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daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news. However, time has taught me that the good ol’ days soon turn into memories. I don’t recall a specific incident in my life that made me aware of my place as a Black woman in the world. I’ve never been called a nigger (at least to my face), wrongfully arrested or asked to straighten my natural hair in the workplace. I grew up in a loving home, where my Black father and White mother always made me feel comfortable in my skin. And my upbringing was hardly sheltered, as I’ve empathized and understood the plight of those who haven’t been as fortunate as me. In hindsight, I’ve realized it’s microagressions that continue to shape my view of the world and my place in it. I’m hyper aware of the way my body tenses up when a white person asks to touch my hair, or when someone apologizes to me for the election of Donald Trump. And perhaps more than anything else: I find myself uncomfortable in places that are supposed to be safe and familiar for women of color, like the beauty supply store. Oh, the irony. Being followed around a beauty supply store is the equivalent of a pastor tapping a congregant’s shoulder and telling them the altar isn’t open. It’s happened to me plenty of times and left me confused and a little helpless. Admittedly, it isn’t something I’ve discussed out loud because my inner critic always says “it isn’t that big of a deal.” But if 2017 has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not crazy. The act of violence on Black bodies isn’t exclusive to protests or prison cells. We’re under attack in the most unsuspecting places and forced to continuously reexamine where and how we can simply live without having to always look over our shoulder. Seeing a wrongfully accused Black woman viciously attacked by a beauty supply owner is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our contentious relationship with the hair supply conglomerate. [brightcove:5363317189001 default] Thanks to a stronghold on export laws and wholesale hair goods, Asians have monopolized the beauty supply industry for half a century, making it difficult for Black-owned chains to flourish in an industry that’s sustained by their dedicated spending dollars. When it feels impossible to get a piece of the corporate pie or to avoid unnecessary conflict within these spaces, what’s left to do? For me, the obvious solution is to emulate the same formula adopted by Korean business owners—feeding hard earned money back into our own communities. According to Black Enterprise, African Americans own less than 1% of the beauty supply market share, despite purchasing nine times more beauty grooming products than any other ethnic group. And with every over-the-shoulder stare and violent incident, I’m realizing that it makes little sense for me to continue spending in these places; especially when there are other options. As a Black woman, I’ve realized that going above and beyond is sometimes the only way to get a point across. I couldn’t have predicted the beauty supply store as a place where that mentality would be tested, but if the movie Get Out taught me anything, it’s that the “sunken place” can exist pretty much anywhere. I hate that it took one woman’s heartbreaking experience for me to reevaluate where my spending money goes, but this lightbulb moment certainly won’t go to waste. If you’re also interested in supported Black-owned beauty supply stores, check out Black Wall Street’s comprehensive list here.