Between the years of 2007 and 2018, the number of businesses owned by Black women grew by a whopping 164 percent, according to the American Express 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report. The numbers certainly were not surprising. During the past 10 years, we’ve witnessed a surge of innovation from Black women entrepreneurs in the areas of beauty, tech, baby gear, and home care.
Ironically, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found the leading cause for Black women venturing into entrepreneurship to be “poor treatment and the perception of being undervalued in the workplace.” Data from the AMEX report backed up this sentiment, noting that “higher unemployment rates, long-term unemployment, and a much greater gender and racial pay gap have led women of color to start businesses at a higher rate out of necessity and the need to survive.”
Of course, we highlight these statistics not to make others feel sorry for us, but to commemorate our resilience and tenacity. With the turn of the decade approaching, we thought it would be fitting to celebrate Black women inventors and their accomplishments by highlighting ten of the best Black women inventions of the last ten years.
Lisa Gelobter, Chief Digital Service Officer for the United States Department of Education, is the computer scientist who developed the animation used to create GIFs, forever changing the way we text and tweet. She’s also responsible for Shockwave and was even a member of the senior management team for the launch of Hulu.
Kaleidoscope Miracle Drops
The Kaleidoscope Miracle Drops live up to the name. The brainchild of hairstylist turned entrepreneur Jesseca Dupart and a team of chemists, the Miracle Drops are an answered prayer to men and women who suffer from hair loss and excessive breakage.
“I was a full-time stylist and I saw an epidemic of hair loss — whether it was man-made from bad weaves or from hereditary alopecia,” Dupart explained in a 2018 interview with The Breakfast Club. “I tried to do what I could to offer an alternative to the pills and other treatments. A good friend of mine had a team of chemists and he kind of handed them over to me.”
Dubbed 2017’s “Invention of the Year” by Time Magazine, Fenty Beauty blows competitors out of the water with its commitment to inclusivity and excellence. With 40 different high-quality shades of foundation to choose from, Fenty Beauty unapologetically caters to Black women.
“I never could have anticipated the emotional connection that women are having with the products and the brand as a whole. Some are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter. That’s something I will never get over,” Rihanna told Time.
The Crayon Case
Founded by internet personality and entrepreneur Raynell “Wuzzam Supa” Steward, The Crayon Case is a cosmetics brand geared towards aspiring makeup artists and amateur makeup consumers. The brand is known for its bright and edgy colors, creative packaging, and its signature Box of Crayons palette
Workday Mobile Worker Profile
Workday Mobile is a cloud-based enterprise app that allows workers to manage daily transactions in the areas of human resources, finances, and analytics. Thanks to the contributions of Frances Liddell-Rodriguez, workers are also able to familiarize themselves with the organizational structure of their companies with the Workday Mobile Worker Profile.
BLK + GRN
For years, mainstream beauty brands have marketed toxic products for Black women. In response to this problem, Dr. Kristian Henderson founded BLK + GRN, a premier Black-owned shop for holistic, ethically sourced, toxic-free products all produced by Black artisans.
“Black people still have worse health outcomes than their white counterparts. There is an array of potential root causes – systematic racism, unconscious and conscious bias, and mistrust,” Dr. Henderson told Madame Noire in 2018. “If we do not begin to question our habits and change our behaviors, our life expectancy is only going to continue to shorten. I want to empower our communities to take control of our health and wellness, and BLK + GRN is the first step.”
First Transition Antibacterial Sippy Cup
Toddler moms know that not all sippy cups are created equally and Darlyng & Co.’s First Transition Antibacterial Sippy Cup is a step above the rest. In addition to its antibacterial properties, it is mold resistant, has bite-and-release capabilities and features unique straw technology that is designed to protect your baby’s teeth. Like other products offered the brand, this money-saving product is designed CEO and inventor Tara Darnley.
PUR Home Liquid Laundry Detergent
Formulated by PUR Home founder and product developer, Angela Richardson, PUR Home Liquid Laundry Detergent is a natural, color-safe, and effective cleaning agent for those looking to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, and free from sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, petroleum solvent, chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrances, phosphates, dyes, and optical brighteners.
The Mane Choice
After a bad color job left her hair dry and brittle, Courtney Adeleye realized that there weren’t many products available that suited her needs. To remedy this issue, she began creating her own products at home and sharing her recipes via YouTube with other Black women.
“I would have people writing in like, ‘I’m not into mixing ingredients and products. Can you just sell it?” the former nurse told Madame Noire in a 2017 interview. “Everybody was saying the same thing, ‘We want the product.’”
Adeleye eventually took a leap of faith and The Mane Choice was born in 2013. With the majority of beauty products that are targeted towards Black women containing toxic ingredients, The Mane Choice provides a health-conscious alternative to women seeking to beautify their tresses without inviting toxic chemicals into their bodies.
Lemonade by Beyoncé
While it’s certainly not the first visual album, it’s the first one crafted with Black women in mind. The audio-visual compilation conveys a story of heartbreak while simultaneously celebrating Blackness and womanness.
Written by: Jazmine Denise
First published 12.12.19: https://madamenoire.com/1118258/10-of-the-best-black-woman-inventions-of-the-past-decade/10/