Spotlight on a Black Woman Owned Business: 
Bee Mine Products

Bee Mine Hair Serum
Tracey Wilder was rattled by a number of health issues, including stroke, lupus and fibromyalgia. Soon after she experienced hair loss and shedding. So like many ambitious black women, Mrs. Wilder refused to give into her situation -- instead she made lemonade out of lemons by starting her own hair care company. She created a hair growth serum, used it regularly and documented the progress in an online ha ir album.

Bee Mine Products now sells a variety of hair products, including growth serums, hair butters, shampoos and conditioners. Bee Mine Products are natural & organic and have been since Tracey started whipping them up in her kitchen. The main goal of the company is to give hope to women who are experiencing issues with Alopecia, breakage and general shedding. The motto is "Bee Healthy, Bee You, Bee Mine!"

As a lady who years ago experienced the distress of watching my healthy hair shed from my scalp day after day (my issue was due to a dental medication I was prescribed), I know how Mrs. Wilder must have felt. Getting your hair to grow back or at the very least stop shedding is the top thought on your mind each morning. Back then I scrambled for products to fix the issue and mostly came up empty.

I'm happy that today more options are available for women dealing with this issue. So if you're still looking for a natural product to fix your hair issues, you might want to check out Bee Mine Products at .

I was very excited to get a tweet recently about an amazing Kickstarter project entitled:

The Miss Zee Coloring Book Project

This is a project by a lady that goes by the name of Miss Gee from Louisville, KY. She has come out with an idea for a coloring book series featuring a cute little black girl with puffy hair.

Your beautiful black daughter can grab her crayons and be as artistic as she would like to be while coloring in images that look like her. As Miss Gee explains (and I can confirm as a black girl growing up in the 80s and 90s) the images that she grew up seeing were mostly of white princesses and other characters.
"Although I still love those classic characters to this very day, there was a phase that I went through as a child where I felt ashamed of my appearance, due to the various media that was always presented to me. I do not want my daughter to end up with the same identity issues that I did as a child," she explains.

Miss Gee is requesting just $5,000 on Kickstarter to get her project started. As of this posting (7.23.2012) the current total pledged is $3,125 so just a bit more to go.

You can donate as little as $1 but a pledge of at least $30 gets you a copy of the coloring book fresh off the presses as well as a thank you in the book for participating in the project.

Come on classy black ladies, we can help get this coloring book designed for black girls in the works! The project ends on August 4, 2012, so please hurry and make your pledge!

UPDATE: The project was fully funded! Yay! is a black woman owned business that sells school supplies for children of color.

As a young black woman who can relate to growing up in a mostly white atmosphere from age 0 to 22, I can’t remember seeing many images of black girls like me at school, on television or in magazines.

When I was a kid, my best girlfriends were white — when we played together we played with their white dolls and toys. Is it any wonder that at that young age I started to see myself through the eyes of a white girl?

It wasn’t until a white boy in my second grade class made an insensitive joke about my dark skin tone that I finally got that unfriendly “wake up call” — I was not like the other little white girls in my class. I was black.

Pam Richardson, 10-year marketing veteran, African-American entrepreneur and the founder of, can also relate to stories like this and cares about the images and messages that young black girls and boys see each day.

A notebook from the Images of Culture website
Pam explains her own personal experiences, which are not too much unlike other black people coming of age: 

"When I was a child, there was nothing black - no black dolls (except the black Cabbage Patch Kid, but I was too old for dolls when this came out!).  I was ‘ashamed’ of my hair, always wanting it to be long and to be able to withstand water (like my Caucasian friends).  Now, as an adult, I’m extremely comfortable with my natural hair and just ‘being black!’  But, it took many, many years for me to gain this level of self-appreciation.”

Young black kids simply don’t see enough positive images of themselves in the media and in the products they use. As an answer to this important need, Pam recently launched a site to sell school supply products for children of color. offers a selection of school notebooks and other supplies depicting young black children in a variety of colorful custom illustrations. They also have positive messages.

Pam explains her objective for the site:

My goal for my company is to deliver quality school supply products with uplifting, positive graphics and messages for African-American school-aged youth.  When children see my products, I hope they will say, ‘That looks like me!’ or ‘I want to do that!’”

Message from one of the products at Images of Culture
And she is right on point — sometimes all that a young black girl or boy needs is to see JUST ONE positive image of a black person who looks like them to start on the road to self-love.

So if you have a child of color, before you run down to Wal-Mart or Target to buy new school supplies for your kids this August, check out Pam’s site first. Fill up on supplies that will allow your child to see colorful images that reflect his or her beautiful unique culture each day while at school.

Black Girl Spotlight: Beautiful Black Ballerina from Africa pirouettes her way to stardom.

I had the great fortune to catch an ABC New special tonight profiling Michaela DePrince. She is a ballerina from Africa who has been grabbing attention in many different arenas.

For example, Michaela was recently featured on ABC’s popular Dancing with the Stars show. She is also one of the stars of a brand new documentary entitled “First Position,” which charts her journey to stardom in the world of ballet via the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City.

Despite being a very talented black ballerina, Michaela has had to suffer through many challenges on her way to this ABC special, documentary and Dancing with the Stars.

Her parents were shot in war-torn Sierra Leone. She was called a “Devil Child” by her peers when living at an orphanage in Africa. Her vitiligo (a condition that makes dark skin appear to have white blotches) caused her to stand out from the rest of the children.

By chance, a family from Cherry Hill, PA adopted her along with another African girl and brought her over to a better life in America where she decided to pursue her career as a ballerina. Her adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince, witnessed first-hand the prejudices that her daughter had to endure as a black ballet star —attendees at ballet events made comments in her presence, saying that a black girl wouldn’t be able to get on her tippy toes and command a show like the other girls.

And of course Michaela has proven the naysayers wrong. In addition to her television and movie appearances, she is now a student at the Jacqueline Onassis School at the American Ballet Theater was offered a position at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. 

She is thankful for her opportunities, new found fame and the ability to escape a troubled past.

The documentary “First Position” opens in theaters on May 11, 2012.

Learn about and support the Pretty Brown Girl Movement.

The Pretty Brown Girl Movement is a campaign to celebrate and uplift young girls all around the world who have a brown skin tone. It started with T-shirts, tote bags, and buttons from a variety of vendors, but now the movement is getting more attention thanks to a visionary lady who was just concerned about her daughters.

Many say that the ideal beauty standard in America has traditionally been blonde hair and white or light skin. Young girls with darker skin tones are left out of that narrative and sometimes develop low self-esteem growing up. The girls they see on mainstream magazines and television ads don't usually look anything like their image in the mirror.

Sheri Crawley, co-founder of Pretty Brown Girl LLC, became concerned when she and her family moved to a mostly white suburb near Detroit. Her very young black daughters quickly started to reject black dolls and ask for hair care products to straighten their hair. In response, Crawley started to call her daughters "pretty brown girls."

She expanded on this issue in an interview with "It's simple, but a healing statement on so many levels. For so long, as a nation, everywhere across the world, it's the opposite message our girls are receiving. There is this natural bias as a society about what's preferred, that we as adults have, so it's passed onto our kids."

February 25, 2012 was the first annual Pretty Brown Girl Day. Thousands of little girls and their parents gathered around the country in places like Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit to support the movement.

The Pretty Brown Girl company sells a number of products ranging from t-shirts and wristbands to brownie pops and books. All of them seek to uplift and redefine the ideal of beauty, at least in the eyes of young black girls.

The Pretty Brown Girl Movement is a breath of fresh air for parents who have concerns like Crawley's. You can support the movement or learn more at the company website.