The story of The Human Of Color is really the story of who I am today. I have put all of my being into these products - mentally, emotionally, and physically. They are a reflection of my journey and the message of strength that I have grown to embody and want to pass on to everyone who has felt the way that I did.
When I was 22 I made the decision to go natural with my hair. It wasn’t an easy choice and I was afraid, but I knew in my heart it was what I wanted to do. I thought to myself, “I’m going to do this. No more hiding. This is who I am as a woman, this is what I want the world to see.” I was completely unprepared for the significance this decision would have on me and my self esteem.
I felt an embarrassment unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I felt like the ugliest person on the planet. I couldn’t believe the shock and sadness that had overcome me. What I saw in the mirror was the picture of everything society and the world defined as the opposite of beauty. I looked at myself and in that moment I truly believed that no man could love me as I was.
I cried. I cried for hours. I was inconsolable. I called my parents but even then I couldn’t find relief. I tried to talk to my mom but the hurt I felt inside was too great. I told her, “you don’t understand, you’re married, you’ve already found love, you don’t know this pain. That was when everything changed.
My father came to me then and took me in his arms. He held me and told me of the beauty he saw in me. He told me of the love he felt for me and how it had never been tied to how I looked or the style of my hair. He loved me because of who I am and he saw the beauty in me no matter what. This experience is the root of my determination to help other black women and men to find the beauty in themselves that my dad showed to me.
I believe this defines the relationship between black men and women. I want a black man to love me the way my daddy did in that moment. Society has this image of beauty as the perfect white woman ingrained into our heads. On television, in movies, in advertising, music, the picture of the white woman has always been held up as the standard of what is beautiful today. Long straight hair or a luscious blonde weave.
If my daddy can love me at my natural self, why couldn’t another man? If this is how I’m feeling at 22, imagine what other little black girls are feeling at school age. They just want to be themselves, to wear their hair natural and feel pretty. I knew that the pain I felt as an adult was being felt all over the world by children and others just like me.
So I set out to create The Human Of Color LLC
My Big Chop, Day 1
Everything about The Human Of Color comes from me. I don’t import anything and I don’t leave anything to chance. From the size, shape, and color of the packages, to the labels, the imagery, mixing the product and filling the bottles, the marketing, the sales, the web design. It's all me. My heart and soul, my sweat and tears and frustration and determination, it’s all in these bottles.
When you hold a bottle of The Human Of Color product, you’re holding something that I physically made, from start to finish. My goal is to support the black community and to provide us with something we know is really ours. I don’t spend the hours mixing these creams and washes and filling the bottles to become a millionaire - I do it because I love my hair, I love who I am, and I want everyone who looks like me to feel that same love.
I want to build something my kids can be proud of. I want them to be able to look at these products and this brand and know that mommy built it for them. When I’m in the kitchen mixing up my next batch I’m not thinking about what the hottest hair trend is or how I’m going to get rich. I see a need for healthy hair and an entire community that isn’t understood by the industry and I’m thinking about how can I serve them.
I created these products because hair is our expression. It’s part of who we are, it’s the culture. There is so much diversity and creativity in black hair. We change it for the occasion, we change it to match our feelings, we show off who we are with our hair.
I thought if there is true beauty and power in black hair, then why can’t I find anything that works for me? Why am I using all these products that claim to be for me but aren’t made or controlled or designed by anyone that looks like me? How do these brands know what my hair needs? Not all hair is the same or has the same needs and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that a certain woman’s product is going to serve the needs of my hair.
So I was determined to do it myself. I began to research. I spent a year and half learning about all of the products that I used and the benefits that I wanted that they were supposed to deliver. I knew the most important things for my hair, the reasons I was using these products, were growth, shine, and moisture.
I was using up to 7 products every day to achieve these things! It would take me hours to do my hair and it was exhausting. I knew there had to be a better way and I was done trusting other companies to take care of me. I turned my study and my research towards the natural ingredients that my hair needed. If I was going to do this I knew I had to do it myself.