For those of you staring at the title of this piece in confusion as to what the black dollar is; it is simply money spent by black people. A report in 2018 from Nielsen the American information, data and measurement company stated that in the US black people were responsible for 1.2 trillion purchases in 2017. This is result is outstanding considering the fact that African-Americans only account for 14% of the population. This alone shows how valuable black people are for the economy. Within this research a closer look was taken into what was spent on a particular category within 2017; it showed that the population on a whole spent $63million on hair and beauty and out of that amount $54.4million was spent by black consumers. That is over 85% of the total.
This is a shame as majority of the brands and companies that this money is being fuelled into are Caucasian founded companies. Most of these companies have no respect or regard for black people and do not produce products with us in mind but yet still benefit from us. Brands such as Prada, Gucci and Burberry have released clothing that have been highly offensive to black people, now whilst all have stated that they did not mean to offend anyone; the fact that no one on the boards or in the teams of these companies realised that these clothing items may be received negatively shows a lack of diversity within their business, if there were black board members working in these brands they would have been able to pick this up to prevent such problems but since this did not occur it suggest that most of those working behind these brands are all Caucasian and the fact that there are no people of colour working there further shows that they do not value our opinions and if they do not value our opinions the do not deserve our money!
In addition to this, black people who have worked in companies such as Tiffany and Co, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton have accused them of racial discrimination and yet despite the publicity such cases have gotten we as a community still continue to financially support them, this needs to stop.
We as a community need to pour out our financial support into black businesses, we need to help them to thrive we should no longer support brands that do not support us. In addition to this we as black people are very gifted and talented so why do we not deserve to have business as successful as brands such as Prada and Louis Vuitton. For us to get there we as a collective must support each other first! We need encourage our families and friends when they decide to start businesses of their own. In all other ethnic communities, they all support each other why must it be different for the black community? With all our talent and our drive, united we can accomplish anything! Considering all the black race has been through we owe it to ourselves, to our history and to our culture.
Moving forward, we now need to take active steps; I am by no means telling anyone who doesn’t have the intentions of starting a business to start one, but I am saying that we should go out of our way to look out black businesses and start to buy from them. We need to start switching where we buy our clothes from, makeup from skincare items etc. So to start you off I have put together a list of black owned clothing, makeup and beauty brands which you all can look into and start to buy from!
As many of you are aware well-known black celebrities have got their own clothing line such as Rihanna with FentyXPuma and SavageFenty, Beyonce with Ivy Park and Kanye West with Yeezy. These are brands that are receiving a lot of support right now which is good to see. However, I would like to shed light on some new, up and coming clothing brands.
1. OFF-WHITE – by Virgil Abloh – Ghanaian descent
– This brand was founded by Virgil Abloh in 2012, whilst this brand is well known and is well acknowledged, I believe it still deserves a mention as proof of a black owned brand that is thriving and flourishing, and to encourage all those who can afford it to continue to financially support.
– Instagram: off__white
2. What We Wear- by Tinie Tempah – Nigerian descent
– WW.Wear, the menswear brand was launched in 2017 by British born and raised rapper Tinie Tempah. He showcases some very interesting and distinct pieces modelled by black models. I love a lot of the pieces I see here and would encourage you all to check it out.
– Instagram: WW.Wear
3. Daily paper – by Abderrahmane Trabsini, Jefferson Osei, Hussein Suleiman – Moroccan, Ghanaian and Somalian descent
– This brand is a men and womenswear fashion brand founded in 2010 and established in 2012 by three males from African descent. Their clothing has an eclectic appeal and has high end fashion written all over it!
4. Corteiz – Clint and Ade – This is an up and coming brand that has caught my eye for their memorable track pants and the rebellious feel to their Instagram page. They have made casual joggers, tops, hoodies and jumpers fashionable and their brand is definitely on the road to success. Instagram: crtz.rtw
5. The Lapp Brand – by Leomie Anderson – Jamaican descent
– The LAPP Brand was created by fashion model Leomie Anderson in 2017, she uses her brand to empower women and to educate many on consent. Her brand sells sportswear and tracksuits with an interesting twist. Not only should we support her brand for all that it stands for; we ought to support it as she is constantly speaking out about the discrimination with the fashion industry that people of colour face and continuously fights for our rights.
