Upon hearing that Carol’s Daughter was sold to L’oreal USA, I was full of mixed emotions. I was both happy and sad. It’s hard to reconcile my feelings without fully understanding the dreams and admirations of Carol’s daughter both when she started the company and what she desires now.
Sure, since BeanSoupTimes.com is such an advocate for Black businesses, I know you expect me to blast her for being the latest in a long line of “sold out” Black-owned businesses, but it’s not that simple. For example, people criticized Robert Johnson of BET for selling to Viacom, but is our community any better or worse off by the switch in ownership? He’s still rich and outside of airing the Million Man March live in 1995 and the occasional news shows what else did BET do?
BET helped shaped a warped view of the Black community that other ethnicities, countries and impressionable youth adopted as reality. The cable company thus helped create and reinforce stereotypes that Johnson, politicians and major corporations capitalized off of. So, a Black-owned company, with a exploitative mentality is as acceptable as a Black police offer racially profiling Black youth. No sir! No ma’am!
Our community needs Black businesses owned by people who love the Black people especially if the product or service services Black people. I know people attack other legitimate Black businesses that sell out. For example, people were concerned when Soft Sheen Products, Inc. sold out (ironically or not so much) to L’Oreal several years ago in July 1998.
Sacrebleu, the French are selling Black people the Care Free Curl on no less than four continents.
Almost daily, I see the building, in the heart of the Black community, that housed Soft Sheen headquarters. It’s been empty for years and many jobs were lost when the company was sold. Now, it’s always a possibility that jobs and other opportunities could be lost when any company acquires another, but it strikes at an emotional heart string because of the history of racism and white supremacy when it’s a white ( in this case, French-owned) company buying a Black, American-based one.
Listen, to be objective, job loss is always a threat to any company and it’s workers and history has shown Black-owned companies that didn’t sell out, but just went away and thus jobs were lost. But here’s the other side of the coin.
What does a successful Black owner do when they have taken the company as far as they can and they don’t have children to pass the company on to?
We don’t have many venture capitalist and entrepreneurs with the savvy to acquire and grow already strong brands. The dilemma that Black businesses have. Sometimes, selling out is not just the best choice, but the only choice.
I hear you, but I disagree. Oprah should not have to buy every Black business for sale. I don’t blame Carol’s Daughter for selling, but I blame the Black community collectively for not producing more companies that could have been in a position to purchase the beauty company.
Thus, I’ll keep teetering between a storm of emotions and offer both gratulations and condolences to Lisa Price, the (former) owner of the line of beauty products that so many have come to love, appreciate and purchase.