Complimentary Professional Photo Portrait for Kevin Livingston for Challenging the Korean Beauty Supply Cartel
Please allow me to introduce myself; I am Penelope Bunn, Editor-in-Chief of Diplomacy | Arts | Culture – www.DAC-News.com, a United Nations – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused organization and website.
My 20-year companion and business partner, Eric von Lockhart, is one of the most celebrated commercial and editorial beauty photographers in the world with the largest portfolio of professional Black models and celebrities –
Don’t let our names fool you; we are both African-American. I am a native “New Yawker” born in Harlem, raised in Queens. Eric is an international army brat from Amityville, NY. Together, for the past 30 years, we have produced thousands of celebrity and beauty photo shoots.
We would like to offer you a complimentary photo shoot and applaud you for your efforts to expose Feel Beauty Supply, a long-standing member of the Korean Beauty Supply Cartel (the “Cartel”), which are all Korean hair and beauty companies and supply stores. E pluribus unum.
Sorry to be a pessimist but forcing one Korean beauty supply chain to hire one youth from your program for the summer and having a quarterly meeting with Charles Yoon means NOTHING! Yoon can’t do a damn thing with these companies. He can’t FORCE them to do anything, and he knows it! If fact, he works for them as a lawyer and publicist who specializes in damage control and Korean-spin. They are just appeasing you for now because you embarrassed them, garnered media attention, and can potentially hurt their pocketbooks. But don’t be fooled. The Cartel are experts at creating the illusion of making amends to Black people and pretending they will do better in the future, but they never do. As you will see in the videos below, we have been here many times before. You are not the first person to pick a fight with the Cartel. Right now you are in a very powerful position. However, as soon as you become old news, the Cartel will go right back to their old tricks. To this end, we need long-lasting changes, not smoke screens and temporary patronizing from the Cartel. The Cartel’s contribution to the Black community should be permanent and substantial — So please don’t naively fall for their okeydoke. Ask folks like SAM ENNON, President of Black Owned Beauty Supply Association, who have been fighting this fight for years.
Feel Beauty Supply has an “F” rating at the Better Business Bureau. The letter F is fitting in more ways than one for how they regard and treat the Black community.
Let no good deed go unpunished.
I would be very concerned if I were you about placing a youth at Feel Beauty Supply given their negative history and the forced circumstances of this hire. I wouldn’t want my child to work there. She/he may be subjected to unfair treatment, ostracized, abused, even possibly set-up and accused of a crime. Your organization may become liable for subjecting a youth to abuse and a hostile work environment. Don’t use a minor as a guinea pig with this unscrupulous company. This could back fire in your face. It would be better to get a $10,000 donation for your organization instead. This way you could hire a few kids to work for your organization directly for the summer. I’ll bet Feel Beauty would prefer not to have an “outsider” in their midst and paying you off would be preferred. Ask Yoon for a donation instead, and see what happens. Maybe after they demonstrate good faith at the quarterly meetings, NO MORE BBB COMPLAINTS, you can send a youth next summer.
Koreans have a monopoly on the Black hair market from acquisition to manufacturing to distribution to retail sales from the U.S. to Africa to the Carribean to Diaspora around the world. That’s why insiders refer to them as a “Cartel”. Rarely, if ever, will you meet anyone of color at the executive level. The Cartel faithfully hires only Koreans for creative, marketing, and production. Considering the billions of dollars that we generate for our unique essence, cultural perspective, talent, skills, and beauty, we should be royally compensated by the Cartel, but we are not. Instead we are routinely exploited.
From 1986-2015, Eric had 14 major Korean hair clients. 90% of the beauty posters hanging in the windows of beauty supply stores all around the world were his. In fact, many posters on display and products with Eric’s packaging are currently featured in Feel Beauty stores. Now Eric has only two loyal Korean clients left. That’s because we started raising the same questions that you are asking now and demanding better pay.
Black professionals hired by the Cartel are grossly underpaid compared to industry standards, and are treated in many cases like “slaves” with some Koreans clapping and shouting during a shoot, “Ppalli Ppalli” (meaning chop chop or hurry hurry NOW!). Compare $3,000+ per day for White agency models to model 10 wigs for Raquel Welch Wigs to $300-$800/day with unlimited usage for freelance Black models to model 30+ wigs for a Korean hair company. Compare Eric’s day rate of $1,500-$2,000 from the Koreans to $5,000 and up from non-Korean beauty companies for lesser assignments. Nowadays the Cartel primarily uses Korean photographers for their shoots. If the Cartel could use Korean models to sell their products to Black women, they would and we would be completely unnecessary and out of the loop, except to give them our money. This is a financial train that goes in one direction straight to the Cartel.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg…There is a lot of history about the Cartel exploiting the Black community:
–Not supplying Black-made products in their stores, claiming limited shelf space;
–Copying and replacing Black-made products with cheap, possibly unsafe, versions from China;
–Hiring and exploiting non-citizen Africans as a front, “The Black Face,” to work at the retail level and interact with Black-American customers.
–Not selling their products to, or over-charging, Black-owned beauty supply stores.
The list of bad-faith business practices goes on and on…
According to The Business of Black Beauty – Essence.com – Black women spend $2.51 BILLION per year on beauty and hair products. Black woman buy more natural hair, wigs, hair pieces, and synthetic hair than any other group generating billions for the Cartel.
The Cartel needs a good economic spanking. They will not hand over one penny until they lose a dime. I think the only way to get them in line is to boycott them for at least one month to start. Even better, we should support Black-owned and operated beauty supply stores and sell the products we want in our communities. I also think the Koreans should be more transparent and hire us at the executive and creative levels to define our own beauty.
52 Black-Owned Beauty Supply Stores You Should Know | Official Black Wall Street
Koreans may stick together against the world, but they are viciously competitive amongst each other, even with members of the same family. One family may own several subsidiaries and brands, which are pitted against each other to produce the most by the company, “Mr. President,” who is revered and treated like a God. Then they all go to church together and physically beat themselves in the head for being dishonest. Talk about crazy rich Asians… That being said, Eric and I have been fortunate to also work with a few Koreans who are good and fair. I’ve got a very short list. These folks should be acknowledged and supported for their consistent forward thinking and ethical treatment of Black people.
Eric and I are very involved at the United Nations supporting the SDGs.
https://sdgs.un.org/goals. Therefore our plates are full with these pressing issues. Please DO NOT repost this email or mention our names for we fear retaliation. I just want you to be prepared to fight a good fight. However, please let me know when you would like your headshot and I will work you into Eric’s schedule. Please contact Sam who would be a great ally and resource in this matter. SAM ENNON, President of BOBSA at 650-863-3491 | firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please watch these evidentiary videos:
Aron Ranen’s Black Hair Documentary – A chronicle of the Korean takeover of the black haircare industry.
B.O.B.S.A (Black Owned Beauty Suppliers Association)
Good Hair by Chris Rock
I wish you much success in all of your endeavors.
Mon-Fri: 9am - 5pm PST