Saturday, December 15, 2007

Turning the Titanic Around- Black Hair Care

Since teaching at a school with such a high concentration of black students, I'll be doing some research over the holidays to find websites and videos to share information about black hair, hair care, natural vs. relaxed, and the industry for my kids, especially the girls to check out.

We have a lot of store front Asian owned hair supply stores in Waco as most small and large cities do as long as there is a decent population of blacks to fork over their hard earned money to. And yes as the videos below display the community in which these stores serve are often poor, depressed and economically disadvantaged.

I know when I was a hair care junkie, whenever I went into, and still if I did today, the beauty supply shops, there was a low interest from the staff in giving me products to help my hair, but instead a high interest in them selling me whatever. I will say that when I lived in Houston, my favorite hair supply store which was in the Hobby area on 8326 Broadway St., was owned by an African gentleman. ANAN Beauty Supply. He was wonderful and extremely helpful and honest about making suggestions for my haircare needs. He had lots of supplies and hair, so I'm thinking he had no problem getting product from the distributors. The videos below are from a few I searched and found this morning on youtube. Thank you Karen Halliburton, for sharing your website as well. Very informative.

And so BOBSA was formed.

The struggle in London as well.

Nappy Roots Documentary

Some of my girls are so "fogged" in their self perception, it's nothing for them to walk up and down the hallways with their hair alllll over their head. They are getting better about not walking around with a comb stuck in their hair. I will tell them in a second that that's "Ghetto". I tell them, "You are a princess" and ask them to kindly remove the comb from their hair. If I can just get them to become "aware" that they can be seen and that they are not isolated. So in one way they are image conscious, and in another way, they aren't.

It's weird because one of the boys was commenting in a very direct manner to one of the girls in class about how her hair was breaking off and that she was becoming bald headed. He told her to "do something" with her hair. The sad part about it was, he was telling the truth. The sadder part about it was, she was trying to do something about it. She is one of mine who has the comb in her hair daily, yet her hair is all over her head. I saw how helpless you looked trying to defend herself, rebutting to him that she was gonna get a perm. My heart sank.

The kids look at my locks and some admire them, but have no clue or idea of how they can get to the place I am in. Jen and I discussed investing in one young lady who's a good braider and getting her trained in SLs and have her help the revolution begin here in Waco. I really believe if they knew what to do, they would do it. I know these girls are tired of damaging their hair at their young tender ages already, but do not know how to get out of this trap. Until then, they will just do what they see in the videos, in the magazines, and among each other, all the while for those who can't take care if it, will continue ruining their hair. My question to the online natural hair community is how do we become an agent for change? Do we just complain about what we see, or do we do something about it?


Salt-n-Pepper Diva said...

What a thought provoking,powerful and disturbing post!
Our Hair-itage has been bought and sold to the Koreans. When will WE wake up as a People and realize that WE Need To be creative entrepreneurs to service Our community and STOP giving Our business away to whoever?

I've had this discussion with my Significant Other many times, our understanding of the problem is that WE, Black Americans, are a mentally damaged people.

::: Big Sigh:::

Maryee said...

SNP Diva,

Yeah, I was gonna wait til' the break to post this, but wanted to get it out there before school let out. This issue is really not about blaming Asians or Indians for happily taking our money. The blame really needs to lie in the heads and hearts of us who refuse to educate ourselves about ourselves and help those who are ignorant to how life, economics and self-love become enlightened. Yes, we have a ways to go before the ship is turned. Thanks for sharing and stopping by.

Kinky Awakenings said...

Absolutely we MUST do something about it!

Here is my short answer. Many of us are leading by example by simply by wearing our natural hair in all its glory. LHBE, LIU, Nappturality the many blogs and photo albums are wonderfully doing their part to provide support and education to those considering the natural route. BOBSA has a list of Black owned BSS and distributors to purchase from.Buying Black never fails.

Some of us are always looking for an investment to get a great ROI. Just like there are stock investment groups that have popped up around the country, why don’t we organize to form investment groups that purchase Black owned BBSs or better yet, become a distributor? Distribution is where the Koreans (I have nothing against them) are kicking our tail- especially since we insist on buying so much of other peoples human hair. We already know the millions of dollars Black Americans spend on hair care so the profit will come. "Taking it Back" by Devin Robinson is a basic how to book of how to get your Black owned BBS up and running.

Finally we must organize, organize, organize then educate, educate and educate some more.

Peace, KA

Maryee said...

I love that KA! The point is not to be mad at, for the most part or accuse Koreans or anyone for that matter about "stealing" our money. We gladly give it to them because, yes, they have cornered the market. Shame on us for letting it slip right in and get us. The problem lies in us being weak in a lot of areas, especially economic development. Our energies are redirected in so many of the wrong places. The depressed communities could do something about it if they were #1 informed and educated, and #2 equipped to do something about it. But that may be another blog post. I am thankful we are starting to grow the on line community of educating each other about the situation. It begins with each of us doing our part, no matter how small. Thanks for sharing.

Jena Evans said...

Good post... Informative and powerful. So many communities can benefit from information and action... Keep posting and informing, sister!


Maryee said...

Thanks for the support Sis. Love you!!

cheleski68 said...

im a member of BOBSA...great cause and great post for more awareness!

Moosiko said...

I work with our girls in a junior high school setting and witness daily their struggle with low self-esteem and the negativity they have towards themselves and their natural hair. Keep encouraging your students and sending positive vibes to challenge their way of thinking. Leading by example is the best way.

Amina said...

I found it interesting that the Koreans first turned to Blacks for info on the biz, and then once they got secure, they ousted their teachers out of the biz. Wow.

I also love the idea of you sponsoring a young student of yours for the Sisterlocks course. Love it! Let me know how it turns out. Great post!

Maryee said...


Glad to know you are a member of BOBSA. It was interesting learning about this movement.


I decided to add the "A Girl Like Me" on my video reel. I want my girls to have no excuse about getting informed.


Yeah, when I saw the part in the video when the guy says the Korean distributor asks him, "Are you Black?", I was very disturbed. When you are discriminating so you and your people alone are the only ones who can make fiduciary gains, then there's a problems. Now, we as a people REALLY need to look at that and start telling ourselves the truth that THEY aren't trying to help us an ANY WAY. Really.

Jen and I talk all the time about "if we had the money" what we'd do to make Waco and the world at large a better place. We wont stop dreaming about our pursuits. The natural hair pursuit is a great start. Thanks for stoppin' by. Blessings...