Solange, Erykah Badu and Ledisi share the May ’14 cover of Essence Magazine

Solange | Essence May '14

It’s evident that over the last few years increasingly more American-African women have been seeking better and healthier lifestyles. As these women begin to take back control of their bodies and social images, we’ve seen a rise in positive promotions focused on their health and wellness; many of which are showcased in various publications such as Essence magazine. For a lot of these women, the positive representation has helped foster not only the transition away from unhealthy daily habits; but an increased awareness to no longer use harmful skincare and beauty products. This elevated consciousness has sparked a natural hair revival among American-African women, which resonates strongly within their communities. And this is in turn a reflective identity of pop culture icons such as Erykah Badu, Solange and Ledisi. Salute to Essence Magazine for these 3 lovely features.

Erykah Badu | Essence May '14

Ledisi | Essence May '14

What are your thoughts on Essence’s May cover girls? Share your comments below!

Young, brilliant, and creating: Meet this week’s featured business owner, Sarah.

Street Intell is all about supporting the young, brilliant and creative souls that call themselves entrepreneurs, business owners or innovators.20130918-050430.jpg

This week’s feature is business owner and student Sarah founder of Sisterhood of the Natural Hair. The Sisterhood of Natural Hair (SNH) is a Maryland based business whose mission is to empower African-American women, improve self-image, and create pathways for future generations to come. Their aim is to re-engineer the hair products that African-American women use. Sarah’s headbands are specifically designed for women with naturally textured hair. Sarah hopes that her products inspire women to be proud of their natural tresses by accentuating their curls, coils, and kinks with her unique adjustable headbands.20130918-050529.jpg

C.F.: What motivated you to start your company?

SNH: One day in my sociology class my professor asked me why I wear my hair the way I do. He kept insisting that I was being rebellious against the system and told me that I will not be able to be successful in corporate America. This hurt me but at the same time empowered me to reach out to other African American women who may be natural or considering going natural that it is okay if you choose not to covet and conform to European standards of beauty.

C.F.: Do you have a business mentor, if so what is one important thing they have taught you?

SNH: No I currently do not have a business mentor working with me. However, I have people that I look up to that started their own business reaching the same demographic as me. I look at what they do, how they reach people, and use some of their strategies to build my brand.

C.F.: In 5 years where do you see your brand?

SNH: Wow, In 5 years I see my branding being an empire. Firstly I see my brand being in major retails stores all over the world like Wal-Mart, target, etc. I also see my brand selling more than just our signature headbands like makeup, t-shirts. Etc.

C.F.: What are a few useful tips you would recommend to anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship (or business ownership)?

SNH: I would say make sure you choose a purpose first. Make sure that it is something you love to do and you’re not all in it for the money. Because having a business is very difficult and money is just not going to come easily. If you are doing it for a purpose you will not care about the money and giving up won’t be an option for you.

C.F.: How do you think your company has impacted the community?

SNH: I believe my company empowers African American women, improve self image and pathways for future generations to come. My company accomplishes this in many ways. If you take a look at my social media sites including our blog we not only discuss natural hair. We talk about social issues, education, self esteem etc.

C.F.: What is you favorite company product/service, and why?

SNH: Our headbands of course! Which are specifically designed for African American women with natural hair. I started creating them because when I went into stores to find headbands for my hair some were so loose that I would have to double wrap them which would end up pulling my hair.