Serious Shit

The Black Hair Industry… what’s really going on?

wig image

For those who’ve been following Why O’ Why’s blog in our very brief time in the “blogesphere”, I want to say thank you!  That’s genuine too.  We know we have many lurkers, but not so many of you will comment– we hope to improve that soon.  We’re very glad you’re checking us out!  Some of you may be familiar with me using the term, “follow the money” with some of the politics and “conspiracy” pieces written, at this point.  I won’t say that I coined that phrase, but it was a phrase that actually came very easy to me, because when you start to “following the money” (in any area) the truth gets exposed.  That phrase is also used in this documentary on the black hair industry. 

A special thanks to Janedoh for sending this one in, too!  I’ve already written a piece on Black Women and weaves… and I recently wrote a little something on The Blonde Affect .  Thanks to Janedoh, this is one that will fit nicely into the discussion of Black women and our hair.  The documentary is all about the black hair industry.  The Black population only makes up about 10% of the U.S. population, (I’ve actually seen varying figures, we’ve been holding pretty steady at about 11% since around 1984) but I won’t dispute what this documentary interjects on those numbers.  We are the smallest population in the U.S., (considering our long history and heritage in this country) but Black women are spending a whopping 70% of the dollars generated on fake hair and hair extensions (according to this film)!  That’s an astonishing ratio to me.  This documentary also touches on the incredible power in wholesale and distribution. 

Let me try to break that down a bit for you… it’s just like the music industry.  We may see a musical artist’s face on the front of a CD, but he or she is just the product.  The music industry is largely controlled by whites or others.  Since India Arie (for example) is ‘just’ the artist, her revenue is generated by sales (a point system that usually only represents pennies on the dollar for each of her CD sales), and mostly concert tours, while the record label on the other hand (Sony, Columbia Records and the likes) are the real money winners behind those huge dollars that are generated.  They have the control of distribution.  Distribution is key.  To further this explanation, think about Oprah.  Her show was first distributed by Kingworld Productions, now she owns her own distribution company (Harpo)—so now she holds the key to distributing her show, therefore, she’s become one of the richest Black people in the world!  Folks, this is not a game—we can really control the dollars in our own community and in a very big way!  The hair industry is one way to do that too.  Remember, this is just one industry where we are 70% of the dollars generated!  We do that with cars, rims and liquor (to name a few).

How did we go from Madam C.J. Walker as the first black woman to invent black hair care products, to it now being dominated outside of our race?  Hmmm?  So are we going to continue to make these purchases in an industry that is no longer ours, where we are the financial looser, or are we going to take control and become the controlling distributors and thereby becoming the money winners?  After all, we are the “target market”.  If we’re going to keep doing this crazy shit to our hair, (weaves, wigs, perms and all) shouldn’t we at least be keeping that money in our community, create jobs (just like every other race does, NOTE: I have many friends from all races too) and get into this “recession proof” financial game?  This documentary has so many important layers to it, I can hardly contain myself!!!  I’ve already stated that I don’t perm my hair anymore, and I would never wear a weave—but if it’s all about profits, I’d be totally okay with controlling the ownership and distribution of this industry– after all, it is catered to us!   I may not agree with it, but if we can’t change the minds of many (our views of our natural hair) I would certainly have no problem with profiting by it.  Is that hypocritical or am I a smart business woman?  (smile)  Anyway… check out a few minutes (parts) of this documentary for free—I plan to purchase the entire film because as I see it, it’s a great template to get into an industry that is surely not failing.  No matter how proud I personally am of my natural hair—there’s obviously a huge group of black women (and men) out there who won’t be swayed.  Therefore, they will continue to spend.  I’ll go ahead and let them fund my 3 houses; one in Paris, another in Amsterdam and finally Dubai!!!  I’m no fool that’s for sure!

Again, a special thanks to Janedoh for this one!  You did a good thing by forwarding the link to this film!  Also, I’d like to say a special hello to Trina… we didn’t really agree on the Black Women and weaves… post that Why O’ Why made, but I’m glad you found our blog too!   It’s all about discussion and different points of views here!  Come on EVERYONE and chime in on this one!

Documentary Part 1:

Documentary Part 2:

Documentary Part 3:

10 thoughts on “The Black Hair Industry… what’s really going on?

  1. You are very welcome and I am glad it sparked such a great post. There are so many things to say on this subject. I don’t think many understand the important underlying messages that reside here. I have spent a ton of money in pursuit of finding hair products that will be kind to my hair, before I started researching myself. I would walk into the beauty supply shop and ask Mrs.Kim “Is this any good?” Yes it is very good she would reply, “all my customer buy.” Of course all of her customers buy because we are all spending money trying out different things. They asked Mrs.Kim but what does she know? Nothing, except telling you to thank you and come again. It would be awesome to walk into a beauty supply shop run by someone who, #1 carries products that are good for our hair #2 has our hair, so you know it works and #3 just being knowledgeable would be nice. I hope this is making sense; I’m tired. Sidenote: The first woman that turned me on to a product I used to use religiously was Puerto Rican, go figure. I will leave on this note, anyone ever hear of Black Wall Street? Basically a whole city back in the early 1900’s populated by black people. The dollar was turned over several times in the day. They had hospitals, transportation, schools and churches. I would love to see this happen again one day and maybe we can start with a place where our money is spent hand over fist: Hair

