Exploitation and Trafficking in the Beauty Industry? Yep (Transcription of Periscope)
(The periscope broadcast is located here (https://www.pscp.tv/w/bH20kTY0MDkwNzF8MW1ueGVtb3lEVlB4WPAf-_qUwmw1x7915OPLnZmQLBT4NMO2I08v6uS_c8Hb))
[Whispering] “My neighbors are the biggest a — holes to their dog, by the way, so if you hear it barking, that’s what it is. And I whispered that because I have headphones on… and I don’t know how loud I’m talking. So there’s that.”
[Speaking at regular volume] “So I wanted to give you guys an update, so. One of the girls who used to work at the salon just called me and she’s like ‘Oh, I have this idea-’ [waves] Hi, Hi Robby! She’s like ‘Oh, I have this idea, I’m going to scam them out of the money they owe me.’ and I was like First of all, I don’t want to go to jail so probably not. I’m not here for any scamming games. She’s wanting to tell this guy that she’s going to come to work if he’ll pay her the money that he owes her and she wants me to say that I’ll come to work if he’ll pay me the money he owes me but not come to work. I’m like… you do realize that’s fraud, and you could go to jail for that… I’m not feeling that at all. I’m also not feeling this hair right now.
[Viewer asks, “Where are you from?”] Uhm… I’m from Cash.me/$peecharrifica if you want to send some money to my cash app, I would love that. [Laughs]
Uhm, and so I’m struggling. So m — — — -king hard y’all, you don’t even understand. It’s so crazy to me that I’m still trapped in this situation with these people and it’s so crazy to me that I’m still dealing with this. And this is what — I really want to write more about the beauty industry and I really want to tell… It’s not like an expose’, I don’t want people to think that I feel like it’s some sort of expose’ and the beauty industry is nothing but human trafficking or -
[Viewer asks, “Do u have sex?”] Robby… I will block you. I will block you. I bet you are an old black man who doesn’t know how to use the internet. [Looks for how to block people from broadcast] Well… I don’t know how to do that either. I guess I am an old black man who doesn’t know how to use the internet, either. I guess we will just be two old black men together and that is OK.
So I really want to write about human trafficking in the beauty industry and how easily it happens and how often it happens. Because people do not know how often it happens. And I was just talking to a friend of mine who went to a really expensive beauty school and I was telling her that the reason I believe that part of the reason human trafficking is so prevalent in the beauty industry is because you start your career off by being exploited.
Because to get you to pay, uhm, $20,000… $30,000 for beauty school, you have to have a sales pitch. You can’t just tell somebody, ‘Hey, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna charge you $20,000 and you may or may not be able to eat tuna and ramen for the next 3 years. You may or may not. I don’t know. You might not be able to. It’s a good chance. You might not.’
You can’t tell people that. You have to tell people, ‘Hey, it’s going to be this great thing! You’ll make two or three thousand dollars in a week and…’ You have to have a sales pitch. And then when you go to beauty school, you’re learning, of course you’re learning, but you’re also doing work — because the beauty schools, they charge people to come in for their services. So the beauty school is making their $30,000 off of you and 30 of your classmates but they’re also making money off people who come in. Like… beauty school is a m — — — -king racket, it really is. Excuse my language, I’m going to try to do better, but beauty school is a racket.
So you start your career off being exploited and that exploitation becomes really normalized. It’s just accepted, it’s just the way it should be. Then you have to pay to take your tests, you have to pay for your license… in a sense you start off being exploited by everybody. And because that exploitation is really normal, then what is abnormal about going into a salon and being exploited to the tune of 70 to 80% of the money you make, stealing your tips, people verbally abusing you, like… When that kind of exploitation, that kind of abuse is normalized, what else do you expect?
You… You don’t expect to be treated like a human being, you don’t expect to have rights, you don’t expect to be respected, you don’t expect to be safe because you’ve never been safe. And I’m not saying people don’t have a great experience in the beauty industry, I’m not saying people don’t have a great experience at school — I did! I paid a ton of money to go to school — still paying off the loans for it though. In fact still paying off the loans for it 16 years later, if that tells you anything about the money you can make, if that tells you anything.
