By Ryan Velez
It’s been a commonly held idea in the Black community for a long time that Black culture has been a long-time influence on mainstream culture but rarely gets its due. Now, Blavity reports that we are starting to get some modern backing to this old idea, with Black women in particular shown to be major influencers.
Nielsen unveiled the report, "African American Women: Our Science, Her Magic," during the 47th Legislative Conference alongside host Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the 2017 Congressional Black Caucus conference, showing that Black spending power in total is going to reach a record $1.5 trillion by 2021. Black women are also in the midst of an entrepreneurial explosion, with businesses majority-owned by Black women growing 67 percent between 2007 and 2012, more than all women combined.
“Black women have strong life-affirming values that spill over into everything they do. The celebration of their power and beauty is reflected in what they buy, watch and listen to, and people outside their communities find it inspiring,” says Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “Understanding how Black women’s values affect their buying decisions has long been a marketing necessity. Now, marketers must also recognize the intercultural influence of Black women on the general market as an increasingly vital part of how all women see themselves, their families and the rest of the world.”
Among some of the major takeaways in the report are that Black women are particularly adept at using social media to both uplift each other and support the products and services that they enjoy. "Especially adept at using technology and social media to trade opinions and offer recommendations, black women (18+), more than any other demographic group, have taken social media and adopted it for higher purposes." Part of their trendsetting image is the fact that black women are more likely to look around for new and interesting products when they shop, to put forth a new and positive image.
This positive image seeps into Black women’s purchasing choices as well, and the natural hair movement is a good example. "Going natural, or forgoing chemical treatments to straighten their hair, is another way Black women may choose to safeguard their health and environment, while embracing their curly hair as it grows naturally." 60% of Black women agreed that they buy natural hair products due to environmental concerns, with 46% agreeing that they use natural or organic beauty products.