February is always a reminder to me that it’s time to celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing & celebrating the role of blacks in US history. Since good old 1976, every United States president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Even so, other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. The story of Black History Month began in 1915, about half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery in the US of A!
Since 1976, every single American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme – which I personally love. The Black History Month 2018 theme is focused on “African Americans in Times of War,” which denotes the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I (wow it’s been a long time) and honors the roles that black Americans have played in the war. So while I’m not a historian nor do I know a whole lot about history (my poobear reads history books every night while I’m reading some insane serial killer book), we thought Cheeky’s theme this month could be to celebrate black-owned skincare brands. Cheeky can have a theme too right!? Any excuse to celebrate beautiful people & their amazing achievements!
Without bringing too much of my own agenda into this post, I would encourage you to donate to UNICEF this month to support the #StopEbola movement as that is something I hold near and dear to my heart. My poobear was deployed to west Africa when the ebola crisis broke out & he was responsible for bettering the communication between US aid & other counterparts to get direct help to those in need. I often think about his role to this day & how much he indirectly helped those poor people. This was one of his most rewarding deployments & he said, ‘They are the nicest people he has ever met who have nothing & would give you the shoes off your feet to help you’. Cheeky Complexion has made a donation. Thank you for listening!
After this post was published, one of our favorite Cheeky’s wrote in, Erin, suggesting that we highlight two very influential black women in the cosmetics business. One woman being Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first female self-made millionaire who truly represents all that is possible. Ms. Walker was originally enslaved before the end of the Civil War, but against all odds, she fought back! She eventually moved to St. Louis to be with her brothers who were established barbers. It was then that she began to develop scalp issues. She and her brothers began testing homemade remedies and eventually established her hair care business, Madam C.J. Walker where she traveled for years, going door to door selling her products, demonstrating scalp remedies to schools & churches. By early 1910, she had settled in Indianapolis, then the nation’s largest inland manufacturing center, where she built a factory, hair and manicure salon and another training school. She continued to build her business & become involved in a number of great opportunities, like the NAACP. Ms. Walker has since passed but her legacy remains! You can still buy Madam C.J. Walker haircare products to this day, online & even at major retailers like Sephora.
Another influential woman, Annie Tumbo Malone actually worked with Ms. Walker during their humble beginnings (Ms. Walker was an employee of hers). Ms. Malone was born in Illinois where she was later orphaned after both her parents died. Her older sister had raised her & helped her make it to high school despite the rough challenges that they all faced. Though she was hard working & motivated, Annie often was very sick during her high school years which didn’t allow her to graduate, but when she could attend classes, Chemistry was often her favorite. Shortly thereafter, Annie discovered that she could mix her love with chemistry & her love of hair care into one & that is how she developed her own hair care brand! Like Ms. Walker, Annie often had to go door-to-door to sell her products because blacks were denied regular outlets to channels to help them be even more successful. Despite numerous setbacks, she fought through and became a self-made millionaire who not only opened schools & hair salons, but also donated back to the community.
These two women are often credited to making the black hair care industry possible! Thank you Erin for sending us these two women to research. We are so humbled by their stories & are honored to be apart of their legacy here on Cheeky.
Let’s dive into some of the best black-owned skincare brands on the market!
There were countless others but these stuck out to me the most!
images supplied by their respective brands
‘People often say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.’
– SALMA HAYEK