    • you are too kind! so very glad you liked it. “I don’t think many understand the important underlying messages that reside here”– i agree. it’s interesting, i’ve just checked the stats, lots of people reading, but no wants to say a word. i wonder if i’m breaking the code of some secret or something (smile). and all of your point (1-3) are dead on Janedoh! and lol at Mrs. Kim! i’ve been with girlfriends when they are purchasing their fake hair and that’s the generic uncaring tone they would get, while i’m thinking, what does Mrs. Kim really know about black hair? One thing that documentary has shown me is how deeply we’ve become addicted to this fake hair– we don’t even seem to care about the damage that it does to our hair (or our community for that matter). And YES, YES, ON BLACK WALL STREET– i was trying to make that point with someone else and even on OHN recently! There was a time when we as a community were doing so freakin’ well, “they” had to burn it down! we even had a few millionares back then who owned their own planes! i really hope i live to see that happen again instead of kids today just aspiring to be basketball players and rappers. you made perfect sense, lady! Peace!

      • Glad I made sense and I don’t think you are breaking a code, lol. I have gone through the site and read all the posts, and even if I like the topic I may not post a comment:) I am trying to be a little bit more knowledgable these days and will work my way up to understanding things like our federal reserve. Knowledge truly is tangible. End note: maybe you can think of the mantra, “If I post it, they will come…and comment”

      • Yes, Janedoh… perfect sense to me! For someone who was “sleep-typing”, you did quite well! (smile). and thank you for reading the earlier posts– i realize they are not the most popular subjects (politics/’conspiracy, etc.), but something (i’m not sure what) is leading us down this path. It is good to know that people are reading what’s written on the Why O’ Why blog, but i personally really, really like debates and discussions too. And that mantra is the inspiration; “if you post it, they will come”. you’ve added another twist… “and comment”. I like that! BIG AZZ SMILES ON THAT ONE! i’m thinking it will get there one day very soon. once i am able to start promoting the forthcoming book, Why O’ Why wants to take everything to the “next level”.

        One more thing on the other more “heavier subjects” we’ve made here… I’m sure you (and everyone else) can find what we were able to find on those subjects. it does seem daunting, but totally attainable. again, no one is a Rhodes Scholar on this blog so we always will encourage people to do their own research on what we expose. we’ve just been fortunate to find the time and do the research. the killing part… when you start to scatch the surface of what is really happening, it may light a fire under you– that’s exactly what it did for us. that is why we write. there’s actually 3 of us here, and we all write the under “yoy50” name. but you’ve actually been talking to the same person with your comments. i plan to write you a personal note shortly. you’ll know it’s me when you receive it too. (smile). thanks so much for checking us out and being “our very first loyal follower”! we will always try to keep it interesting for all. i personally hope you’ll let us know when we’ve dropped the ball on that! (smile). Take care!

  2. I love conspiracy theories (seriously), don’t get me wrong. Ask me on any given day and I think there is something a little bit fishy about a lot of stuff; ahem *swine flu* cough. As far as politics go, I don’t get into it and when I do I am usually sprouting gut based reactions, “something tells me he’s a liar and that he kicks puppies, so I don’t like him.” No validity what’s so ever but my gut is hardly wrong. Unfortunately you can’t use those “reactions” when you are trying to weigh in on candidates speeches, debates, etc. I digress. I will get there slowly but surely.
    Lastly I loyal to things I like, and I like Why o Why? How funny is it though that there are three of you and I keep getting you? Peas in a freakin’ pod, lol. **Cue twilight zone music**

    • You are too funny “something tells me he’s a liar and that he kicks puppies, so I don’t like him.” LOL! very funny. Cool beans on you digging the blog. And yes, it’s very cool that we keep getting each other here! Twilight Zone music cued!! lol. And speaking of Swine Flu– we did a piece on that one too. We are preparing to do a part 2 on that craziness as well. Do you smell that?… a big pile of horse dung! Side note: none other than Mr. Yummy himself (Daniel Sunjata) is an activist of 9/11 truth. His character on “Rescue Me” is based on his true feelings on what happened that awful day! He had a radio interview recently where he doesn’t hold back! I’ve been trying to find it to post here.

      • **Jane takes bow** lol. Good thing you are posting because most of us are walking around with horse dung on our shoes and don’t even know it; so keep on posting and keep our eyes open. BTW, I emailed you information about the sidenote, hope it helps.

      • Hi Janedoh… go ahead and take that bow! we could not have posted the story without you! and lol @ horse dung shoes too! We will continue to do what we can and keep you and everyone entertained and ‘enlightened’. thank you again for the compliments. BTW– just checked for the side note info, it’s not there yet… but it’s okay if you have changed your mind on that. no harm, and no worries. we certainly like that you visit us, so please tell your friends too. have a great day!

      • I got your email the other day and I sent a reply did you get that? That’s weird and it sucks that you didn’t get the email today (maybe it’s in a spam folder?). I just re-sent it to the email address, fingers crossed lol. Anyway here are the links just in case: (youtube has part 2 and 3 as well) (this is an article he wrote. Love the title of this article btw.)

        Off to work I go 🙂 and trust me I have been spreading the word.

      • Hi Janedoh… just sent you a personal reply. Thanks so much for the links on the Daniel Sunjata radio intervew— it will certainly help for our future posting on the 9/11 activists! Thanks so much for spreading the word about us too! We really appreciate that! Have a safe drive to work and have a great work day too!

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