madam c j walker

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19 Black women you need to know about who broke boundaries and made beauty history

1. Madam C.J. Walker

Hair loss sparked Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) to develop a line of hair-care products just for African-American women in the early 1900s — and her entrepreneurial efforts led her to become one of the first female self-made millionaires in America.

2. Naomi Sims

After appearing on the November cover of Ladies’ Home Journal the year before, Sims made headlines when she graced the cover of LIFE magazine in 1969 — the first Black model to do so.

3. Beverly Johnson

American Vogue made history with its August 1974 cover featuring
Beverly Johnson, who was the first Black woman to hold the honor. Johnson told NPR of the moment: “I realized that this was a huge responsibility that was placed on my shoulders as a way of really breaking the color barrier in the fashion industry.”

4. Tracey Norman

Tracey “Africa” Norman was the first Black transgender model to land a major cosmetics campaign. In the mid-1970s, she snagged a contract with hair color brand Clairol. Norman didn’t disclose that she was transgender at the time out of fear it might damage her career.

5. Lisa Price

In 1993, Lisa Price began developing hair and skin products out of her Brooklyn kitchen alongside her mother Carol. The now wildly popular brand, Carol’s Daughter, caters especially to women with natural, curly textures.

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Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919) is remembered today as one of the first and most successful female entrepreneurs, one of the wealthiest African American women of the century, and the first female self-made millionaire in the USA. Her fortune was the result of her highly popular business venture, the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, which sold beauty and hair products for black women.

She was the first in her family to be born free, after the Emancipation Proclamation. She began by selling hair care products door-to-door, and eventually opened a beauty parlour that grew into a steady, multi-million-dollar business. At its height, the company employed 20,000 women, and spread across the Americas. She became a patron of the arts and a philanthropist devoted to helping the black community around her.

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Black Heritage Stamps with Ella Fitzgerald, Hattie McDaniel, Madam C.J. Walker, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Bessie Coleman, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm.

Madam C.J. Walker born Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) in Delta, Louisiana. Walker was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur, tycoon and philanthropist. Her fortune was made by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women, under the company she founded Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. The Guinness Book of Records cites Walker as the first female, black or white, who became a millionaire by her own achievements.

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December 23rd 1867: Madam C.J. Walker born

On this day in 1867 Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C.J. Walker) was born in Delta, Louisiana. She was born on a cotton plantation to sharecropper parents who had recently been freed from slavery. At the age of seven Sarah was orphaned, and moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi where she found employment on a plantation. She longed to escape the oppressive working environment and soon married and moved to Missouri, while attending night school. In the 1890s Breedlove developed a scalp disorder which caused her to lose much of her hair, and led her to experiment with home remedies to help her hair. Breedlove soon founded her own company and, with the help and encouragement of her second husband, came to be known as Madam C.J. Walker. Her company, which made hair products for African-American women, was a huge success and earned her millions of dollars and eventually expanded overseas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Walker is also known for her philanthropy and promotion of the rights of African-Americans and women - stipulating that only women could be president of her company. She died in 1919, aged 51, leaving a large part of her fortune to charities and her children. Walker is remembered as an important figure in African-American history and a remarkable woman, who was born in a log cabin as the first free-born member of her family and, through hard-work and business acumen, became the first female self-made millionaire in American history.

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”
- Madam C.J. Walker

The Flowers That Be 

“No Temple made by mortal human hands can ever compare to the Temple made by the gods themselves. That building of wood and stone that houses us and that many believe conceals the great Secret Temple from prying eyes, somewhere in its heart of hearts, is but a decoy for the masses who need this simple concrete limited thing in their lives. The real Temple is the whole world, and there is nothing as divinely blessed as a blooming growing garden.” 

- Vera Nazarian

“There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard." 

- Madam C.J. Walker 

"When the flower blossoms, the bee will come.”
- Srikumar Rao

“How many times… have you encountered the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the Master speaks?’ Do you know why that is true? The door opens inward. The Master is everywhere, but the student has to open his mind to hear the Masters Voice.

