As a resident member of the 7M Hair Type Category let me assure you that not all natural hair products are created equal. Neither are the companies that create the products.
When I first discovered the Karen’s Body Beautiful hair products I was impressed. Not just because of the awesome ways in which the products seem to enhance my 8G hair type (and believe you me, they really do make my 10D kinks “do” just right…).
And not just because my personal stylist (who as some of you know is extraordinarily…umm …picky…when it comes to the products that she uses), gave the entire Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair line a thorough test run followed by two thumbs up (something she’s only done with one other company I might add…).
Though either of these reasons would be enough, there was something more that attracted me to the products and the company.
Unlike many in the Team KBB Fan Club, before I tried the products, I had come to know Karen, the person behind the brand, as a dedicated, funny and kind member of my local community and friendship circle. When some of us started our Mommies & Mojitos group, she was the sista in the group who always seemed to be wearing her hair in a big beautiful Afro.
The kind of Afro that one dreams about when one hears the word “Afro.”
After asking what she did to help maintain such healthy hair, that’s when I discovered her products.
And as I said before: I. Love. Them. (Like seriously? If you come for my Sweet Ambrosia Leave in Conditioner—we will have words. Serious, serious words.)
I love that: 1) the products actually work, 2) they use all-natural ingredients that are safe enough for my baby, and 3) Karen and her team pride themselves on staying true to that commitment.
This is all part of the reason that I was ecstatic when I heard about the Karen’s Body Beautiful 10th Anniversary White Party this weekend. And I’m even more hyped to invite you to join us.
Details on that in just a sec. First, a few words about the Black beauty industry.
(Re)Creating a New Industry
Here’s something we need to remember: over the past few years we have seen the natural hair community expand exponentially.
We have fully transitioned (pun fully intended) from the days when there were no natural hair websites, meet ups or online spaces. Since the beginning of the natural hair movement, we’ve seen the rapid decline in the amount of chemical relaxers used to straighten Black hair as more and more Black women search for healthier ways to care for their hair and bodies.
And most importantly, we have seen the resurgence of Black economic development within the Black hair care community. As I’ve said before there was a time when the Black beauty industry owned, operated and financed itself. There was a time when all of the dollars that were exchanged in the Black hair economy were exchanged between Black hands.
Then came The Takeover.
We watched as corporations owned by people who didn’t look like us (and who quite frankly couldn’t grow a kink out of their head if they dedicated their life to the task) took over an industry that was completely based on taking care of our needs. One by one, small Black businesses that had grown, thrived and provided a sense of economic stability within our community were plucked off by corporations seeking to capitalize on the billions we spend on hair care and cosmetics.
Just when it seemed as if there would be no opportunity for us to reclaim space in that world, when it looked like we had completely outsourced all of our hair care needs (and all the attendant opportunities to profit from servicing those needs) to outsiders, then came the natural hair movement.
That movement was made up of women (and men) who realized that We know Us best. That movement was fueled by women and men who started companies, stayed up late at night mixing concoctions, testing out recipes and trying to find ways to manufacture and package products in order to get them into the hands of Black customers.
Karen’s Body Beautiful is one such company. They started 10 years ago as a home based company mixing products in the kitchen. They grew, opened a store and day spa in Brooklyn, providing services to a wide clientele. And now their products are being sold on shelves in Target™ stores all over the country.
Small Black owned and operated businesses like these are committed to seeing the best in Black beauty. These businesses helped to fuel the expanding natural Black hair care industry. Thanks to the natural hair community’s strong support of these companies, Black owned companies like KBB are not just making a collective comeback—they are re-establishing independent Black economic streams.
Now that is truly a cause for celebration.
This weekend, we are going to pay homage to a small part of that legacy. On Saturday June 21, 2014, Karen’s Body Beautiful is celebrating their 10th year anniversary with a White Party at Industry City Loft in Brooklyn, NYC—the Afro Capital of the World.
Yours truly will be hosting so I’m looking forward to seeing all of your beautiful faces in the building and having a blast!
Doors open at 5 pm, workshops, shopping, fashion shows and entertainment start at 6 pm. There is open bar (mixed drinks…heeeey…) and of course, some off the hook swag bags. At 9 pm Brooklyn’s own DJ JahMedicine (truly one of Brooklyn’s best) takes over and the party continues as we paaaaahhhtaaaay into the night. You can reserve your space by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list.
At this point all general admission tickets have sold out but VIP tickets are still available. If you RSVP ahead of time and get on the list, VIP tickets are $20. If you can’t RSVP ahead of time the price jumps to $30 at the door. So get on the list by emailing: email@example.com ASAP!Location: Industry City Loft: 233 37th St. Brooklyn, NY, 11232 Between 2nd and 3rd Avenue.
No Babysitter? No Problem!
Oh wait. Let me guess—you don’t have childcare? Well no worries. Team KBB also has childcare options so that mommies and daddies can get their party on. Because this is what it means when our businesses are run by people who look out for their clientele.
So get ready beauties…we’re going to have a great time. See you Saturday!
Let us hear from you! Will you be at the White party? What do you think about the legacy of Black business in the Black beauty industry?
Looking for more thoughts from an Afro State of Mind? Check out my book Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl now available on Amazon.com in paper back or e-book! And if you want to stay connected follow me on Twitter, “like” Afro State of Mind on Facebook or catch up on my latest youtube videos!