I take pride in what I do. I’m not perfect by any means, but I know I go hard and I get it in. I started this process with the intention of it being a business, so with all do respect to the hobby bloggers out there, I’m working. I enjoy going to events and mingling like the next person. Nevertheless, when I get home, a mission is in front of me that must be completed. I set my deadlines, I make my contacts, I take my photos, I edit my videos, I travel, I network, I run the GaptoothDiva show. I am not made out of a team of besties that love the limelight. I am one woman, one camera, and a plethora of words thoughts and ideas. I put sweat into this. I grind until carpel tunnel seems close to arriving in my wrist and I’ll walk five miles in heels, if it meant an inspiring story. Team no sleep, was my life years before twitter. I do this!
Therefore, when basic women attempt to make assumptions about me, as if I’m thirsty for their attention… it’s a little more than disrespectful. I’m polite, I’m courteous, and I’m considerate. I never put people on blast, despite many of you needing it. I never acknowledge nor promote negativity or scandal, although I’ve been provoked a time or two. I’m altering my lifestyle to accept more positive in my life for my family, and myself but right now, I feel the need to explain that. So why would people assume that I’m anything but that type of person, is beyond me. The tattoos, the hair color, and the outfits are all extensions of my personality but they do not define the type of woman or entrepreneur I am. I will not allow someone to tell me what my brand is to him or her, when his or her brand is just a carbon copy of someone else’s. I’m original and my works speaks for itself. Period.
Now, the truth is I love natural hair. I appreciate the styles, the beauty, and the confidence held by so many women who wear it. I relish in the intricate details it possesses and the cultural significance behind it. I think all types of hair are beautiful, not just curly large afros on women with light complexions. I think nappy TWA are gorgeous, I love a kinky Mohawk or a barely there fade or baldy. I love natural hair! Because of its extreme popularity as of late, it’s easier for me to express that and myself, to say I don’t want a weave anymore. It’s not a trend for me; it was a certified lifestyle change. Therefore, when a woman asked me on Saturday, how I got this curl pattern, I said bluntly, “God gave it to me!” I’m no product junkie. If my hair does a weird kinky curl, that’s what I consider natural hair. I’m not going crazy for the latest Miss Jackie, Miss Jessie, and Curly gel/mouse/pomade, whatever. I wash and go. That’s who I am.
I understand the need to venture on a business that is hot right now. I get making money on the latest trends and promoting the popular thing. What I don’t agree with is making something positive, into a clique. I won’t stand behind someone who will literally ostracize people that they can’t profit off of or make into a minion who is thirsty to be included.
My kids can’t eat your natural hair product samples. I can’t feed my family your FREE swag bags. I can’t pay my electric, gas, or rent with free tickets to your events. My work should be compensated. Unless, I indicated otherwise.
If you charge X amount of dollars for an event, then enlist ten people to market and promote your event (bloggers) to their audience of, let’s say one hundred people. That is ten times one hundred people (1,000 people) that you are marketing to with little to no effort, on a regular basis. Now let’s say that you charge $15 to get into your event. Now because of your bloggers (online marketers), 1,000 people show up to your event. That’s a total of $15, 000 made at the door. That doesn’t include the free stuff from sponsors, the rate you charge for vendors to sell at your event, which ranges from $100 to $500 a table. That also doesn’t include advertisers’ on your programs, etc. So out of $15, 000 made off of your online marketers, you only offer a swag bag (which everyone gets by paying the admission fee and attending anyway) and a discount on tickets to your bloggers/vloggers? Can somebody help me make sense of this? How can these individuals write a thorough review, without attending the event? Are you suggesting that your media, SEO, and marketing providers pay to go to work? I’m not suggesting that they all are paid, some people may be doing it as a hobby and just enjoy being among the people. Nevertheless, there are people who are doing it as a business. Therefore, cannot be compensated for their time energy, videos, blogs, articles, pictures, etc. in the form of shampoo and olive oil.
Now let’s pretend that you offered your bloggers/vloggers a stipend of $25. That’s 10 people being paid, which a mere $250 is coming out of $15, 000. Where I come from, that’s not a dent at all in your profits. It just goes to show that people will pay you in free stuff before they pay you for real. The free tickets and the swag bag are necessary for an adequate review, but the gas spent to get there, the batteries on your laptop, camera, and cell phone, the software used to edit, blog, and market, they are all business expenses that isn’t covered by free curly soufflé and Shea butter. I’m just being honest. Therefore, although it’s cool to be among the community of natural hair enthusiast and people who want to support and promote natural beauty, if it comes down to me being hustled. I rather not, thank you very much.
I will continue to promote positive things in the community and support beauty, fashion and culture in my own way. However, what you will see more of will be me advocating for the rights of people that may not fully understand that no matter where you are in the process, get all the facts. You may want to make a name for yourself and build up your credibility. You may just want to go to events and support on your own dime, I still do every now and then. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t just accept everything that is told to you and you should always value your time and efforts. People will claim to build you up and give you opportunities, but just like they are reading this post right now (thinking of ways to counteract the truth), do your own research. Don’t get paid in hair products. You’re worth more than that.
Love and awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
- GaptoothDiva TV: My One Year Natural Hair Journey (gaptoothdiva.com)
- For My on the Fence Natural Sistas! (blaqlife.wordpress.com)
- Confession (I Hate My Curls) (exoticroots.wordpress.com)
- My Family Is Having Trouble Accepting My Natural Hair (clutchmagonline.com)
- Black women encouraged to grow an afro (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- Pictures from the KinkyCurlyCoilyMe Event #KCCMCurlFriends (lololi740.wordpress.com)
- Janelle Monáe Teaches Us A Lesson In Hat Hair (huffingtonpost.com)
- Naturalista. Fashionista. Artist. Meet Danni! (tobnatural.wordpress.com)
- African-American women embracing natural hair (kansascity.com)
- Grow & Glow Your Natural Hair Workshop & Hair Styling Hosted By ChrissiJ (inspiranista.com)