I think probably the worst subject I ever took in school was Statistics. I hated everything about it, and what made it worse was that no matter what level of education I made it to, I always had that class and it was always mandatory.
Even though I hated stats, as I affectionately called it, I understood why it was necessary and I understood the premise behind all the drama of Standard Deviation. The thing is, the way our brain works is that we need to prove that a phenomenon exists by using variables and techniques to justify it.
So if you ask me, ‘Is hair important to black women?‘, my answer would be a firm yes. And if you asked me to prove it, well for that I would have to go to the stats.
Firstly it is well documented that the hair industry in general is a multi-billion dollar industry, and of that figure 30% to 34% of the spending is done by African American women. Yes girl, they been watching you and your pockets!
There are a ton of other statistics like, 65% of the weave industry is captured by African American women and also research done in the UK shows that black women spend up to 6 times as much on hair products than their European counterparts.
Now obviously black women are not the only ones who shop at Sallys (have they ever seen a loss?), and we are definitely not the only ones who think hair is important, people of all ethnicities as far back as recorded history will allow us to look have been obsessed with hair. Much like the acclaimed pop princess Brittany Spears and “miss popular” turned reality mogul Kim Kardashian, the ancient Greeks, Syrians and Egyptians also wore wigs* and hair embellishments.
Need more stats? Lets use YouTube for instance, Naptural85 a very popular hair guru has over 200,000 subscribers, and even though she has a beaming personality, let’s face it, that’s not why majority of them are watching her channel. There are over 200,000 people out there that wait for her next hair tutorial to hit their inbox, and she is just one of many. So yes, hair is very important to black women, the question is why?
There really isn’t one answer, but a pretty good reason is culture. African American hair has always been revered in many ways prior to slavery and before ‘good hair’ was considered a tell tale sign for your professional status i.e. where on the plantation you lived, the type of food you must eat and how pretty you must be because you have a bit of European blood running through your veins.