In the sixties, I was a part of a group of professional barbers called “The Magnifi cent Brothers.” Now, I am part of a group of Black writers called Black Writers On Tour; a member of National Newspaper Publishers; as well as California Black Publishers. All of these are trade organizations were developed to assist Blacks in businesses. Magnifi cent Brothers was started to professionalize Black barbers.
Magnificent Brothers had approximately six hair styling salons specializing in naturals, or Afros. We had a booming business, with customers ranging from Muhammad Ali to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, men, women and everything in between. We developed hair care products, like hair softeners, hair sheens and hair sprays to hold your hair in place.
I was reminded of these feel good activities when I watched a television production of “Iyanyla Vanzant’s Fix My Life“. The show featured a group of ladies who named themselves “Six Brown Chicks.” I remembered going to a meeting where Congresswoman Maxine Waters convened a group of Black women to a “Black Women’s Forum.” Powerful, is all I can say about the group. I think we need another Black Women’s forum and a Black Men’s forum. I note that Pasadena once had a Black Male Forum in the past, which also needs to be revisited since the problems have not yet been solved. It seems to me that these organizations were a sort of an Underground Railroad, fighting the good fight toward progress
The New Tri-State Defender in Memphis, TN hosts an annual event called, “Best In Black.” They highlight the services of local Black business and organizations, and honor them in numerous “Best of” categories. I’ve listed some of them here, as well as others which may be considered: Best Artist, Attorney, Author, Local Bank, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Credit Union, Makeup Artist, Nail Technician, Event/Party Planner, Mobile Detail Car Wash, Fraternity, Sorority, High School, Barbeque, Church Choir, Clothing Boutique, Community Choir, Doctor, Dentist, Female Solo Artist, Male Solo Artist, Local Television Personality, Local Radio Personality, Local Comedian, Local Actor, Local Actress, Event DJ, Non Profi t, Fitness Trainer, Social Media Infl uencer, Soul Food Restaurant, YouTube Personality, Real Estate Agency/Real Estate Agent and Sports Program.
As I watched the recent Pasadena Black History Parade, it struck me that we have dance clubs, church groups and many non-profi t organizations, but I saw no active Black business groups. So, let’s get one going, or should I say, “Let’s at least revive the ones we have or had.”