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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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Andre Walker Shares 8 Natural Hair Commandments

Andre Walker is the  Love him or not, he’s an Emmy-award winning genius who has his own hair care line.  He’s credited with the hair typing system (if you refer to hair as 4b or 3a, you have his original typing system to thank).  He also famously styled Oprah Winfrey’s fabulously fluffy and healthy hair for her show.

Andre Walker

So, when Mr. Walker shares natural hair commandments, I take notice.  Here are the tips as shared at

Shampoo and Condition More Often
There are many schools of thought when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. Walker believes for those with dry hair, the more the better. “Many people think that dry hair should not be washed too often, but that is incorrect,” he explains. “Dry hair needs moisture, water is moisture. Use water and highly moisturizing products to deliver moisture to your hair.”

Rinse Shampoo Thoroughly
Rinse for an extra minute or two in the shower to make sure you get all the shampoo out of your hair. This will leave you with less frizz and extra shine.

Condition From Roots to Tips
Make sure to get conditioner on your whole entire head. Leave on for a few minutes before you rinse to lock in the moisture.

Related: Why Can’t a Black Woman Have a Perfect Bedhead?

Deep Condition
During the dry winter months, deep conditioning treatments are essential to combat breakage and frizz. If you can’t make it to the salon, you can easily do a DIY version at home. Simply shampoo your hair and rinse it out with hot water, then add a conditioner throughout. Dampen a towel with hot water, ring out the excess, and wrap it around your head. Place a shower cap over the towel to lock in the heat and keep things in place. Once the towel gets cool, soak it again and rewrap. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes.

Do Not Brush
When styling natural hair, Walker says it’s best not to disturb the curl pattern as it dries. Brushing, combing, even touching your hair will cause frizz.

Go to Bed With a Ponytail
If you want to keep frizz at bay, don’t wear your hair down when you sleep. Lying on your curls will cause them to frizz and straighten out. Instead, Walker suggests loosely pulling all of your hair into a pony at the center of your crown.

Related: Why I Stopped Relaxing My Hair

Sleep on Silk
Cotton pillowcases absorb moisture and will dry your hair out and cause breakage. Switch to silk or satin and you’ll keep the moisture in your hair (and feel that much more luxurious).

Get Misty
To freshen up kinks, curls, or waves that may have drooped or frizzed when you don’t have time to shampoo and condition, mist your hair lightly with water (be careful not to saturate it too much) and add a small amount of styling product and Argan oil.



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Halle Berry: In Court Against Ex Over Daughter’s Hair?

Hair MATTERS.  I don’t know Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, or their daughter but if anything about this story is true, it is just SAD to me.

First, their daughter is six years old, so any chemical process (straightening, coloring, etc.) seems ridiculous.  What is the point?  Second, if there is any truth to the goal of denying the little girl’s Black heritage, well…THAT is even sadder.

Below is an excerpt from a 11/24/14 article on; what do you all think? Would you take your spouse or ex to court over this?

BTW, I decided NOT to post a picture of their daughter, let’s leave the children out of this.  I wish the paparazzi would stop hounding these parents for their children’s pictures.  Can you imagine how traumatic that would be?

Excerpt from article on

Oscar winner Halle Berry’s ex made ‘completely and totally unacceptable’ racial slurs against the actress – and dyed their six-year-old daughter’s hair blonde, it was revealed in court today.

The star took her former love, Gabriel Aubry, to court, accusing him of straightening their little girl Nahla’s naturally curly hair and lightening it over the past year in a bid to deny her African-American heritage.

As a result, Halle said in court documents, Aubry had caused Nahla ‘potential psychological and physical damage’ – and could cause her to wonder ‘why her natural appearance is not good enough’.

A judge ruled today that neither Halle nor Aubry can now change Nahla’s hair, while court records obtained by MailOnline show that Aubry has made shocking racist remarks against the star”

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Carol Rossetti’s Sublime Work

I love supporting work that I find beautiful and inspiring.  Lay your eyes on the beautiful work of Carol Rossetti (  This piece on Afrocentric hair is sublime.  What do you think?


