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These past few years, I have been so happy seeing so many different black businesses flourishing. Last year especially, in light of the social injustice issues concerning black people in America being given a spotlight in a way they previously had not been. As for myself, I have always imagined becoming an entrepreneur of sorts but have never actually seen those in my community thrive as much as their white counterparts do. 

This is for various discriminatory obstacles like the lack of advanced education available for African Americans, being rejected for loans, nepotism, and more. According to information released by the Federal Reserve, more than half of black owned firms are rejected for loans at twice the rate of white businesses. In fact, black business owners are denied for loans more than any other race in the United States regardless of their credit scores. Imagine not being able to get a loan to start the business you’ve dreamt of and not knowing enough people in order to raise money to start up. Very big obstacles. 

For the longest time, businesses just catered to more caucasian needs. Here are five areas that businesses often lacked when it came to black consumers. These are areas that black businesses are now trying to provide for the community. 

Hair 

Black hair is significantly different from a lot of other races. For the longest time, there haven’t been many products that catered specifically to our hair types. Stores like Walmart, CVS, and wherever you’d find shampoo, conditioner, and other products often just had brands like Patene or Aussie which at the time only worked for those with a certain hair type (a straighter hair type). Certain things we use to protect our hair like bonnets and dorags were (and still are) viewed as ‘ghetto’ and could only be found in beauty supply stores. 

Make Up 

The revolution of makeup companies now taking into consideration the different types of brown skin tones is amazing. When I went to the store in the past they only had maybe 4 different brown skin foundations or concealers versus the 20 lighter foundations offered. Now there are rows of differing foundations. 

Clothes 

I have always had a difficult time finding clothes. I was taking an ethnic multi cultural marketing class and my professor asked how many of us (black students) had difficulty finding clothes that fit us properly. Nearly every one of us (who were paying attention) raised our hands. He explained that when clothes were being made they were catered towards the majority. The entire class proceeded to have a discussion about this. 

Our genetic makeup is different and so it makes sense that our body types would vary. I recently bought and returned 3 different pairs of sweatpants from Walmart (my first mistake, I know). I tried on the L and the XL and none of them fit despite me going to XL. They wouldn’t come past my hips. 

Food 

Food is often prepared differently depending on your culture. More and more black businesses are opening up shops catered towards our differing cultural taste buds. 

Overall Representation

Black businesses strive to show representation of our community within their advertisements, commercials, etc. Most of the representation I saw in the past only included those with straight hair or light skin. Now we’re seeing more marketing with varying kinds of black people and it honestly makes me beyond happy. 

Now that more and more black businesses are opening up and catering to specific needs, it’s bringing attention to the fact that companies have been leaving a demographic out when coming up with products and services. A lot of them are now trying to rush to catch up and be more affluent or knowledgeable about that demographic so they can market and push products towards them. That doesn’t mean we should forget about the small businesses who still need to make a profit as well. 

I want to point out that, just because it’s a black owned business, collegiettes, doesn’t mean it only caters to black people. Most companies, depending on what they’re selling and whether or not it has to do with culture, are happy to sell their products or services to every demographic. 

Happy shopping!

Zeairah Webb

George Mason University '22

Zeairah is a senior at George Mason University. She spends most of her time reading, doing homework, and watching Netflix. Her favorite color is yellow and her favorite animals are dogs. She is double majoring in marketing and management with a minor in journalism with hopes of one day studying intellectual property law. She aspires to be many things such as a legal consultant/attorney, a creative director for Disney, or a travel/lifestyle writer for a magazine.
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