Monday, October 05, 2009

A New Economy for Urban Michigan: Building A Hair Dynasty by Akindele Akinyemi

In the City of Detroit you will find almost on every corner a hair and cosmetics business. The major problem is most of these stores are not owned and operated by people of color but our Asian counterparts. Now I do not have a problem with diversity, however, I often ask myself would Asian support a Chinese buffet owned and operated by blacks in an Asian community? The answer to that is no. So why do we allow people to come in and control 90% of the economy in our community?

According to Target Market News blacks spend over $18 billion annually on hair care products. Black women use five times more hair products than their white counterparts and spend close to $23 billion annually on hair and beauty supplies.

This opens the door to a new economy in areas like Detroit called hair manufacturing and distribution.

The purpose of this is to help existing black producers who already produce black hair products. One generation after blacks fought in the civil rights movement whites and Asians took control of the nation's black hair care and beauty supply businesses. Today, they own 82% of Black hair care and beauty supply dollars. Asians have built a monopoly because of the wig industry from China, to the manufacturing of hair and beauty products and now have manicure and pedicure booths and stores in urban areas across the country. These types of monopolies aimed at black people in America helps produce wealth, income, and recession-proof jobs for Asians.

One can look into history to see how Madame C.J. Walker developed and dominated the black hair care and beauty industry that helped generate income and wealth for people of color. Because blacks never developed a true distribution system others were able to squeeze out those black producers who could not buy them out.

In a silver rights era we must open the doors of competition in urban areas to help develop new economies to keep a certain level of sustainability in urban communities. We often look to government to give us our fare share of revenue sharing when people right here in Detroit can produce revenue sharing by building hair distribution systems to (1) keep competition going against stores like Lee Beauty Supply and (2) reduce the unemployment rate by hiring people who are qualified for the job.

One thing that I keep on telling people is that the city needs to reproduce what is recession proof. Barber shops and beauty salons are recession proof jobs that can be strengthened by connecting the products they use in their shops with both production and distribution companies right here in the City of Detroit. We have to be in the business of building careers not building hustlers on the side. Detroit is engaged in a hustling mentality and we must convert this into building careers and wealth.

Once again, urban conservatives need to reach out to the hidden constituency called the Diaspora. This is something we must not ignore. We have a number of Africans who reside here in Metro Detroit who have a unlimited number of braid shops and lockticians. These women help generate wealth and in many cases send money back home to places like Senegal and Ghana. Building bridges with this group can also turn a domestic revenue generator into an international market by building distribution centers in both Detroit and Senegal.

When we marry education with silver rights we will not have to rely on Lansing to give us our fare share of revenue sharing or cut jobs. We will be in a position to produce a legacy.


Anonymous said...

I hear Ya and I hope to do something about it.

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