Let's Celebrate Black History Month!
February is Black History Month, and while it may be the year’s shortest month, we at Private Label still want to highlight the contributions made by these men and women that revolutionized the hair & beauty industry.
Make sure you follow us on Instagram as we're celebrating all month.
Madame CJ Walker
Also known as Sarah Breedlove, she is credited as one of the first black women millionaires in America and is a pioneer for Black woman entrepreneurship. She is known for being a genius marketer specializing in self-promotion. After dealing with her own hair loss and scalp health struggles, she created hair care products tailored for Black women. Her sales brands offered education and employment to the community at large. A true rags to riches story.
Annie Turnbo Malone
Born in Metropolis, Illinois, Annie Malone invented a hair straightening formula that was less harsh than what was currently available. She built Poro College in St. Louis, Missouri to, in her words, contribute to the "economic betterment of race women." Enjoying a long career as both a chemist and an entrepreneur she eventually became a millionaire. Even Donald Trump gave her a shoutout in his 2019 Proclamation on Black History Month.
A lawyer who also obtained a Chemistry degree, Anthony Overton opened the Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Co in 1898. While initially producing drugstore goods he soon recognized that lack of cosmetics for women of color. He developed cosmetics goods that were specifically and beautifully marketed to the Black community. These products include hair creams and eye makeups that were safer than the competitive brands that were mixed with chalks and other harmful ingredients. Though he passed in 1946, his manufacturing company stayed in business until 1983.
Marjorie Stewart Joyner
As the inventor and first African American woman patent-holder of the Permanent Wave Machine, Marjorie Joyner has ensured a prominent place in cosmetology history. She assisted in the writing of Illinois's first cosmetology laws. Along with Mary Bethune McLeod, she helped found the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association in 1945.
Rose Meta Morgan
One of nine children, Rose Morgan received her cosmetology education from the Morris School of Beauty. As a savvy entrepreneur, she opened the Rose Meta House of Beauty Salon in 1945. It later would become one of the largest beauty parlors catering to the African American community.
John H. Johnson
A businessman and publisher, John Johnson founded the Johnson Publishing Company in 1942. He would go on to publish influential magazines Ebony and Jet. Also the owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Supreme Beauty products that provided makeup, skin care, & hair care to the African American community.
The 2nd African American woman to ever receive a patent. Her improved hairbrush design was patented November 15, 1898. This was the first hairbrush with synthetic bristles that could be taken apart for easy cleaning.
Nobia A. Franklin
Sara Spencer Washington
A chemist before becoming a beauty entrepreneur, Sarah Washington founded the Apex News & Hair Company in 1919. The Apex empire grew to include salons, schools, and beauty products catered to the community. She was honored at the 1939 New York World's Fair as the "Most Distinguished Businesswoman".
A hairdresser who patented a more efficient pressing and curling iron.
Developed and patented the modern-day sew-in hair weaving technique in 1951.
A political activist, philosopher, scholar, and author who, after studying abroad, has spent her career being the voice for group marginalized by classism, sexism, & racism. She has proudly worn her afro's natural curl pattern and made a statement against Eurocentric beauty standards.
A model, singer, actress, and businesswoman who is known for more than her beauty. She is the first African American model to be on the cover of Vogue and she is the first black woman to grace the cover of French Elle in 1975.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Pop superstar, Fashion Icon, and Mogul launched the Fenty Beauty cosmetics brand in the Fall of 2017. Fenty Beauty has garnered record-breaking success and international acclaim for both diversity and inclusion across ethnic and gender lines.
The CEO & Founder of the award-winning global beauty brand, Naturalicious. She is the first black woman to hold a patent for a natural hair product.
Author, CEO & Founder of Thank God It's Natural (TGIN) haircare, a manufacturer of natural hair and skin care products. Her book, Thank God I'm Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair, is a #1 Amazon bestseller.
Rochelle "Black Onyx" Graham-Campbell
An entrepreneur, speaker, natural hair enthusiast, and CEO & Co-founder of Alikay Naturals, a luxury & organic line of hair and skincare products, and its multi-million dollar parent company, Black Onyx World.
The Founder & Inventor of PuffCuff Hair Clamp. She is the first black woman to hold three patents for natural hair accessories.
While also being a Real Estate & Mortgage Broker, Noel Durity is the inventor and patent holder of the "Twist It Up" comb.
The President and Founder of Carol’s Daughter, Inc., the first African American hair company to cater to the natural hair community, and would later become a retail chain.
Having been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, she is the founder of the multi-million dollar hair company, NaturAll. This company only sells fresh & refrigerated hair products specialized for all tips of afro-textured hairs.
She is the 1st makeup artist to be made a Dame. Hailed as the most influential and sought-after makeup artist by Vogue, Prada, and other established commentators. She launched her own line of high-performance cosmetics, PAT MCGRATH LABS, in 2015.
A professional makeup artist turned YouTube megastar catering to women of color’s beauty concerns. Since starting her Youtube Channel in 2009 she has garnered 3 million subscribers.
These are just a few renowned individuals we wanted to highlight this Black History Month. Is there anyone we missed? Is there anyone you think we should highlight next Black History Month? Comment all suggestions below. The beauty and hair industry owes literal millions to the contributions made by the Black community.