I’m not saying people aren’t successful, because you hear about celebrity hairstylists, celebrity nail artists all the time, people getting jobs in television and movie work, you hear about things like that. But for the most part, as a whole part, I see the beauty industry, really, the same way I see the sex industry. There are these few, and far between by the way, these few people who can make these incredible livings off of this, but then, for the most part, it’s a bunch of people just trying to survive. It’s a bunch of people just trying to eat and pay bills — which is fine, I just feel like it comes down to the same thing that it came down to for me in the sex industry: that there are just so. many. lies. And those lies allow people to be exploited, to be used, to be abused.
So when I’m sitting here, thinking about the salon that I worked in and the things that they did to me… and the fact that I’m over 35 and I still fell for the sh — t… I can’t help but feel sorry for the thousands of people I know are in beauty school right now and they’re thinking, ‘I’m gonna make a living. I’m gonna have this great life. I’m gonna do all these wonderful things. I’m never going to have to worry about money again, I’m going to spend my days being creative’ and all those things they tell you to get you to sign that contract, to get you to sign that paper, when really? You’re gonna do the same thing we’re all doing: struggling to survive.
You’re going to enjoy it because you’re creative! You are a creative, that’s in your heart, so you’re going to enjoy that creating-something-out-of-nothing, making people feel beautiful, making people look beautiful, impacting the world and making it a better place, interacting with people on an individual, personalized level where you can see a direct impact of who you are and a direct impact of what you’ve done. Those things will happen so they make the time pass a little quicker, the time pass a little easier, but the truth is, the truth is: so. many. people. in the beauty industry are abused. So many people in the beauty industry are exploited.
As beauticians, nail artists, estheticians, massage therapists, whatever you are, if you’re not doing your part to alleviate that pain and that suffering, if you’re not doing your part to end that exploitation, to end what honestly amounts to human trafficking, then what are you doing? Really, if you’re not doing your part to end it, what are you doing?
And for me, that’s my part and that’s where I’m at. Because I’ve just decided that most likely I’m never going back to the beauty industry. I’m done with that part of my life, that part of my journey. What have I done with it? If I know what’s happening and I choose to do nothing, then what have I done with it?
It’s unbelievable some of the abuse that people face in both the sex industry and the beauty industry. It’s odd that they’re so closed tied together, because both of them are built and predicated on — this is probably boring to a lot of people, that’s ok — for me, like I was saying, they’re both predicated on serving other people, making other people feel good, playing to your guest’s ego in exchange for money, people always assume you never need the money because you have so much, they never, as a consumer, worry about your working conditions or what’s expected of you, what’s done to you in any given day; They never consider any of that. So it’s up to you, as a worker, especially those of you who are successful workers, it’s up to you as the successful worker to eradicate the conditions that lead to this type of abuse. Just point period black, it’s up to you. And if you’re never going to do it, then what are you doing?
And this goes back to DACA, everything that happened in Charlottesville, everything that’s happening with social justice in America, how this country treats immigrants… It’s up to us to realize that: we are privileged to not be in that situation, to try our best to understand what comes from that situation, to try our best to understand what it must be like to be a person in that situation, and then to do our best to eradicate the negative parts of that situation — primarily by listening to people who are inside of it telling us what they need and then giving them what they need. This goes back to #GiveYourMoneyToWomen and #GiveYourMoneyToBlackWomen, invest in small business, invest in businesspeople who are invested in their communities; invested in people; and invested in being a force for change in the world and being a force for good rather than somebody who just wants to line their pockets and not care what happens to another person.
Anyway, again hashtag #PeechGoesToCollege. Can I just? I just wanna go to college… and not be $200,000 in debt when I finish my masters. That’s what I want and… I want to be able to help people. I want to be able to say that I lived through this for a reason, I want to be able to say that, in the end, I spent 20 years in this business and that it led to something. It wasn’t just me lining my own m — — — — king pockets with a little bit of change. That it was for a reason — because I think about migrant workers who are not fluent in English, who can’t go talk to someone, who can’t do a periscope and say, ‘I’m being abused, I’m being exploited, I can’t get away, I can’t leave.’
I want to do something to help people, that’s what I’ve always wanted. Sex work or nails, it doesn’t matter, that’s what I’ve always wanted.
I just want to go to college.