Admittedly, Mented Cosmetics, For Harriet, Meld, and TGIN hair care line, have established themselves as pillars of black commerce. For Harriet maintains its placement as a pillar in black female media, providing analysis, enlightenment, and opinions anchored in the black female perspective. Meld functions as an online dating site particularly anchored in producing black love. TGIN occupies a prominent place in black hair care, offering a series of fragrant and functional products for the black mane. Mented Cosmetics, the newest of the bunch, offers nude lipstick to the brown beauty. However, what many of their consumers do not know is that all these businesses are commonly owned and operated by black graduates of Harvard– which is regarded as the most elite institution in the west by agents of white supremacy.
Before I continue, I want to state that as a proud patron of black businesses. I am quite proud of the presence of the black female business woman. With this said, this recurring instance of the Harvard groomed black who becomes a business owner does provide cause for contemplation.
When the Meld platform first became available, I downloaded it and created a profile. I was instantly tuned off upon signing in and see a white man–but to addd insult to injury, this white man donned a dashiki in his default image. This violent display seemed like yet another case of whites seeking to occupy every space possible. In examining the platform in its entirety, however, what appears to be a a site to foment black love, is actually a white man in a dashiki–or a white initiative veiled in a black exterior.
The Harvard graduate owner of black business issues a symbolic profit to whites, in which a white institution obtains the bragging rights to what is seemingly black excellence.
The reality that these black businesswomen were groomed at a white institution also highlights an important potential of the black business person—to become a face, a functioning component of capitalistic corruption. Thus, these efforts seem a means to create capital for white economy rather than build black commerce.
These businesses show that our efforts as a people need not be rooted in making money—-buy creating a black marketplace. Moreover, in examining these businesses it becomes imperative to distinguish between a black business and business run by people who happen to be black. Black businesses seek to aid the community, and employ the community—businesses run by those who happen to be black solely function to aid the business owner in mimicking his master’s quest for capital, and the master’s quest to propertise black bodies, reverting humans into commerce or perhaps suggesting that black bodies never emerged from economic status in the eyes of their oppressors.
Many of these businesses birthed from the Harvard Graduates emerged during the Obama era of pseudo “hope”—Obama of course being another Harvard graduate marketed as a savior for the black race. He emerged as a means to pacify black needs for symbolism while veiling continued acts of white evil behind a black face. In recalling the poison of the Obama symbolism, it is hard not to see these businesses as created in a similar image.
Conversely, I acknowledge that feelings of displacement in an institution may offset nationalistic or even pro-black feelings with urgency. But it seems remiss to ignore the reality that the ivy league does not admit black bodies to uplift the black community. If Harvard had known Dubois or Derrick Bell would produce the contribution that they did to black people, I am sure that their entry would have been denied. Clarence Thomas, on the other hand, is a pristine example of the ideal product of the Ivy League– a black veil of white intention.
So while it is a source of pride to support these businesses, each serves as a means to remind us as a collective that we must groom our own establishments. If a business is not groomed for blacks by blacks, then the seemingly black business functions as a means to capitalize on blackness, not service black people. Therefore, what could still very well be a space for products seeking to solve issues pertinent to the black community, seems a chocolate veiled, Ivy-league intervention into black space.
Black Power ❤