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Black Women POWERFUL Consumers: How Will We Use This Power?

Black women of Brazil

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Black women are POWERFUL.  If you’re like me, you didn’t need to be told this, all I have to do is look at my own Mom to know that.  Working full time; keeping a house TOGETHER (old school style like you can SERIOUSLY eat off of her floors; don’t try that in my house); with my Dad raising strong daughters; cooking amazing meals (people put in special requests weeks in advance), all while looking fly.  Plus, my Mom worked in an environment where she may have been initially viewed as “just an assistant” but quickly rose to be viewed as one of the most valuable employees at IBM.  Her strong work ethic, sheer smarts and ability to read people (both understand them and put them in check if need be) made her someone folks wanted on their team.  She’s retired now but still the woman I call when I need sage advice.

Ok, I digress.  That Black women are powerful was underscored in a recent Black Enterprise article citing a Nielsen report that found that Black women wield tremendous consumer power.  Black women, what will we do with this power?  How can we wisely use our money to help make the world safer for our families, children, communities?  Do you have any tips that you can share?

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Among the key takeaways is the fact that many African American women are greatly influenced by their culture and community. Roughly 62% of black women believe embracing and supporting their culture is important. Furthermore, about 59% feel a strong obligation to support minority businesses.

“Black women are one of the most powerful consumers because they are three times as likely to be the head of household than any other minority culture,” saysTarra Jackson (also known as Madam Money), a money expert who specializes in economic empowerment. “Marketers should pay attention to African American women because they control over 50% of the annual adult black purchasing and spending power,” Jackson continues.

Here is a link to the full article:

We can send a clear message to the world.  For example, when it comes to natural hair, many women ask me how I find products and lament the dearth of available products once you leave major metropolitan areas.  Ladies, you have a voice, it’s green and folds. Make yourself heard.  Nielsen underscores that companies will listen.

  • Petra Lewis

    That thought on that old adage had a typo. I meant to write: “What do Black people buy?–whatever we put on the shelves…”

  • Tina Opie

    Hey Petra! I LOVE your comments! Thanks so much for your comments! I’m trying to build the brand and nothing speaks like readers, comments, etc. I love the idea of saying, “Whatever WE put on the shelves” in response to the question, “What do Black people buy”. People try to make it seem like we’re being racist when we say that but don’t even bat an eye when other communities do exactly that. It’s not about hating others it’s about supporting yourself. Amen and amen

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Nice Hair! by AdamCohn

This photo was taken by Adam Cohn in Accra, Ghana.  The image is so engaging and it looks like we’re getting a glimpse into Ghanaian life.  I cannot quite tell how the hairstyle is done but it looks like it might be a double strand twist out (see Nikki Mae’s YouTube tutorial for step-by-step instructions:


I am also taken by the vibrant hue of the woman’s hair (I wish I knew her name!).  I haven’t yet colored my natural hair but, I must say, I love her hair color on her!  What do you think?

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Hindu Ascent by Stuck in Customs

This picture by Stuck in Customs (aka Trey Ratcliff) is so peaceful.  The beautiful lighting makes it almost look like the person is ascending into the heavenly realm.  Here is the picture’s description on Flikr:

“A 94-year-old woman ascends the final stairs in the 272-step ascent in the Batu Caves, a pilgrimage site in Malaysia for over 800,000 Hindus per year.

Her hair is 3 meters long (about 9 feet). She has never cut it her entire life. It is so long, she has to fold it back and forth a few times and wrap it to keep it from dragging behind.”

The picture comes from Trey’s daily photo blog found at  Trey, thank you for such beautiful work!  So inspiring!

I am in awe  of the picture and the story behind the picture.  To think that a 94-year-old woman has never cut her hair.  Just one more way to know that hair matters.

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Hair the Father by Giuliagas

This photo was taken by Giulia Gasparro and I found it in the Commons on Flickr.  I LOVE it.  It is rare to see such an up close shot of a man’s cornrows and I love the composition of the photo.  This picture is particularly interesting to me given a recent resurgence of interest in Hampton University’s ban on cornrows and dreadlocks for men in its five year MBA program (  On one hand, Dean Credle (Hampton University’s business school dean) argues that the ban is simply designed to help students get the job and that what students do after they’re hired is up to them.  On the other hand, those who disagree with the ban state that hair should have nothing to do with employment prospects.  What do you think:  should certain hairstyles be banned for college students?  For employees?


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Purple and Green Spiky Hair by fluffy_steve

When you see the image of a purple and green mohawk, what do you think of?  Rebellion?  Anarchy?  Creativity? Independence?  I often wonder about the conditions that drive one person to view this hairstyle in a negative way, while someone else views it in a positive way.  The shades and studded necklace contribute to the look.  What are your thoughts?  Would you want the person in this picture working for you?  Why or why not?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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