacks,
social media and free websites they created themselves for
as we set trends that others borrow or steal, black
consumers are now able to scour the Internet searching for
local artisans. With websites like Etsy and the new Facebook
marketplace; with small events in the community that feature
vendors, people are seeking out local businesses to
support. The demand is there, and so are the companies.
behind the huge demand for clothing, products and services
are black women – women who are mothers, students,
professionals; wives who want the best for their husbands
and children. They are women who want to connect with their
roots, and the earth, to be more conscious of what they put
in and on their bodies; women who won’t settle for whatever
they can find that is cheap. They are more aware of the
labels and the sources from where they are purchasing items.
are growing their own herbs and vegetables. More women are
taking sewing classes to make their own clothing. More women
are going natural and learning how to care for their own
hair, while finding what products work for them; and women
are making products that are healthy and beneficial for
their hair and body-some which are being sold.
than spending time and energy on boycotts, we have our own
beauty supply store in Toledo that is black-owned and
operated. Powell’s, located on Nebraska Ave. is that place
where the family treats us like family. We take care of each
other. That is something the other beauty supply stores
can’t do for the black community-they take care of their own
just want our money, but a place that is for us by us, wants
us to look and feel good; they value our support and they
find ways to support us as well. A family like the Powell
family has built their business from the ground up, and
their hard work has established them in this community as
if someone is standing with Mo’Nique in her boycott with
Netflix? Toledo has a film company called Prim8 Vision that
has released full feature films and multiple series on
Youtube (for free). If you didn’t like the Grammy results,
we have a plethora of musicians and singers in Toledo from
the Wall Music family to Glass City talent who do live shows
weekly across the city. If you want goods and services that
are made by us, it’s as simple as an online search to locate
many new companies to support.
retrospect, having a business can be difficult for small
companies because they may be operated by only one person, a
person who may be married or have small children; it may be
someone with a disability. Most of all, many small
businesses don’t have the resources to stay open long hours,
or to price items at low costs such as Walmart. Small
businesses also may create in small batches, if they make
something by hand. For those who are thinking about
supporting local businesses or small businesses, here are a
few tips to help make your experience a positive one:
To best support the business, find out
their hours ahead of visiting them or calling them.
If they don’t carry something you are
looking for, ask if they can get it or suggest it as a
item in their store.
If you weren’t wowed the first time, give
them another chance to get it right.
If you weren’t pleased with the customer
service, let them know, respectfully and they
work on their customer service skills.
If you like them, tell others so they can
mainstream marketing cannot do is pretend to know the
experiences of Madam CJ Walker, a woman who made something
to fill a need for women in her own community. They cannot
know how slavery left women without the fruit of the land to
nourish their hair and scalp. They cannot know the struggle
of trying to be presentable while working sun up to sun down
in fields that baked their skin and fried their hair.
Because of this, they cannot create something that speaks to
the soul of a black woman. This is how the face of Black
Beauty remains the standard that others seek after. Though
they may appropriate it, we own it. Take that knowledge and
power to the bank!