Support Black Businesses or Be Quiet
I love my people. Lord, knows I do, but sometimes our community irks me to no end. We are always talking about how we need to stop supporting these big, corporate companies and create our own businesses, but when the opportunity comes, we are complaining about the prices, the product, or expecting the business owners to give us a discount. I don’t get it. I’m at the point where the next time someone complains about a black owned business’ prices or products, I’m going to go off and tell them to stick to the Forever 21’s that their used to. This is a common theme with our community, and usually I ignore it, but what really ticked me off is seeing the number of complaints people had about Tracee Ellis Ross’s new natural hair care line. Ya’ll really got some nerve.
This week, Tracee Ellis Ross launched her own natural hair care line called “Pattern”, and as a black woman with natural hair, I was excited. It’s always a celebration when a black woman, especially a famous black woman, launches something just for us because they know the struggle of finding products that work for our hair.. What I really appreciate about this line is that Tracee took her time and did the proper research. She talked about how she tried different formulas that would work with different hair textures and patterns. She even made the bottle bigger so we could get more product.
She wanted this product to work for coily, curly, and tight textured hair, and sis even created a durable hair clip so it could withstand our curls. She took the same route as Rihanna and specified that this was for black women so we should be supportive, right? Imagine my dismay when I hop onto social media and see people complaining about the prices and asking why everything is so expensive. Really? Y’all are really fussing about prices? Not only is the complaining unwarranted, but it’s loud and wrong.
I stay in the Target hair care and beauty aisles, and I can tell you that her price point is the same as every other brand. Plus, she’s giving your more product for the price we’re paying so, what is the fuss about? Were y’all expecting a sister girl hook up? Tracee may be a celebrity, but she needs to make some profit so she can continue to expand this line and grow her empire. We can’t keep yelling about wanting more black owned businesses and then try to cheat them. It doesn’t work like that.
I didn’t see this same reaction when Rihanna launched “Fenty.” I equate pricing for makeup to be the same as natural hair care products so again, I wonder why all the fuss for Tracee’s line? Rihanna did the same research and stated clearly that this was line was made for people with different skin tones and textures. Because of the overwhelming support, she has been able to expand the Fenty brand into an entire empire. I’m sincerely praying that she decides to dabble in skin care because the market (and black women) need it. You see what happens when we get behind our own and support them without complaints? They can expand and continue to create more products for us.
I understand that black businesses can be a bit shaky once they start out. The customer service might be a bit spotty, the overall experience may take a while, and everyone is still on the learning curve. I tend to give businesses an adjustment period to work out the kinks and get into a smooth groove. This happens with any new business. Heck, we are still learning how to properly run this blog. This doesn’t mean we give up on our people or stop supporting all together. We also can’t complain that black owned businesses not having a place in the market and then turn around asking for discounts. We have no problem spending money on Kate Spade, Gucci, or Louie Vuttiton, but we huff and puff when our own dare to charge us their true value. Pay these people what they’re worth or stay home. It’s that simple.