- Robert Anton Wilson, Masks of the Illuminati

#theflowersthatbe #art #artist#instaart #illustration#digitalillustration #digitalart#sketching
#mixedmediaart #outsiderart#outsiderartist #visionary #temple#instaart

If you stand just past High School Hill on Route 9 in Irvington, N.Y., and look west toward the Hudson River, you’ll see a beautiful white house with lots of columns and terra cotta tiles that evoke a Mediterranean elegance. It is one of many mansions nestled on these leafy green streets; memories carved in stone from a time when this suburban town was the jewel of the “Hudson Riviera.” Kykuit, Shadowbrook, and Nuits, Sunnyside, Hillside, and Strawberry Hill — these were the homes of robber barons and writers, judges and doctors, the 1 percent of the Gilded Age and the early 20th century.

But Villa Lewaro, that white house, was unique. It was built by Madam C. J. Walker, who was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, one of six children and the first born free. Walker rose to prominence as the first nationally successful black female business magnate in the country. She and her daughter, A'Lelia, were the hair care queens of black America. By the time she began building Villa Lewaro in 1917, the New York Times Magazine estimated her net worth at “a cool million” (a fact that didn’t stop some of the neighbors from being appalled that a black woman was moving into town). 

Until recently, the Walker legacy was treated somewhat poorly by history. The house itself was nearly torn down in 1976. A'Lelia is rarely remembered at all, and when she is, it is as the prodigal daughter under whom the Walker hair care empire shrunk drastically. Or, as historian Eric Garber put it in his essay A Spectacle in Color, while “Madam Walker had been civic-minded, donating thousands of dollars to charity, A'Lelia used most of her inheritance to throw lavish parties.”

It’s easy to dismiss these events as fluff and folderol. But Walker’s parties, both in Irvington and at her Manhattan salon, The Dark Tower, played a crucial, if invisible role in the Harlem Renaissance: They provided a safe, welcoming environment for queer people at a time when there were few other social options available. While she herself was not known to be lesbian or bisexual, Walker’s parties were places where anyone could express their sexuality however they pleased.

Remembering A'Lelia Walker, Who Made A Ritzy Space For Harlem’s Queer Black Artists

Photo: A'lelia Walker. Credit: Carl Van Vechten/Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

THE TIP-OFF: STYLING CURLY HAIR WITH MADAM C.J. WALKER

Celebrity hairstylist Matthew Yates gives his expert advice.

There are names in the beauty industry that are downright legendary, and Madam C.J. Walker is deservedly one of them. She’s the first self-made female millionaire in the United States, thanks to savvy marketing of her hair care products. And now her legacy continues at Sephora. Her reimagined yet true-to-her-roots line offers major curl power. The Sephora Glossy tapped the brand’s mane man, celebrity hairstylist Matthew Yates, to get his solves to all your coil conundrums using the reborn collection. JESSICA VELEZ

THE PERFECT BLOWOUT

“I suggest starting in the front to keep the hair from drying up too quickly. Remember, the faster you move, the smoother your blow-dry. You can use either a comb attachment, round brush, or flat brush, depending on your skill level and the tightness of the curl. Follow the way the cuticle naturally lays, as this will seal in all of the wonderful qualities of the products you’re using and ensure a super shiny, frizz-free blow-dry.”  

THE SILKY HAIR ROUTINE

 “When blow-drying curly hair straight, it’s always important to start with great product and tools! Cleanse the hair twice with Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Shampoo (it’s super rich, so a little goes a long way). After rinsing the hair completely clean from all shampoo, proceed to the Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Conditioner and massage it through hair (from root to ends) thoroughly. Also, use a wide-tooth comb for equal distribution. Then, towel dry hair and apply Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Leave-In throughout hair—follow immediately with the Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Blow Out Crème. These are going to set the angle of your hair and give it the slip that’s necessary for a smooth blow-dry. From there, section hair into four parts, using clips to secure each section, and blow-dry. At this point, you can either rock your blowout as is or use a flat iron or wand for added smoothness. Finish with a little oil and some hair spray, and you’re all set!”

THE LENGTHENING TRICK

“Curly girls embrace their natural shrinkage but sometimes want to rock a longer style. Crazy enough, shrinkage can hide up to 90% of your actual length, especially for very tight coils. Curl Enhancing Jamaican Black & Murumuru Oils Loosen & Stretch Gel provides intense moisture while coating strands to help elongate and shape coils into soft, springy curls.” 

