They’re changing the narrative!
According to AACAP, rates of suicide among Black youth have risen faster than in any other racial/ethnic group in the past two decades with suicide rates in Black males 10-19 years-old increasing by 60%. Their mental health often go untreated, disorders usually misdiagnosed or never diagnosed at all. With little access to quality care, there’s little focus on improving mental health in the Black community, especially amongst Black males. Young King Hair Care aims to boost young men’s confidence and change their perspective on self-care. “Young King Hair Care represents our belief that we can change the narrative of how the world sees Black and brown boys, and Self Care Is King is only the first chapter of this journey,” said the founders. We had the chance to chat with them about their new Self-Care Is King campaign in partnership with Pop’N Creative. Check it out below:
As a hair care startup, why did you all feel it was important to tackle the issue of self-care?
Cora: We always tell people that what Young King represents is bigger than hair care. For young men to be the best version of themselves, they need to have moments of self-care. As founders of Young King, and more importantly, as parents of a growing black boy, we believe that providing clean, natural products as part of a simple, regimented approach underscores the importance of self-care and grooming for young men beginning at an early age and instills the confidence they need to present their best selves each and everyday.
Why do you feel like self-care for young Black men is such a taboo topic?
Cora: We know that men of all ages have generally neglected practicing self-care because it’s been seen as “only for women.” Particularly in our community, basic hair education and maintenance was taught to Black girls at an early age, but not so much to Black boys. Even thinking about my childhood, Sunday wash days were a regular part of my weekly schedule with routine visits to the hair salon, and/or going to my aunt’s house to get my hair braided. However, this type of education and hair maintenance routine was not established for my male cousins that I grew up with.
Stefan: That’s exactly right. Growing up, when I had hair, I simply borrowed my mom’s pink moisturizer and only knew to go to the barbershop every so often to get a line-up. The lack of “beauty” education for Black men has resulted in many not knowing the fundamentals when it comes to establishing hair, skin and overall wellness routines. If I would’ve known then what I know now, maybe I’d still have all my hair!
At the end of the day, self-care is all about meeting your basic needs because when you look good, you feel good both physically and mentally. That’s why we are excited to truly elevate the conversation around self-care for young black men through our year-long "Self-Care Is King" campaign, shining a light on this narrative that is often overlooked when it comes to young Black men expanding their self-care mindset.
How do you feel the social media era is impacting the wellness of Black boys?
Stefan: Unfortunately, with the influx of social media and the societal pressures that come with it, today's teens fall under one of the most stressed, anxious, and depressed segments. According to The Washington Post, more than 830,000 calls, text messages, emails, and chats received by the Boys Town National Hotline since 2012 have shown a clear trend: teens are struggling more than ever with anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. While social media can be a great way to connect, it can also bring a lot of unwanted pressure to look or act a certain type of way simply to fit in.
Cora: This is why we’re here for Black and brown young men who strive to be authentically themselves, from their classrooms to their communities and everywhere in between.
We’re here to shake up the beauty industry by redefining male grooming for the next generation of multicultural men, giving them the confidence needed to be their best selves 24/7/365.
What are the goals for the campaign?
Stefan: “Self-Care Is King” aims to boost confidence and change young men of color's perspective on self-care over time by helping them define their grooming routines and lean into self-love. To do this, we will partner with community organizations to provide educational resources on grooming and wellness best practices, and [host] experiential events in key urban cities to drive the conversation of self-care for young men.
What are the top 3 self-care practices you recommend for every Black boy?
Establish grooming habits and routines. It’s never too early to start focusing on taking care of yourself physically so you can show up mentally.
Practice gratitude. Give thanks for all the good that's in your life and the good that’s to come
Balance social and alone time. Give yourself time to recharge so that you can show up and bring your best self to others.
What are your future plans for amplifying the mission of Black self care?
Stefan: We have a huge partnership launching next month that will underscore how Black boy joy starts with self-care, leads with confidence & ends with greatness. We can’t wait to unveil the details for that in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Cora: We’re just so grateful to use our platform to elevate and amplify the conversation around self-care or young men of color. Young King wouldn’t be here today without the thousands of parents who share in this belief and in our vision of ensuring Black young men feel represented and seen in all facets of their lives.
Photos courtesy of Young King