By Jean Gasho
It was Africa day last Thursday, and I celebrated this day with every fiber of my being. I feel privileged to have been born in this generation as a black woman. A lot of women born generations before me were not so blessed. They were raped for being black. Beaten for being black. Stripped naked and humiliated for being black. But here I stand today, enjoying the freedom that brave black women suffered for.
My heart is still grieved, even though we celebrate Africa day with pride, it still remains the poorest continent on the planet, yet it has gold, diamonds and all the valuable natural resources in abundance. As I dressed my children up, teaching them about the richness and beauty of mother Africa, there was something in me that felt like I had to tell them the truth. Why is Africa so poor? Why are black people engulfed in poverty?’
I believe the poverty of Africa or black people has nothing to do with white people, or slavery, especially today. I think there is something seriously wrong with the black man, especially his mind. And that is what keeps the black man poor.
Last Saturday I went to buy coconut oil for my dread locks. As I stood in the hair shop, I looked around me. There was about 20 people in the shop, all black of course. Two were men, the rest were women. I looked at the woman at the till, the owner of the shop, she was Asian
My eyes met with hers, and she smiled at me. I smiled back, then I thought, ‘Gosh, she must be laughing at us really…’
I felt like an idiot standing in that queue. I was embarrassed for myself and for every black person in that Asian owned hair shop.
All of us, standing in a queue like some mind controlled zombies, waiting to be sold our own hair products for our own hair by a totally different race.
Imagine if all tanning salons in the UK were own by black people? Imagine if all corner shops for Asian foods were owned by Africans? Imagine if all Chinese restaurants where owned by Americans? Does it even make any sense?
The black hair care industry is currently estimated to be worth over 600 billion. And us black people, the consumers seem to have no share in the fortune that we generate.
‘Why do Asians own most of the black hair-care industry? They are the ones who are making billions from selling us our own hair products?
Come on black women, we are always being mocked about our hair and what we do with it? We are laughed at for wearing weaves, yet we can’t even make millions from this industry, which belongs to us.
Why on earth do we ask for advice on our own hair from Asian men? Is this not disgraceful and beyond pathetic?
‘Our hair is our crown, it is our culture and our identity. So why does another race have ownership of this industry?’
What is wrong with us black people? Are we not fools?
Why is it that when a black person owns a hair shop, we find it difficult to support them? If an Asian opens a hair shop, all black women flock there like flies. We watch the Asians buy mansions and leave inheritance for their children, admiring them for their unity and how they stand out and prosper in the UK, yet it is us who are also making them millionaires through our stupidity. No wonder why Jamelia wants white people to make black dolls for us, anything to give our wealth to other races.
We are being robbed of our own industry in broad daylight. Actually its not even robbery, we are happy to freely hand over our own fortune to other races. And we wonder why black people and Africa are in so much poverty?
This is why I believe we are to blame for slavery. Did we not freely call the white man to sell our brothers into slavery?
We love to complain about racism and discrimination, but when it comes to things which really matter we act like fools. All we know is forming pointless groups like Black Lives Matter, whilst we are constantly handing over our wealth and talent to other races. Other races have power over us because they know something we don’t, and that something is unity.
There is power in numbers. We are like sand, yet we refuse to stand together in things that really matter. It’s about time we take ownership of our own wealth. Why do we feel jealous to see another black person prosper? If one of our own prospers, we all prosper.
When I think of African warrior Queens like Yaa Asantewaa, Carlota Lukumí and Mbuya Nehanda who fought with their lives for the freedom of the black woman and men, I can’t help but wonder if this is all they fought for, for us to continue to be mental slaves to other races . Women like Harriet Tubman should inspire us to think better. Maya Angelou, all her written work, what was it all for if we can’t even do simple things like have ownership of our own hair care industry?
I don’t know about every other black woman in the UK, but I, Jean Gasho, refuse to be a slave to the Asian community when it comes to products of my own hair. I will never again give my penny to an Asian owned hair shop. If it means I have to travel to buy my hair products from a fellow black person, I will.