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LOVE OUT LOUD! Ms. Verta Ayanna’s Beautiful, Personal Story (Part 2 of 2)

love it and let it go

part 2

by verta ayanna

naa sees verta

i have come to learn that alopecia is the medical term for balding.  like so many things, using the term alopecia alone is not descriptive enough.  it does not encompass or adequately define the various types of alopecia that exist. when i returned for the results, dr. jones told me that i had two forms: androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecia. i am not a doctor, however, experience is making me more expert at understanding my alopecia.

androgenetic alopecia is in essence pattern baldness.  yes, my eyes got wide too. it generally affects men and women differently. for me it started with the shedding/thinning hair i was experiencing. i would literally have large amounts of hair in my hands after running my fingers through it. over time this form of baldness will likely lead to thinning hair mostly at the crown of my head and eventually could lead to baldness in that area.  scarring alopecia, as i understand it, is a relatively rare diagnosis and it can only be diagnosed with a biopsy. there are several forms of scarring alopecia and symptoms usually include burning, itching and pain in addition to hair loss.  the hair follicle is destroyed under the scalp in scarring alopecia and in its end stage results in smooth, clean, bald surfaces on the scalp (scars) that can be raised.  to prevent permanent hair loss it has to be treated pretty aggressively.

since my diagnosis in 2013, i have received several injections in my scalp. i am being treated with kenalog, a steroid solution. this is injected directly into my scalp and it hurts. i started with injections every six weeks. then every three months and now every four to six months depending on how i am responding. eventually i will only need the injections once a year. according to dr.jones and no second occurrence of balding to date, i am responding well. in fact, hair has actually grown in places on my scalp it was not present before.

alopecia, while ego threatening, is not life threatening. i chose an aggressive treatment because i still cannot and currently don’t have to imagine life as a bald or balding woman. shortly after i was diagnosed i decided to dye my hair blonde. my new motto on hair is “if i may lose it anyway, then no regrets” i have long adored dark skinned women with blonde tresses. my entire life i felt i could never pull that off. i was wrong. alopecia taught me that. currently my hair is exactly representative of who i am becoming on the inside. a more bold, more honest, more open and more confident version of myself.

alopecia is teaching me to let go of some of the external things i use to define myself. i am being forced to slowly let go of hair as such a strong definer because it is deciding to slowly let go of me. alopecia is a reminder that i am meant to grow. that with each passing day, every cell in my body is growing older, just as it should. i, just like you, am miraculous in this way. i am not ready to lose my hair, yet i know that i will one day. in accepting this inevitability i get to use my hair to weave whatever identity i choose to or not. i get to love it and let it go.




LOVE OUT LOUD! Ms. Verta Ayanna’s Beautiful, Personal Story (Part 1 of 2)

love it and let it go

Part 1

by verta ayanna

in january 2013 my hair fell out. a huge patch of hair, the size of the motherland that blessed me with my divine kinks as far as i was concerned, was gone. it was not especially gradual. one day i recall hair, somewhat thinning, but hair none the less. the next day, bald. smooth as a new years baby’s bottom.

for months i strategically wore my hair in what i like to call the contained fro. the style too many of us with naturals sport when our fros are too much for twa status and no where near the goal length of the natural hair goddesses we aspire to become. the beautiful ones who are posted on our bathroom mirrors as daily inspiration or torture. i would fold what hair i had left over itself at the nape of my neck to cover my bald spot; slip a thin headband around my head; pull till the right amount of fro was contained and the right amount exposed and carry on with my day. the hair had started to grow back slowly. this little bit of new growth allowed me a bit of false hope and a great deal of true denial.

i convinced myself it was stress. i self diagnosed to avoid the possibility that something more serious was to blame. when my best friend saw my bald spot, she stayed composed and said “you need to see a doctor.” she never says that. she is ghanaian, super smart and has a PhD from google so generally offers up all kinds of accurate and alternative solutions for my ailments. i didn’t go.  not right away. i had work. i had children to raise. i was too busy with life. i was scared. when i had amassed a decent amount of new growth, i made two appointments — one to get my hair cut and one to see a dermatologist.

i wanted to find a black, female dermatologist because i needed to see someone who would understand. understand that like most women, i have over-identified with what was on top of my head as opposed to what was inside of it more than i care to admit. understand that my hair defies gravity and grows towards the sun and the gods in tight brilliant coils. i needed someone i could see a little bit of myself in and feel comforted because deep down i knew it was more than stress that was to blame for my recent hair loss.

