LOS ANGELES — It was three days into the month of March, but it was still Black History Month for the owner of African Image Beauty, a beauty supply and salon shop on Western Avenue and her customers March 3.
Owner Rebecca Opong and her team invited the community to come by and enjoy the African music and art and see the products and services available to the public.
A barber and beautician were on hand to provide hair services. Authentic black soap and shea butter were on sale. Opong encouraged her guests to talk about their black heroes.
“We want people to know about the meaning of black history so we want people to talk about their black heroes,” she said.
There was a vendor present to discuss hair and how to maintain natural, healthy hair. The vendor discussed how to wash, detangle, treat and maintain a healthier hair lifestyle. An artist was also in attendance to draw famous African Americans.
T Raw Naturals, who provides all natural products to grow a healthy beard, had a booth set up for men to come make purchases. There also was a barber in attendance to cut hair for children, men and women.
“We will have some braiders working here as well doing weaves,” Opong said.
Opong said her goal for the event was to encourage black people to take care of their own hair. She wants them to obtain knowledge on how to make their hair grow as well as the products that can be used to grow healthy hair.
“We want to encourage people to make use of their natural hair.”
She also wants people to support black businesses.
“When we support black business we will be able to produce our own places of interest for black people to go and entertain themselves,” Opong said. She believes that will create more jobs for the youth and the community.
Opong opened African Image Beauty in 1987 on Crenshaw and Adams boulevards next to a Union 76 gas station. Barry White was a customer.
After seven years on Crenshaw, African Image moved to Western Avenue and Washington Boulevard in 1994, where the business has remained for 24 years.
She opened the shop because of her five children, Warren, Sharon, Charles, Nana, and Narkie and her grandchildren, Kayla and Princeton.
“When I came from England I brought the two older ones from England to America,” Opong said.
After coming to America, she had her third child, Charles.
“It was not easy for me to take three children to babysit so I decided to start selling African clothes and African fabric from home and then later on I found a spot on Crenshaw and Adams,” she said.
Opong started from home before transitioning to her shop on Adams selling African clothes, fabric and art. That was how she was able to take care of her children stating this is the reason why they did not go to a babysitter.
She graduated from cosmetology school at Los Angeles Trade Tech College from where she says her favorite styles that she enjoyed doing were haircuts, finger waves and facials, makeup and nails.
African Image sells various products for black hair such as Aunt Jackie and Shea butter and numerous other products to moisturize the hair and stop breakage. There is also nail polish, African fabric, jewelry, men’s clippers, and scarfs. Hair services such as weaves, braids and haircuts are also available.