Guest column: Why banning TikTok will hurt Black small business owners like me

To many Black women, our hair is our crowning glory, and we’re not going to leave home or take any photo without looking right. That’s how we roll.

Furthermore, it’s why I became a Master Stylist more than 30 years ago and had the courage to step out on my own five years ago, with my own shop, Zo-Queenz & Company, located in St. Mary Parish just outside Morgan City, off Hwy 90 in a small town called Bayou Vista.

I stepped out on faith when I opened my own business, and one of the supports in that decision was the social media app called TikTok.

As a Master Hair, Make-Up and Clothing Stylist, TikTok opened avenues to new customers, and it offers professional education for me, both of which are crucial to keeping and growing my business with satisfied clients.

That is why a proposed nationwide ban of TikTok, talked about in Congress, concerns me. It would have a devastating impact on Louisiana small businesses, like mine. We work hard to make an honest living, And our national lawmakers need to understand that banning this platform will silence voices, especially Black voices and businesses.

TikTok allows me to present my business and my talents to an incredibly large audience, and I can gain input from the comments this audience provides. Because TikTok’s reach is so vast, I can see what other stylists are doing as well.

As an African American female, I can speak to the fact that minorities aren’t always able to access the same marketing opportunities as other businesses. Black creators often have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition that others receive by targeting our messages to an audience that often isn’t represented or even using mainstream media.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus should talk to those of us experiencing this. TikTok creates strides for businesses like mine and my art, and it gives women and their friends an opportunity to see directly into what my business does.

Nearly one-third of all Americans used TikTok, and at least 50 million Americans use it every day. More than 90 percent of these users are likely to take some kind of action, whether making a purchase, visiting a small salon, or taking a survey. just by logging into TikTok. This results in new customers.

Louisiana has already banned TikTok from all state-administered networks, disadvantaging young college students who rely on university Wi-Fi platforms. That is a shame, and a national ban would disadvantage so many more users.

When my business grows, I give back more to my community. The backbone of this state is small businesses like mine. We employ 53.6 percent of the working population in the state. TikTok is now part of our brand.

U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, a key member on the Congressional Black Caucus, can represent our voices as he already does so well. Yes, this nation needs protections from harmful global and technological influences, but Congress should be equally concerned about fair, balanced policies which do not have unintended, harmful consequences on the very people they mean to protect.

Paulette Harris Vaughn is the owner of ZoQueenz & Company in Bayou Vista.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site