in april 2013 i sat in dr. elena jones’ chair for the first time. she examined my scalp and immediately said, “we need to do a biopsy.” six words no one ever wants to hear. the moment i heard biopsy i thought cancer. i said to myself, i didn’t even know there was such a thing as scalp cancer.  i will have to google that when i leave the office. dr. jones was not testing for cancer. she was testing to see what form of alopecia i had. she used her scalpel to cut out a small piece of my scalp to be sent to the lab. she gave me two stitches and told me to come back in a week for the results. like so many, the only form of alopecia i was familiar with was alopecia areata totalis.i was already deciding what earrings i would need to wear to detract from my bald … everything.

i have come to learn that alopecia is the medical term for balding.  like so many things, using the term alopecia alone is not descriptive enough.  it does not encompass or adequately define the various types of alopecia that exist. when i returned for the results, dr. jones told me that i had two forms: androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecia. i am not a doctor, however, experience is making me more expert at understanding my alopecia.

scarring alopeica 2

Scarring alopecia

androgenetic alopecia 2

Androgenetic Alopecia

  • Camille DeFreitaa

    I appreciate you in every way!

  • erica addison

    The PhD from Google. Loved that one, and am gonna steal it! Thanks for this story. Can’t wait to read part 2!

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Carol’s Daughter Purchased by L’Oreal USA

Hello everyone,

Carol’s Daughter has just joined L’Oreal USA.  Click here for Lisa Price’s announcement.




  • Paul

    I think it is a step in the right direction for the general market, but I wish as a salon owner and professional that it would be a professional salon product, not mass market.

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A Wig Confession: Why I Shouted GLO-RAYYYYYY!!! When Viola Davis Pulled Off That Wig

As one of the more than 14,000,000 viewers of “How To Get Away With Murder” #HTGAWM and a hair/identity researcher, I was baffled by the less than attractive wig worn by Professor Annalise Keating (brilliantly played by Viola Davis).  This top-notch show can’t get a more attractive hair do for the gorgeous Ms. Davis? Really, I feel GUILTY about how much I hate that wig.  I didn’t want to speak poorly about Ms. Davis so I refrained from posting about that wig. I have to admit that I was particularly disappointed to see Ms. Davis in that wig after seeing her ROCK her beautiful natural hair.




oscar arrivals 13 260212

So imagine my great relief when Ms. Davis TOOK. THAT. UGLY. WIG. OFF.  HALLELUJAH!  (along with her false eyelashes and makeup).  Then, to emphasize the wig’s removal, Ms. Davis stroked her hands over her natural hair.  Her husband then kissed her.

This suggests that the wig is somehow connected to the show’s plot.  Now, I am even more intrigued by this show than I was before the “reveal”.


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Ms. Pam Oliver, Weaves and Women in SportsCasting

I am not much of a sports fan.  I mean, I like to watch the NBA Finals, the SuperBowl…you know, I’m a fair weather sports enthusiast only watching when BIG events are coming up.  So I was taken off guard when FaceBook and Twitter blew up with remarks about soon to retire Pam Oliver, a woman who began her journalism career in 1985 and began sports journalism in 1991.  The remarks weren’t about Oliver per say but her HAIR.  This is an old story dating back to 1/14 when Oliver provided sideline commentary for the National Football Conference.  I won’t honor the comments by repeating them here but let’s just say that folks (many of them Black apparently) took umbrage with what they considered a bad weave.

Fast forward to 7/14 and it was announced that Oliver would no longer be on the “A” team comprised of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman that has been together for mor ethan a decade.  Instead, Oliver would be relegated to the “B” team. Oliver’s replacement on the “A” team?  Erin Andrews, who began her sports journalism career in 2000 and recently began hosting Dancing with the Stars.  

Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews

Image found at Eonline!

Again, this is somewhat old hat but I’m bringing it up now because I recently learned of an Essence interview that Oliver did for the magazine’s 10/14 issue.   In the interview, Oliver details how hurt she was by her demotion and how she had to learn to move on.  She adds that she believes that she wasn’t removed because of her race but perhaps because of her age.  Others have chimed in that the 1/14 social media uproar over her hair as well as the TV station’s desire to have a new, younger, blonder cohort of journalists may have also contributed to the decision.  Oliver stated “It’s not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, bond and “hot”.” (Essence, 2014).