THE MOISTURE MAGIC

“Fabulous styles start with healthy hair. Even if you think your hair is relatively healthy, the change of seasons—from winter cold and wind to summer sun—can be hard on your strands. So, it’s good to get in the habit of using a mask weekly to make sure you’re giving your hair the moisture it needs. The Dream Come True Wonderful Deep Conditioning Masque is great for all hair types and is made with the perfect blend of natural, efficacious ingredients to boost dry, damaged, and color-treated hair. My favorite ingredients are the shea butter (which deeply moisturizes), willow bark (which conditions the scalp), coconut oil (which prevents hair breakage and split ends), and provitamin B5 (which adds luxurious shine).” 

THE LIFE-CHANGING OIL

“The Scent & Shine Coconut Oil was my first introduction to the line, and it literally stopped me in my tracks! Coconut oil is full of amazing benefits when used topically. It’s super moisturizing, yet fast-absorbing and lightweight, while adding luster and shine, preventing breakage, promoting scalp health, and adding softness to hair. It can also be used as a booster if added to the Dream Come True Wonderful Deep Conditioning Masque or any conditioner. I also like the Coconut & Moringa Oils Curl Refresher Mist, which provides the benefit of a hair refresher in between washes. The formulation is light enough to use on finer textures without weighing them down, but still effective enough to add moisture and shine to thicker textures. And the fragrance is just absolutely luxe!”

THE HOT HAIRSTYLE

“I’m obsessed with a great twist out! It’s such an awesome way to manipulate the texture of curly hair without using direct heat. TheJamaican Black Castor Oil collection is ideal when going for this look.

THE UNIVERSAL TIP

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Curls thrive off moisture and curly hair can never get enough! Fortunately, Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture is the answer to thirsty curly hair.”

Shop Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Culture >

Patron of the arts, A'lelia Walker, 1926.

Raised in privileged due to the fortunes of her mother Madam C. J. Walker, A’lelia hosted many parties in Harlem that were attended by writers, musicians, and actors, such as Florence Mills. In 1927, she turned one floor of her home into a salon where artists socialized. Today in Indianapolis, a non-profit group organization, Madam Walker Urban Life Center houses a cultural center and a theatre.

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amazing women series
Madam C. J. Walker

  Madam C.J. Walker was born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867, the first child in her family born into freedom after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Her parents and five older siblings were slaves on a plantation in Louisiana. By the time of her death in 1919, Madam Walker was the wealthiest black woman in America and the first self-made female American millionaire.
   Sarah began experiencing hair loss at a young age. Hair loss was a very common problem at the time: people found it difficult to bathe and wash their hair as often as we do today because most lacked access to things like indoor plumbing, central heating, and electricity. So, she began experimenting with different products and home remedies, eventually creating her own shampoos and hair treatments. She named her company after her husband at the time, Charles Joseph Walker, and began selling products such as “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” and “Madam Walker’s Vegetable Shampoo”. Designed specifically for black women, her hair products were completely unique at the time. She began selling her products door-to-door, and teaching the women she met all about hair and scalp treatments.
   Her business was so successful that she was soon selling her products across the United States. Sarah’s daughter A’Lelia ran a mail-order business from Denver while Madam Walker travelled the states, finally settling in Indianapolis where she opened her own factory. After establishing her headquarters there, she expanded her company internationally to Jamaica, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti. Her company employed thousands of people, including many African-American women, and was the largest African-American owned business in the nation.Not only was Madam Walker create incredibly successful business against all odds, she also used her wealth to oppose racism and support institutions to assist African-Americans. She said that she wanted to be a millionaire not for herself, but for the good she could do with it. 

  

There is this misconception that Madame C.J. Walker was the lady who “invented perms.” I know I thought that too for a long time. That’s not necessarily true at all. She patented hair care products and cosmetics specifically for black women that included natural hair care as well as products that helped thick and coarse hair become straighter. The hot comb was one of her inventions but she wasn’t some woman who was like, “I’m going to invent these products so black women can have straight hair and not that nappy shit.” She had a lot of products for our hair, not just straightening ones. She simply was the first black woman to create hair care specifically for our hair since there weren’t many if any products for our hair health. She was a scientist and entrepreneur. She also did a lot for African American rights, so just saying, “She created the first perm/relaxer for black women,” is a gross oversimplification of her legacy and work.