Black Beauty: The Revolution

The following is a WhatsApp conversation I had with a friend after acknowledging how good her mom looked at 60 years of age (ignore spelling and grammatical errors… its whatsapp people! ha!):

12/30/2012 7:18 PM: Amma G.: Black don’t crack eh?

12/30/2012 7:18 PM: A Friend: Yea man

12/30/2012 7:18 PM: A Friend: Im telling you man. That good tropical black…

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: A Friend: Some white man came up to me at church and said 60 was coming for him soon. And he looked like <CRAP>

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: Amma G.: Word yo

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: A Friend: Lol

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: Amma G.: LOL!

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: Amma G.: I hope u aint tell him that

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: Amma G.: Bwahahha

12/30/2012 7:19 PM: Amma G.: Tho he prob deserved to know

12/30/2012 7:20 PM: A Friend: I tried not make a face. But im pretty sure “damn…” was written all over my forehead

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: Bwahahahahah

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: #nochurch

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: @ church

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: Its real

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: Lol

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: But yes ppl here look so young

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: Amma G.: Like overwhelmingly so…

12/30/2012 7:21 PM: A Friend: Its the sun and whatever theyre using for lotion

12/30/2012 7:22 PM: A Friend: Who needs free healthcare when you have the equator

12/30/2012 7:22 PM: Amma G.: Alata samina (black soap) and shea butter

12/30/2012 7:22 PM: Amma G.: Tho ppl r getting hooked to these imports

12/30/2012 7:22 PM: Amma G.: LOL….

12/30/2012 7:22 PM: Amma G.: That’s defo a quotable

12/30/2012 7:23 PM: A Friend: Lol

12/30/2012 7:23 PM: Amma G.: I’ll tell u wat industry will nvr pop off here: botox…

12/30/2012 7:23 PM: Amma G.: Lol

12/30/2012 7:23 PM: Amma G.: Cosmetic surgery

12/30/2012 7:23 PM: A Friend: It dont need to

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: That’s jus not the life we bout

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: Haha

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: Word

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: But u know white folk will cre8 a reason it should

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: Jus so they can make some dollars off our vanity

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: Amma G.: Smh

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: A Friend: First of all thats all poison and everything  tropical ppl use/put into their body is pure and God sent

12/30/2012 7:24 PM: A Friend: My mom made her own cocanut oil as a child

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: A Friend: AS A CHILD

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: Amma G.: Oh wow

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: Amma G.: Lol

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: Amma G.: That’s real

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: A Friend: and i have to order it on amazon for real dolla dolla bills just to get some noirishment

12/30/2012 7:25 PM: A Friend: Nonsense!

12/30/2012 7:26 PM: Amma G.: LOL!!!

12/30/2012 7:26 PM: A Friend: Ppl walk around freely and shea/coconut everything is free and readily available

12/30/2012 7:26 PM: Amma G.: But that’s the realest

12/30/2012 7:26 PM: Amma G.: Like how they take our goods and move it around

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: But ghanaians aren’t using shea butter and coconut oil en masse

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: Dark and lovely has the big old building here and they are NOT churning out prods wit those ingrediants

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: A Friend: And they only say we can have oil of olay

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: THAT’S nonsense!

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: Chile!

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: A Friend: Abeg!

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: A Friend: Move!

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: Hahahahhaha

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: Bwahahhahaha

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: Amma G.: I don’t evn need em to move

12/30/2012 7:27 PM: A Friend: Hahaha

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: Amma G.: I need them to put real dollars to sourcng and using local prods for local hair

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: A Friend: Someone needs to kick down the door

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: Amma G.: Its not like we are lacking in that dept

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: Amma G.: Bwahahha

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: Amma G.: Eish

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: Amma G.: Hair revolution ooooo

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: A Friend: That building only has pollution and poison to contribute

12/30/2012 7:28 PM: A Friend: Yes!

12/30/2012 7:30 PM: Amma G.: Its so true

12/30/2012 7:30 PM: Amma G.: Omg

Sade

Sade (age 53)

     amd-kidjo-jpg

Angélique Kidjo (age 52)

Iman

Iman Abdulmajid (age 57)

It is no secret that black people generally age well. While its unclear (to me ) whether this is a result of some genetic marker yet unfound or some contextual factors associated with tropical weather, we definitely have a biological fountain of youth that is undeniable. Yet, for people who could literally live off of Vitamin D, Coconut Oil, Shea butter and water for all of our health and beauty needs, it seems we are much more obsessed with the Oils of Olay… whatever that. really. is. AHEMPoisonOfTheWhiteManToStopUsFromBeingGreatAHEM.

According to the Essence Panel on Beauty Purchasing:

“African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, but shell out 80 percent more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than the general market”

I am almost a hundred percent sure that the stats for Africa would likely be proportionally similar, given our obsession with weaves, lightening creams and other beauty threatening enhancers. So how amazing would it be if that 7.5 billion (like million, but with a B and times 10!) was channeled to developing products sourced from the continent and made by us and for us?! I recently went to Niobe Spa for a little R and R (mainly from a gift certificate I won… not because I could actually afford to go there to wash my hands…), and aside from the really great and attentive service, I was MOST satisfied with the fact that they used Peini products. Peini is made by a Ghanaian from natural Ghanaian ingredients, and the presentation and quality of product were definitely top notch. So what if instead of Dark and Lovely, we were using Peini? What if Ghana’s biggest export was beautifying black women all across the world?! What if we were finally able to manufacture something that would be a bit less susceptible to commodity booms and busts?!?!?!?!?

But of course there is a bit of an industrial complex. I do believe all the news outlets, entertainment heads, beauty manufacturers and beauty lobbyists sit down for quarterly meetings to scheme up ways to suppress the rise of  South- South Pan African Beauty revolution. And its not just external— because our economy relies heavily on taxing imports (as do the port smiths who get a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ on the side), I doubt the Ghanaian powers that be would want to see that crumble away in the name of national interest.the irony is not beyond me. And more importantly, who’s going to allow for that level of massive economic restructuring. I’ll tell you who’s not… the US… the UK… erm… duh. Because what do they get from that kind of a relationship?!

wealthtrickle

“You mean to tell me, you want to essentially redirect $7.5 Billion dollars into Africa?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Hell to the mother effin NO!” — is more or less what the US Government would say… in those exact words… I am fairly certain of this.

While they sell us airbrushed images of a middle eastern looking Beyonce’s and refuse the Viola Davis’ of the world the air time they deserve. Even looking for pictures of famous African women who were not Alek Wek was near impossible. Almost insurmountable really… but I persevered. And in the conversation above I mentioned the proverbial white man… but living in Ghana I recognize how pervasive African- American culture is on our beauty standards. I wonder if there is some meta- meta sociological disparity where Ghanaians are chasing an African-American ideal and African-Americans are just chasing the social norm of the ethnically ambiguous white man fetish…

or maybe not.

I’ll spare you my corner store sociology…

All I am saying is, we have coconut oil… we have shea butter… we have alata saminaa…we have water…we have (real) honey… we probably have all kinds of other great things that are yet undiscovered to preserve or enhance our timeless beauty. Someone just needs to convince us that a) its ok to not perm your child’s hair at 3 and put in weave for bangs during Christmas o.O and b) we don’t need to throw somebody else’s chemical concoction on our face to maintain our sexy…So can we get the beauty revolution on the ‘Better Ghana’ Agenda? #imjussayin

#MNFTF

Advertisements