Scary, Hairy Problem!

Anyhoo, this week, these are just a few of the questions sizzling on my mind, which proudly resides under barely a smidgen of hair:

Did you know that black women in the U.S. are supporting a $500 BILLION industry of weaves, extensions, wigs, relaxers, beauty products, styling tools, and appliances?!

For a little more perspective, $500 BILLION — also known as a half TRILLION — is double the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Greece — a country!

And did you know that the women on the Dark Continent are shelling out another $6 billion for the same?!

$500 billion.

A half trillion. (I have no idea how you write that with a dollar sign.)

$6 billion.

Seriously, how are black women here and on the Dark Continent paying for all this faux hair and its upkeep?!

Well, get this: In Detroit, Michigan, The Weave Loan Store really wants to help “the cause.” They will give you a loan [PAUSE] so that “you can afford to be beautiful!” Sadly, this is not a fracking joke! See for yourself:

Clearly, black women’s hair acquisitions and the subsequent care of it is colossal business, here and abroad.

I won’t bore you with what has already been said and written on this matter, except to ask that you please consider these notable points:

  • In the U.S., black women make up just 13% of the population.
  • And that the poverty rate among black women in the U.S. is 28.6% (13% for white women;  10.8% for Hispanic women).
  • And that there are reports that the average black woman’s net worth in the U.S. is a whopping $5 — yes, that bill. The one that sequentially follows the $1 bill and features a portrait of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.

So again, I ask: How are black women paying for all this faux hair and its upkeep?!

And one last question: Why, why… is it that black people love to be trendsetters in every other area of life — music, art, language, clothing, food — except one: Hair?!

How come?!

Obviously, women of other races also buy weaves, extensions, and wigs, etc. Whatever. That fact still does not make one single thing said here any less true.

Plus, for black women the internal motivations are different or at the very least more extreme.

Finally, please let us not engage in a fruitless argument about the numbers.

Because even if some of the statistics provided above aren’t exact, all we have to do is look around in our real lives, on TV, and on the Internet, we can see that when it comes to black women and their hair that there is definitely a scary, hairy problem.

NOTE: If you think I’m nuts, don’t get mad. Instead, give me the total ignore you think I deserve.

Ladies, continue to spend your life resources on whatever you wish and try, try, try to please an audience that does not want to appreciate you.

And, men, continue to embrace your narrow concept of beauty and shrug it off as a preference.

Call to action: Am I the only one who thinks this is beyond incomprehensible? I would love to hear your comments.

9 thoughts on “Scary, Hairy Problem!”

  1. I am overwhelmed, yet not surprised at the amount of money that are spent on false hair and hair products by black women. I see black women with long straight hair on the TV news channels, in movies, on the job, in the malls, on the street. Everywhere. Even on little girls. However, these numbers are still staggering.

    I am forever asking myself, what are we women trying to prove? Most of the time I hear things like this. I am trying to please my man. Or I want to look good for my man. Very rarely do I hear a woman say I am doing this for me.

    Well, I think we should be asking a question too: What does your man do to look good for you? Probably, not much. I believe that a woman beauty comes from within. If a man cannot see that and accept you for what you are, kick that arseclown to the curb. He is not worth it. Save your money and stop making Asian beauty shop owners wealthy!

    • You are so right about our motivations for seeking after “long, beautiful” hair. Truth is, we even lie to ourselves about why we do it. It is not a cliche to say that every woman is so much more than her hair — two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a tongue, a smile, an entire body, a heart, and a mind! We are so much more than one thing!

      And what you said about the Asian shop owners is something that I’ve also considered. They are laughing all the way to the bank with their full coffers. I can tell you this: I only have a smidgen of hair, but whatever my hair care needs, I will keep it to a bare minimum.

  2. Wow, that is a jaw dropping number. Also, considering that the continent of Africa which is mostly poor and largely black, 6 billion is shocking. I think it starts with each person deciding their self worth and not letting the world do it for them. Thanks for another great post… You make me think.

  3. What can I say. Hair remains an issue that disables black women. The reality is that most weaves are litttle more than glorified wigs. We should be at a point where we embrace who we truly are.

    Most women of color with these straight weaves would be more attractive with braids or some other natural hairstyle. The problem lies in the fact that most black men buy into a European aesthetic of beauty hook, line and sinker. The inverse is true for most black women, who revere Mandingo. White men who date and marry black women , embrace the whole woman and see her beauty. They see the softness of her skin, her high cheekbones and all that she is, including her hair as beautiful.

    It is as if the 70s and Black Pride never happened.

    • OMG, you bring up so many cogent points in compelling language:

      (1) Yes, we are DISABLED by our hair financially, spiritually, psychologically, and even in our activities of daily living. Raining? Run for cover. Summertime fun at the pool? Not with this hair. Wild sex? Seriously, only if you don’t touch “The Hair.”

      (2) And don’t even get me started on the collection of Mandingo arseclowns in the black community. Tragically, black women frantically buying into the European concept of beauty are trying too hard to please an audience that just CANNOT appreciate them and that is simply not interested.

      (3) You are so right! Men of other races when they choose to love a black woman, love her as a whole person; this has been my own experience.

      (4) And, finally, Black Pride?! Please. What we have today in the black community is a ginormous amount of self-hate. Black women hate themselves. Black men hate themselves. And too many black men hate black women. It’s a cesspool of hate.

      As for Black Pride, it did happen, BUT what was the point.


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