Black Panther Empowerment | OneUnited Bank

Like many of us who saw Black Panther last month, we are so proud of the film and its depiction of Black people. The strong Black male and female characters, the powerful use of African tribes and symbols, the “fight” between right vs wrong and helping others vs focusing only on national (Wakanda) interests, are so perfectly portrayed and provide an uplifting message for the world. The record breaking box office results (almost $400 million globally in the first weekend) simply confirm the need for positive images of the Black community and that #BlackMoneyMatters!

So comments about hair may seem trivial…but represent a strategic decision made in the film and a journey that many of us are experiencing. And it’s why we only present natural hair on our Mona and Lady Liberty Cards.

As reported in the New York Times article, “How ‘Black Panther’ Got Its Gorgeous Afrocentric Hair“, Camille Friend, the head of the “Black Panther” hair department, stated:

“We did a totally Afrocentric, natural hair movie,” “There was not a pressing comb or relaxer on set. That wasn’t happening. We’re in a moment when people are feeling empowered about being black. And that’s one thing you see when you watch ‘Black Panther.’ The hair helps communicate that.”

Our President & COO, Teri Williams, notes her journey from relaxed to natural hair began when her daughter did “the chop” in high school and now wears dreadlocks. She asked “Mom, what were you thinking when you relaxed my hair at 10 years old!” Busted! It continued when she personally stopped using relaxers, but continued to straighten her hair through blow drying. When she began to question the use of heat, her stylist responded “Natural hair would not look professional for a bank president!” Huh? She finally freed herself from the Eurocentric depictions of professionalism and beauty and did “the chop”. She has never looked back.

While the choice to go natural is a personal one and does not always reflect a cultural or political statement, the natural hair journey can free our thinking and result in a greater appreciation of our blackness.

At OneUnited Bank, we encourage everyone to move your money…and your mind. We say, don’t just #BankBlack, but also #BuyBlack and #BuildBlack. We need to question our old ways of thinking and doing business and be more purposeful about how we spend our $1.2 trillion to lift up our community.
The wonderful actress Letitia Wright, whose stand-out performance of Black Panther’s sister and the Princess of Wakanda, Shuri, said in an InStyle article,

“Black Panther has made me embrace my natural black hair. The representation of natural black hair in the film has made me reflect on myself. My hair is permed so when I finished the movie it really made me think, ‘man, what is it about my natural hair that I don’t like?’ “It’s a real journey for me and I am increasingly questioning why I don’t embrace my natural hair. It’s important we did show a variety of black hairstyles too because if you want to show the continent of Africa you have to show women in a natural and real way.”

The Black Panther movie gets us to reflect on our hair…and more. “What is it about doing business with each other that we don’t like?” Let’s move our money…and our minds! Like Black Panther, let’s #MakeBlackHistory today!

OneUnited Bank

Our community’s dream is now a reality! OneUnited Bank is fulfilling the hundred year old civil rights dream by garnering the savings power of our communities and channeling it back into urban communities for economic development. With your support by simply opening an FDIC insured account with great rates, we will continue to accomplish this dream everyday!

