A disturbing incident caught on video in Charlotte, NC last week has sparked outrage and opened up a dialogue about the presence of Korean beauty shops in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
In the graphic video, a young woman at the Missha Beauty supply store was cornered by manager Sung Ho Lim and another employee. Accused of stealing, she can be heard giving them permission to look inside her purse for the false eyelashes they claim she took.
The argument turns physical when the accused patron pushes Lim away before he kicks her, pushes her to the floor, strangles her and twists her arm.
“Get off of me, I’m not stealing,” she yells while Lim’s body is being used to keep her down. “You checked my purse. Get off me… You’re choking me! I’m not going no where! You’re choking me!”
According to WBTV, Lim —who was fired after the video surfaced— has not been charged and police say the woman “has not been identified or arrested.” Legally, Lim was allowed to detain the woman and wait for the police, but not with physical force.
“You cannot take police matters in your own hands,” civil rights activist John C. Barnett told the local news outlet. “You can’t act like the police. Whatever the case may be, we know he cannot be keeping someone in a choke hold, stealing or not.”
The video has sparked a conversation about how Korean shop owners treat Black people and their monopoly over the beauty supply industry.
As Essence.com reported in 2016, although Black women are the main consumers, the majority of beauty supply stores in the United States are owned by Korean immigrants who have dominated the ethnic hair care market for years. Since the 1970s, Korean immigrants have had a monopoly in the beauty supply sector due to their close ties to hair suppliers and wholesalers based in South Korea.
With this recent incident, the tide through the dollar, may very well change.