These are revolutionary times – not only has COVID-19 turned life as we knew it on its head, but now, the influence and importance of the Black Lives Matter movement is making its mark on history. As the biggest international movement in history, it is getting everyone reflecting on how they can support the movement – no matter how little the gesture is.
These last few months have been a wake-up call. Now more than ever, we need to look at our habits and study how we can make a change, starting with small baby steps. We all saw the influence Black Lives Matter had on social media in June, but that’s not to say it’s just a hashtag, it’s a movement against social injustices, which have been going on for decades, centuries even.
It’s also a celebration of black people and what they represent today, the achievements they have made despite the great injustices they face on a daily basis, although, there shouldn’t need to be a movement or other events like Black History Month to celebrate them – they should feel equally represented and recognized as others. Read more about this yearly event at All Things Hair.
Though the hair and beauty industries can seem somewhat irrelevant in causes like these, there are so many different ways you can support the movement. Influencers have been sharing how you can take part in the movement in your own way, here are our tips to support BLM through your hair care.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
Whether it’s in the hair industry, or other fields like fashion or makeup, supporting black-owned businesses when purchasing your favorite items is a simple but effective way of supporting the movement. It allows you discover brands that you may not have had the opportunity to find. Brands like Bask & Boom Styling and Kinky Tresses offer products for all hair types, using natural and hydrating ingredients. Whatever your favorite product to treat your locks is, make your purchases all whilst supporting an amazing cause.
Support Businesses Supporting The Movement
Another way you can support the movement is by supporting businesses donating money and/or time to the movement. Brands that didn’t just stop at Black Out Tuesday, but are using their platform to spread important messages to their followings – brands such as Goody Hair, Devacurl and Ouai have done this all whilst donating money to the important cause. Ouai, owned by hairstylist Jen Atkin, have also used their platform to support Black Lives Matter vandalism on their posters, gaining support from followers through their response. They have pledged to donate $100k this year to this cause.
Many people are boycotting brands that have a contradictory messaging. Brands such as L’Oréal have announced their support for the movement but have been caught out for previous blunders, notably when they used model Munroe Bergdorf, as the face of one of their products. They paid her less than other stars, and more shocking than that, ended her contract when she denounced white supremacy.
Embracing Your Natural Hair
So many people feel they cannot embrace their natural hair, or they are at risk of borderline comments and questions from friends or colleagues. They put their hair through all sorts to conform to what society tells them their hair should be like. A statement you can make to support the movement is to embrace your natural hair. You will feel empowered, showing every kink and bounce. As natural hair and products for this hair type are still under-represented in the beauty industry today, it’s your time to make your mark.
For those without this struggle, firstly understand your privilege to not have people questioning you about your hair. There’s curiosity and just plain awkwardness. Let them rock their hair how they want, let them be versatile and experimental, just as you can be with your hair.
This isn’t to say that those with relaxed hair can’t be celebrated either. Just feel comfortable with what feels authentically you, and don’t let society dictate what your hair should be. Instead, use it as a way of portraying your personality and your outlook.
Support Black Creatives
Not only can you support black-owned hair care brands, but you can support the creatives that bring these products to life. Creatives in all industries all over the world have had their careers put on standstill because of COVID-19, but they were already facing difficulties before the pandemic.
Black creatives were missing out on work opportunities, and the lack of diversity in the teams behind some of your favorite photoshoots, anything from editorial to commercial, is staggering.
Follow and support them on social media to allow them to gain exposure, and if you work in the industry, consider them for future projects. Black creatives are still facing great inequalities in terms of pay and opportunities. Some of them are only employed when there are specific requests for black creatives. They deserve a seat at the table and not just to tick the diversity box, but because they are talented and innovative individuals.
Make A Change
You, yes you, can make a change. After the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, many people commented on Walmart’s policy of locking up black hair care products sold at its stores. A black woman in Colorado, USA, shared a video on social media showing the different ways various hair products were presented in store, and it showed the incredible discrimination. Things that may be overlooked by some may have a huge impact on other people’s lives, customers purchasing black hair care products felt that they were automatically considered a thieves.
Walmart has since stopped this system and are now unlocking multicultural hair care products all over the country. The message is, now is a better time than any to be vocal, the beauty and hair industries need to be more inclusive, and the representation of different cultures but also the presentation of the products for those groups are vital to move forward. Choose carefully where you purchase your products, and let your voice be heard!