Master Blenders, Herbalists, and Consultants
MALIK HERU EL-SHABBAZZCEO / FOUNDER
Born in America; growing up in the south, and living in poverty, there was one inescapable truth that we all knew but never spoke aloud; out of all the peoples in the world, we were the ugliest. Today, we know that’s not true.
I was maybe seven years old, living in Third Ward, Houston, Texas. I was being chased by a group of children my own age. They would eventually catch up to me and tackle me to the ground. The boys held me down and the girls laughed at me. “You’re so Black! And ugly! God must’ve left you in the oven too long and burnt you to a crisp!” There it was, my first awareness that I was ugly.
These were not white or Hispanic or foreign kids, these were other Black kids, none of them as dark complexioned as me, but Black nonetheless. To them, being Black was ugly, but here I was “Blacker” than them and so, out of all our ugliness, I was the ugliest, which made them ‘not-so-ugly’. This color struck idea would haunt me for years.
I don’t believe I held any resentment towards Black people who were of a lighter hue than me; in fact, I embraced my dark complexion and all those who were dark like me. I didn’t want to be ugly, so I didn’t accept their insults as true; I may not have been a kid in the ‘in-crowd’, but instead of letting that isolation have an adverse effect on my sense of self, in a weird way, it gave me confidence.
Today, the business of beauty is a billion dollar industry. The reason business is so good is people have the wrong idea of what beauty is. Instead of seeing themselves as uniquely beautiful, they see flaws and in trying to correct their perceived flaws, they become trapped in the beauty industry machine where beauty is a unattainable height. In the end, we find people who have irreparably scarring, burning, cutting, and transplanting add-ons that destroy what was already naturally beautiful.
Shabbazz Naturals was born out of this history and this current reality. I want people of all complexions to embrace their own unique, natural beauty. There is no good reason to alter your natural self for a temporary look that overnight can and will eventually change because that is what the beauty industry is; a fickle, elusive industry to keep people continuously and neurotically searching for a beauty that cannot be found in a chemical, scalpel or pharmaceutical.