In the midst of financial crises and the reality that the racial wealth gap continues, one area of business that is thriving is Natural Hair Care for Black women. Recently while watching the Melissa Harris-Perry Show I noted that her guests had natural styles, including afros and braids galore. Every black woman on her show had their hair styled naturally including the host. In most commercials that I have seen recently, when a Black woman was in it, her hair was natural. The same is the case for billboards, magazines and internet ads, moreso than in the past. So what is happening? According to Black Enterprise magazine there is an increasing popularity of natural hairstyles amongst Black women. Consequently, there is a boom in the development of natural hair product businesses, which is enabling Black woman to cash in. Some of the players in the natural hair care market are Hair Rules (www.hairrules.com), which is sold in Target, Jane Carter Solutions (www.janecartersolution.com) also sold in Target and Whole Foods, Shea Moisture (www.sheamoisture.com) sold in CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond and Target, Talia Waajid's Natural Hair Products (www.naturalhair.org) and Urban Therapy Twisted Sista (twistedsista.com), as examples.
Also, there are many blogs about natural hair, including N.I.C.E, books, You Tube videos and more. Black women are beginning to realize that the hair that grows out of their scalp is naturally beautifully and does not need to be covered up with someone else's hair, literally. Yes, one may buy hair and hence say it is theirs but the reality is that it is not! Wearing hair from Indian (or other) women's heads that is glued on via a lace front weave or sewn in is an option that many women choose. Some say it is a fashion statement and others say it is a protective style. Some argue that braiding in hair is also not natural but there is some debate on that since that particular practice was historically and still is very common in Africa, so it has historical precedence. No matter the reason, the good news is that natural hair styles are back and opportunities are arising for Black people to benefit financially from their hair rather than others who are making money through selling Black women on the belief that there natural hair is not beautiful. Do note that businesses from outside of the Black community are beginning to recognize that natural hair has big business potential and are developing products, selecting models, developing ads, hiring television personalities etc. who are rocking natural hairstyles. Therefore, N.I.C.E. is recognizing, along with Black Enterprise Magazine, that Natural Hair is Big Business!