For 8 years Yummy Hair Extensions has been turning its customers into Queens, delivering the highest quality hair extensions, wigs, and accessories. We believe that every woman deserves to shine, deserves to radiate her unique gifts to the world, deserves to be honored. We know - because our customers tell us - that gorgeous Yummy hair provides an instant confidence boost. With that confidence, our customers can take on the world. We want to help them do that.
Yummy Hair Extensions is more than a hair brand. Part of our mission is to engage with our community about pressing social issues that are present in the black community and beyond.
In conversations with friends and customers, Yummy Extensions founder, Yummie O, started to notice something. When asked about their heritage, most Black women were unable to answer easily. Of course for many, this is just one of the devastating impacts of slavery in the U.S.. But even among first and second generation immigrants, it seemed that awareness and pride in one’s cultural heritage was lacking. So often, women are forced to conform to someone else's idea of what it means to be a ‘good’ Black woman. These ideas may be negative or positive, denigrating or flattering, but at the end of the day, if they don't come from us they're unlikely to be a true representation of our actual identity.
As the owner of a business devoted to making its customers feel confident - and as a Black woman herself - Yummie decided to take on this challenge.
What is the campaign?
In July 2021, as the world emerges from Coronavirus lockdowns, Yummy Hair Extensions is launching #EmbraceYourHeritage, a campaign to support and encourage women of color to explore and take pride in their ancestry.
The purpose of the campaign is to invoke conversations about why women of color have been made to feel shame about their history; encourage curiosity and pride in their heritage; and instill confidence to stand firmly in their roots, knowing that their difference and uniqueness is something to be celebrated.
How do I participate?
We know that confidence does not develop only on its own: it can grow in community. For women of color, seeing other dark-skinned Queens affirming their roots and standing firmly in their uniqueness can be an instant confidence boost, empowering everyone to do the same. For that reason, we are launching a 30-day #EmbraceYourHeritage challenge on social media. Every day we’ll be posting prompts, inspiration, and ideas to support our followers as they learn more about their heritage, and become more confident in sharing it. We plan to take social media by storm, flooding the world’s feeds with powerful images and posts from women of color as they discover and share their heritage.
In addition to encouraging our customers, friends, and followers to post about their own journey, we’ll be sharing powerful interviews and support from influencers and celebrities like Vanessa Simmons and Summerella . We’ll also be making charitable donations - and encouraging you to do the same - to some of our favorite non-profits led by and supporting women of color.
And finally, because we are committed to supporting all of you beautiful Queens on this journey, we are launching the #EmbraceYourHeritage giveaway. Three of YOU will win a Yummy gift bag featuring luxe products from some of our favorite beauty-makers, like Yummy Extensions, Kosa Professionals, Vorr Lashes, Jolie Lashes, Notiq. And many more! To participate, simply follow our @yummyextensions Instagram page, like our giveaway post and tag three of your friends to invite them to join the campaign.
One our favorite sources of inspiration, the poet Maya Angelou, wrote, “The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.” We certainly believe this to be true.
And we aren’t alone. Increasingly, Black Americans are turning to DNA testing to reveal information about their African history that was, until recently, impossible to access because accurate records were not kept when Africans were brought to the Americas as slaves. This devastating legacy has, of course, been persistently overcome by generations of Americans who forged new cultural traditions built on what they knew of the old. But with the development of genetic testing, and companies like 23 and Me, information about one’s roots is more accessible than ever. Since the testing became available, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and India Arie, among countless others have researched their roots, travelled to their ancestral homes, and spoken publicly about the impact these experiences have had on their lives.
Fortunately, as genetic technology has improved, testing has become more affordable and thus increasingly popular. The burgeoning interest in genetic testing among Black Americans has created a phenomenon known as “Heritage travel” to parts of Africa based on the results of genetic testing.
As Nneka M. Okona explains in a thoughtfully researched article, DNA testing has many limitations, chief among them the fact that because Black Americans are less likely to be tested, the data on their heritage is less reliable. Fortunately, Black-owned genetic testing companies like African Ancestry have sprung up to address this gap, and do so by targeting their tests exclusively to Black customers.
But the challenge of embracing one’s heritage exists not just in the U.S. or for Americans, but throughout the world - and even on the African continent. Business leader and Stanford MBA graduate Sipho Sikhakhane, a South Africa-born Zulu, shares at length about how, though challenging at times, embracing this aspect of her identity has been central to the development of her leadership style. She offers the following tips for women who may know their heritage, but live far from their cultural communities. Her tips include:
Of course, these are only some of the many ways that women are beginning to change culture by embracing their heritage. Yummy will share many more during its 30-day challenge.
Are you excited yet? We hope so. We’ve always known what powerful, beautiful, and unique beings our customers are - but now we want the rest of the world to know too. Join Yummy and our sisters as you #EmbraceYourHeritage !