Why are hair products being locked up? Lately, if you have not noticed at your local Walmart, hair products can only be accessed by staff with a key. But not all hair products are being locked up, only hair products catered for curly hair. All other products and brands are untouched, but black-owned brands Miss Jessie’s and The Mane Choice are being locked in cases. This has sparked a question in the beauty community, why are curly hair products being locked up?
One of the first incidents documented on this was by a black woman named Essie Grundy from southern California. She was looking into buying some combs, only to find them locked in a cabinet. Essie then filed a lawsuit against Walmart, claiming racial discrimination. Grundy proceeded to go on Twitter to post about her experience. This started an outrage amongst Walmart shoppers. Walmart has then spoken out against these accusations, stating they “do not tolerate discrimination of any kind;” and that these decisions are made on a “store-by-store basis.” Another Walmart representative stated that products that are locked up due to high theft issues; and that it has nothing to do with race or the products’ targeted audience.
Profiling Black people at stores has become a trend across the country. Black people are one of the highest spending group of beauty the beauty industry, if African-Americans had their own country their yearly spending would fall right behind Mexico and in front of Spain. So why are we beginning profiled as “thieves” or “criminals”, why are we followed through stores and provided extra monitoring, why are our hair products being locked up in black dominated communities? These are all acts of racial profiling and discrimination disguised under the notion of “data-driven studies” to prevent theft. It’s ridiculous the fact that it is 2018 and we still are looked at as nothing more than “thieves” who can’t afford walmart priced hair products. There are plenty of other products that cost more and are easier to steal in these stores that are targeted to the masses instead of a long time oppressed demographic.
People in the African-American community are racially profiled on a day to day basis; whether it’s being pulled over by cops without probable cause, being mistaken for other people of color or people assuming your class in saying things like “this product is pretty expensive” or “oh this might be out of you price range.” It is bad enough that we have to be on edge any time a police officer comes near us. Going into a beauty store and being followed feels like going into your own home and having someone say “you don’t live.”