– Instagram: lappthebrand
As we are all aware Rihanna’s successful makeup brand Fenty Beauty is taking the beauty world by storm and is extremely successful and progressive due it launching with 40 different shades! Her brand is also been commended for the diversity in the models used. Here are some other progressive black makeup brands:
1. Juvia’s Place – by Chichi Eburu – Nigerian descent
– Juvias Place is a makeup brand launched in 2014 that specialises in eyeshadows and brushes and is well known for its highly pigmented shades. I love these eyeshadows as each eyeshadow has an African name. Eburu felt that black culture was not represented in the beauty industry and wanted to create makeup that did, hence why her eyeshadows are so bright and vibrant as she feels it represent African culture, food and Spices.
– Instagram: Juvia’s Place
2. Pat Mcgrath Lab – by Pat McGrath – Jamaican descent
– Self-made Billionaire Pat McGrath launched makeup brand in 2015 and is now called the fashion world’s most important makeup artist. She has worked with labels such as Armani, Jil Sander and John Galliano. Her passion for makeup stemmed from her mother who she watched mix pigments for her makeup due to the lack of options for dark skins. Since then she has been a notable name within the beauty industry. With such a weighty name I definitely feel she deserves much more recognition for all her efforts.
– Instagram: patmcgrathreal
3. Crayon Case – by Raynell Steward aka ‘Supa Cent’- African-American
– This brand was launched in 2017 and gained instant popularity due to its bright colours which made many nostalgic of the crayons they would play with during childhood. Their website describes the crayon case as a safe haven for those who are new to makeup, her original idea deserves all the support it can get. This brand now sells full face makeup items.
– Instagram: thecrayoncase
4. Nagi Cosmetics – by Gina Delisme – Haitian descent
– Gina Delisme started a makeup line in 2012 as she felt there were not enough products that catered to women of colour, so she decided to start a business that specifically caters to coloured women ensure that we have makeup that corresponds with us. She describes Nagi cosmetics not only as a makeup line but also as a movement, she wants women of colour to feel like they are thought of when they walk into a store and not feel excluded. For such genuine and thoughtful motives this is a brand I encourage many to give her line a try.
– Instagram: nagicosmetics
Skincare and other beauty
1. Sheabutter cottage – by Akua Wood -Ghanaian descent
– This company founded in 2002 sells all-natural products such as shea butter, exotic oils, herbs and superfoods. These products can be used for hair care and skin care. These natural products are well suited to our skin as it keeps it well moisturised and nourished.
– Instagram: sheabuttercottage
2. Wildseed Botanicals – Laila Jean – Ghanaian descent
– Natural hair youtuber Laila jean aka as fusionofcultures on youtube and neffyfrofro on Instagram launched her vegan skin, hair and body care products line in 2018. I’ve been watching Laila on YouTube for over three years and can honestly swear by her natural care remedies.
– Instagram: wildseedbotanicals
3. Shea’d Beauty – by Shea Moss – Jamaican and Cuban descent
– Shea is a nail technician based in London who has been doing nails for many years now and has progressed to the level where she now has her own business, she designs extremely creative and artistic nail work and would encourage many of you to check her out!
– Instagram: sheadbeauty
To close, I would like to state that I am by no means suggesting that black people should not purchase from non-black companies and brands as there are some that are inclusive of us and our various shades, I am in fact just trying to make us as a community more aware of how we as a community can progress and ways in which we can support one another and to also encourage us to value ourselves more by no longer supporting brands that simply do not care about us. I also am not saying that you should buy from the above brands just because they are black owned, I expect everyone to treat them as they would any other brand to make a judgement as to whether it is useful for them or not. Lastly, I would like to state black owned does not mean cheap; respect these companies by not expecting them to have low prices, value their product the way they value it, it takes a lot of time, courage and investment to launch a business.
By Kimberley Nwaeze