  • Rory Lee
    I personally have never felt so liberated to give myself the freedom to chop and let my hair go natural in texture and COLOR. It exemplifies the message that I constantly share with OurGirls, my non profit- #BeautyFromWithin
    March 9, 2018 Reply
    • Justice
      Rasta people a trod this journey awhile now;One People,Same Destination, bless.
      March 9, 2018 Reply
  • Elie Parker
    This black/African thing is over done. We should be looking more at green as in money for our direction. Your hairstyle should reflect the job or business you want to create, and the people you want to sell to or work for.
    March 9, 2018 Reply
    • Laysha
      "Thank you Elie Parker how about talking about building a Black Wall Street instead of a Hair styling.
      March 10, 2018 Reply
    • Elizabeth
      Why do business or work for people who don't accept your natural beauty? I've found over the past 15 years that other black people are the most critical of natural hair. We have been brainwashed to hate ourselves.I appreciate One United for focusing not just on green, but also showing how unforgivable blackness empowers wealth building too.
      March 11, 2018 Reply
    • Karen Ashby
      What do you mean black/African thing- overdone.. At one time there was only "African"!
      April 18, 2018 Reply
  • Justice
    Rasta people a trod this journey awhile now;One People,Same Destination, bless.
    March 9, 2018 Reply
  • Donald Heard
    I love seeing my sistas with their beautiful Black hair glowing like the Sun touched it. So beautiful Keep it up, keep it out!!-Your brotha, Don
    March 9, 2018 Reply
  • Ina Martin
    Natural hair unlocks your roots your thinking your challenge to the status quo.You can embrace who you are with natural hair just as the jews and Muslims with their attire.Black is and will always be beautiful nurturing intelligent and powerful beyond measures.
    March 10, 2018 Reply
  • Csymphonhii Devareaux
    The evolutionary re-education of our people and all people is very very important! Let the truth be seen as well as heard. I thank all producers that bring the life and imagination of our people to the forefront and making it okay to be Super Heroes and bringing our children imaginations to life, Quenching the the fantasy of all, cause even others want to see us succeed, but CANNOT EXPRESS THAT THOUGHT FREELY! We Are Free !
    March 10, 2018 Reply
  • Laysha
    "What does hair have to do with anything really the Women had bald heads as well as extension braids. and FyI alot of these natural wearing so called sisters are sporting Fake afro wigs as well as sew ins for the natural look how I know is because I am a Licensed Cosmetologist who has been overloaded for the look of Natural hair and wanting fake hair sewed in or glued in to look natural give me a break just appreciate the movie for empowerment and breaking record sales. the hair is nothing to comment on Black women have many different textures from kinky to kinky straight to straight or spanish wavy. don't try to put labels that Black women should do this and that they have a mine of there own and can decide to braid to bald or wear dreds hair is hair stop making a stupid debate about it and focus on making a Black Wall street and stopping Black on Black crime why is it black men are killing each other and a Black male is lucky to make it to 25 but, where are the protest and marches for that but, if someone other than black kills a black man we come out protesting we need to focus on unity within our racer and saving black lives instead of worrying and talking about hair this is so stupid to me really.
    March 10, 2018 Reply
  • Lionel Lightbourne
    A Wakanda inspired Movement"A Make-Believe Movie That Can Spark A Believable Movement"17 Things African Americans can learn from "Wakandans":Thing #1. Utilize black history month as an annual fundraiser to gather a black tax for national & international Afro causes.Thing #2. Set an attainable monetary goal (i.e $100) African Americans from all walks of life can contribute to on an annual basis.Thing #3. Establish a 100-year plan that provides equitable opportunities for African American from all walks of life.Thing #4. Establish a foundation and escrow account through an nationally accredited African American owned financial institution.Thing #5. Aim to collective raise a $100 million or more annually to provide short term opportunities for African Americans from all walks of life.Thing #6. Allocate $10 Million to provide first time home buyer down payment & closing cost assistance to 1000 families annually.Thing #7. Allocate $10 Million to provide 20k youth completing high school with Secured Credit Card Scholarships (SCCS) to grow their FICA's & GPA's simultaneously.Thing #8. Allocate $10 Million to provide national/international emergency disaster assistance for communities of African descent.Thing #9. Allocate $10 Million to provide $500k in rotating funding to twenty Historically Black Colleges & Universities on an annual basisThing #10. Allocate $10 Million to provide 200 annual donors a chance to win $50k in debt relief incentives.Thing #11. Allocate $10 Million to provide 50 African American Social Service/Community Based Organizations (old to new) with $200k on an annual basis.Thing #12. Allocate $10 Million to provide a civil defense rotating fund for 10 legal & civic organizations that advocate for African American injustices.Thing #13. Allocate $10 Million to provide 1 year of rental housing payments for 500 African American families transitioning out of homeless shelters.Thing #14. Allocate $10 Million to provide fee reimbursements for 50k African Americans applying for their first Passport or Drivers License.Thing #15. Allocate $5 Million to provide administration and operational funding.Thing #16. Allocate $2 Million to provide expense and miscellaneous funding.Thing #17. Allocate $3 Million to provide for surplus funding...
    March 19, 2018 Reply

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