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: