An article about black women and natural hair in The New York Times gives me pause, not excitement or validation.

It’s no secret that when many others look at black women it is usually to figure out what they can get out of us.

That includes businesses, like beauty supply stores owned by Asian shop keepers. It also includes news media people who will probably try to get interviews with black women who have chosen to go natural now and get all up in our heads. If you’ve seen the recent articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post about black women, their weight and marital status, it’s clear that many non-blacks look at us like we’re spectacles at the zoo.

Unfortunately, some black men also look at black women as cash registers who are obligated to support them instead of looking at us as living, thinking, feeling human beings.

The spending power of the African American community is expected to balloon to $1.1 trillion by 2015. Roughly 80 percent of that is made up of hard-working women. Picture all of these various enterprising parties circling around that pot of money like vultures.

This Is How It Starts
A New York Times article recently put the spotlight on black women who choose to wear their hair natural. I could be wrong, but I have the feeling that this is only the first of what will probably be a number of mainstream news articles on the subject matter.

My reaction to this article was not excitement that the natural hair movement is becoming more newsworthy — my reaction was caution and a little bit of a side-eye.

The Mainstream Spoils Things
For a long time now, natural hair has been buzzing on the black blogosphere. When the mainstream media starts to pick up these stories you can bet that some enterprising “someone” out there has a light bulb appear over his head and is rubbing his hands together trying to figure out how he can capitalize on the trend.

And unfortunately, that enterprising “someone” is usually an individual or group who doesn’t really care about black women — our needs, our goals, ideas and motivations. People who only look at us as money bags tend to listen to how the media portrays us, but know little to nothing about the true essence of black women.

So I just wanted to give a heads up to all my natural sisters to watch out for those enterprising folks who are surely going to start working on a new product, website, movement or other method of trying to make money off of the “Naturalista” movement, so to speak. The P.T.B. don’t want us too free or too independent in our thinking.

Black women, keep your eyes open and your cash in your community, preferably with other sisters like yourself. PEACE.



  1. Elegance On June 6, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Well, I don't think anyone will be able to take advantage of me financially because I use a mainstream conditioner (Giovanni deep moisture), Cream of Nature argon oil shampoo, Eco styler gel, and Queen Helene cholesterol and that's it. I don't use any of the expensive natural hair brands so I'm safe...unless they create a miracle product to reduce/eliminate shrinkage because I'd love that!

    But they could cause problems for product junkies and newly naturals who want to find the right products. There could be a lot of snake oil salesmen there with over-priced products. Plus there are some good natural hair books out now but there could be some useless ones written.

    Still all in all I like the attention and I would like more to the point where it is so commonplace that everyone knows about is and is so used to it it's no longer unusual. I think that would be a wonderful thing. I also find it helpful for me to think about Black women being viewed in a museum like beautiful, colourful works or art or sculptures rather than in a feels better :)


Post a Comment