Bad hair day: Viral video ignites boycott of Asian-owned beauty supply stores
Cyril Josh Barker | 3/23/2017, midnight
According to Nielsen, Black women spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, and the Black hair care market is a $684 million industry. The amount of money that actually goes back into the Black community is small, with Koreans owning close to a reported 60 percent of the industry market share.
However, a nationwide boycott of Asian-owned beauty and hair supply stores could change things after a video recently surfaced of a Black woman being placed in a chokehold by a manager of a beauty supply store in Charlotte, N.C.
The controversy stems from a two and a half-minute cellphone video posted on social media of the Missha Beauty store in Charlotte that shows an Asian man, identified as Sung Ho Lim, kicking and choking an unidentified Black woman. She was accused of stealing fake eyelashes, which she denies.
“Check my bag, I’m telling you I don’t have anything,” the woman said as the video starts. As the woman continues to deny the theft, she walks away. Soon a shoving match ensues, initiated by Lim along with another female worker on the scene.
As the woman walks away, Lim continues to push the woman before kicking her on her leg. She is then pulled by the man, then attacked by both co-workers before the man slams her to the ground.
In a scene reminiscent of the infamous Eric Garner police chokehold, Lim puts the Black woman in a chokehold while the women hold up her arm.
“Get off of me, I am not stealing,” the Black woman said. “You checked my purse. Get off of me. You’re choking me!”
Screaming in pain, witnesses of the attack tell Lim to let the woman go.
“The female attempted to leave the store, but [Lim] blocked the exit and asked the female to show him what was in her bag since the alarm had gone off,” a police report filed by Lim said. “The female refused and a struggle ensued. The female then left the store and fled in a silver Dodge Sedan.”
Lim was reportedly not charged for the assault, and the Black woman has not been arrested. Reports indicate that Lim quite his job as manager of the store and plans to apologize to the woman.
“I don’t know, it just happened. I went crazy,” Lim said in one interview. “No matter what the reason, I feel very sorry to her and to them.”
Video of the incident has gone viral, receiving thousands of views on social media and creating shockwaves. Boycotts have been called against beauty supply stores across the country along with demonstrations at stores.
The NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch and the Nation of Islam has taken the lead locally on the boycott. Both organizations led rallies at Missha Beauty and met with the store owner. Many said they don’t plan to shop at the store anymore.
“He took it upon himself to treat that woman in a way that no woman should be treated,” NAACP leader Corine Mack said. “It reminds me of any historical attack on Black people. This woman could have gotten killed.”