This is so unfortunate to me.  Granted, I’m not a sports fan but when I have tuned into sports events, I find Oliver’s commentary to be sharp, insightful and personal.  She seems able to connect with the players, coaches and fans in a way that is authentic.  I haven’t seen Andrews in action.  But, I listened to a HuffPost Live interview with several sportscasters / media personalities.  During the discussion, the panelists made two key points.  First, Pam Oliver is the top in the field, bar none.  It will be difficult to replace the social and professional capital she’s accrued during her career.  Second, why in the world are most sideline reporters female.  Is there some sort of force field in the TV studio that only permits males, causing women to spontaneously combust when they approach the inner sanctum (please, hear the sarcasm in my voice)?

I also wonder why the debate becomes boiled down to Oliver versus Andrews rather than broadened to focus on the entrenched gender discrimination in sports reporting?  If a knowledgable, well-liked person like Oliver can be replaced at the drop of a…weave, what is sideline reporting REALLY about?

What do you all think?  Is this about agism?  Racism?  Sexism?  Feminism?  Please, weigh in.

  • Nadia

    I am not a fair weather fan. I am a sports addict. My TVs (yes, plural) are also on ESPN. I have to say that I was guilty many times of making derogatory comments about Pam Oliver’s bad hair days but it also didn’t keep me from appreciating her tremendous works as a sports journalist. But I’m an equal opportunity abuser when it comes to that. I get distracted when anything physical, hair, makeup, tic, etc. is noticeable. I was very struck with Pam Oliver’s demotion not because of race, gender or hair but on the merits. Pam is a far more superior journalist than Erin Andrews, Sam Ponder and a whole slew of others. But that’s the way of the business. It happens in the newsroom too, where maturer, seasoned anchors and reporters and traded in for younger and fresher faced though not necessarily better.

  • MeredithD

    Being a woman that watches NFL football as a religion, I can say that I have always found Pam Oliver to be honest, knowledgeable and not afraid to ask the players and coaches those hard but needed questions. The last thing I look as is her hair, or weave. Yes, I do think that overall there is a bit of sexism in terms of women working the sidelines rather than being in the booth. Granted these women have not been on the gridiron like many of the male commentators, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know the game nor can provide insight, which is what I feel drives them to being relegated to the sidelines. No one has really given them the opportunity to showcase their insight into male dominated sports. Now, as far as Oliver being passed over for Andrews, its a sad fact but it happens all the time in the media. Not to say that Andrews isnt a capable reporter, but networks will push aside the veterans for the next “it” girl. It’s like Hollywood. Once you hit a point you go from being the love interest to the love interests parent. Until we as a society start putting more stock in wisdom over youth, we will continue to see this happen.

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Justice Thurgood Marshall

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was appointed as a United Supreme Court Justice, the first African-American to ascend to this position.  Did you know that Thurgood Marshall’s light skin and hair impacted his reputation?  Hair has always been an identity marker, something that may signal inclusion or exclusion; acceptance or rejection.   Thank goodness for all of us, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was appointed.  Our country would be a different land without his brilliant legal mind.thurgoodmarshall

Here is an excerpt from Juan William’s book, “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary” that underscores how hair and other elements of appearance impacted Justice Thurgood Marshall:

“RUMORS FLEW THAT NIGHT. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark had resigned a few hours earlier. By that Monday evening, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall and his wife, Cissy, heard that the president was set to name Clark’s replacement the very next morning. At the Marshalls’ small green town house on G Street in Southwest Washington, D.C., the phone was ringing. Friends, family, and even politicians were calling to see if Thurgood had heard anything about his chances for the job. But all the Marshalls could say was that they had heard rumors.

    T1521520_28As Marshall dressed for Clark’s retirement party on that muggy Washington night of June 12, 1967, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Years ago some of his militant critics had called him “half-white” for his straight hair, pointed nose, and light tan skin. Now, at fifty-eight, his face had grown heavy, with sagging jowls and dark bags under his eyes. His once black hair, even his mustache, was now mostly a steely gray. And he looked worried. He did have on a good dark blue suit, the uniform of a Washington power player. But the conservative suit looked old and out of place in an era of Afros and dashikis. And even the best suit might not be strong enough armor for the high-stakes political fight he was preparing for tonight. At this moment the six-foot-two-inch Marshall, who weighed well over two hundred pounds, felt powerless. He was fearful that he was about to lose his only chance to become a Supreme Court justice.”

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