Having gorgeous nails is a long-standing tradition in the world of Black beauty. From the long, decorative digits of Coko of SWV to those of the late track star Flo Jo, they have been a major part of our look. Yet we’ve paid a higher price than our White counterparts for them.
For example, nail salons and beauty supply stores in Black neighborhoods are typically owned by Asians and these establishments have a history of criminalizing their Black patrons. Many of us are all too familiar with being followed around our local beauty supply stores under suspicion of stealing or being accused of shortchanging nail technicians or being harassed for not tipping them enough.
With the use of social media, these experiences are becoming more evident to the public. Many people now record incidents of discrimination, some of which have resulted in physical violence. The most recent episode occurred in Brooklyn, where Asian nail salon workers used broomsticks, dustpans and their hands to attack two Black patrons who refused to pay for a poorly executed eyebrow wax.
The contentious relationship between Blacks and Asians at Asian-owned beauty establishments is nothing new. The response to this issue has always been that we should form our own businesses. And fortunately, some Black women heard the call and started nail polish companies. It may take years to build trust and respect between these communities, but in the interim, we can reclaim some of our coins by buying products by our beauty entrepreneurs. Click through these pages for some need-to-know brands!