Black History Month wasn’t always the 28-day celebration of Blackness we know it to be today. Back in 1926, Black historian Carter G. Woodson proposed the second week of February be named “Negro History Month.” The idea caught momentum and by 1969 Black educators and students of Kent University advocated to make this a month-long celebration of our existence.
The first official celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State from January 2 to February 28, 1970. Fifty-one years later, we’ve been uplifting Black pioneers within our community during the second month of the year. While it’s amazing to speak to the accolades of celebrities, politicians, and philanthropists who inspire us daily, there is a wide range of everyday entrepreneurs who are also worthy of recognition.
Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. Underfunded and overlooked, we manage to persevere by carving out our own lane and starting businesses that position us for success. As part of a month-long series, I want to highlight 4 Black women who are making serious waves in the fashion and beauty industries. We kicked off the series with Mikaela Pabon, but now we’re passing the baton to beauty and style guru, Africa Miranda.
Africa Miranda is a model, actress, host, author, beautypreneur and a digital personality. Over the last 15 years she’s graced television screens, magazine covers, and now she’s diving head first into the beauty industry. Beauty by Africa Miranda is a collection of products that aims to hydrate, and illuminate your skin.
Source: Beauty by Africa Miranda / Beauty by Africa Miranda
While Africa is known for serving fashionable looks and hair tutorials, she’s also very interested in maintaining a strong beauty regimen. As a creator, the lifestyle of an entrepreneur allows her to explore all of her interests. “I’m inspired daily by the freedom of entrepreneurship. The journey from concept/idea to an actual product that people can purchase is a thrilling ride. The most rewarding part (about being an entrepreneur) is knowing that I’ve created products that actually work and are making Black women (and men!) feel more confident and beautiful,” Africa tells HelloBeautiful.
Part of living the entrepreneurial lifestyle is testing the waters and trying new things. Africa’s long, natural hair has always garnered her lots of attention. From time to time she would give tutorials on how to achieve a certain style, or she would list the products used to maintain her healthy, glowing bounce. Soon she’ll be marketing her own haircare products. “I’m excited for Beauty by Africa Miranda to expand into hair care this year. Healthy hair has always been a passion of mine, and I’m very excited about the products that are in development,” she says.
Source: Derrick Davis / Derrick Davis
The traditional concept of work hasn’t been on Africa’s radar for years. She’s always been one to create her own lane and then dominate it. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a spike in Black women transitioning from the traditional corporate life to entrepreneurship. “It is exciting! I love that Black women are stepping out and creating business that are not only impacting their communities but also changing the financial trajectory for themselves and their families,” says Africa.
While it’s inspiring to see, having your own business isn’t always a walk in the park. It is filled with highs and lows that most people don’t speak about. Although Black women lead in entrepreneurship, they’re also the most underfunded, making it 10 times harder for them to survive as a business. This is an obstacle Africa is very familiar with. “My biggest challenge has been funding and growth. I’ve committed myself to learning as much as I can so that Beauty by Africa Miranda can reach its full potential,” she says.
Africa has committed 15 years to building a brand that uplifts and empowers others. With that kind of mission, she is sure to success in future ventures. You can keep up with Africa and her brand by visiting her website. Follow her lifestyle excursions via her Instagram page, and while you’re at it, support her by shopping the Beauty by Africa Miranda brand.