Business: Of Lipstick and Cockroaches…

lipbar-slide-03Okay, my attempt at an elegant title is killed immediately by the word cockroaches. I was going for an allusion to Steinbeck just to kind of be a little literary, lol. Anyway, as usual my Friday nights are not filled with what you call coolness. Since I’m a dad we very rarely get out of the house unless it’s as a family unit. This means that Friday nights in our house is dedicated to my dedication to Shark Tank. I’ve been watching the show forever and this is the first post I’ve written about it. Why is that? Well, it’s simple the show is such a powerful vehicle that another blog post is just cluttering the internet and will probably barely scratch the surface even with some clever SEO taking place. So why I am writing one today? Last night two Black entrepreneurs were pitching in the Tank. The name of their company is Lip Bar. Melissa Butler and Rosco Spears walked in with confidence and a product that was actually kind of cool, organic lipstick.

Now, I don’t get excited by lipstick – pause – I can get excited by lipstick, but I don’t. I am also a realist and immediately when they walked in I shared that feeling of pride I always get when I see a Black entrepreneur. I know their struggle and I get what they are trying to accomplish. Interestingly, I also knew that they had no chance in hell of getting an investor, but if I knew this, why am I writing this post? Because last night two things happened: 1. Kevin O’Leary did his usual mean thing

2. Kevin O’Leary did his usual mean thing and it had racial overtones

Now do I think it was an intentional racist statement? Not at all. However, I understand that a lot of people will see the clip of the show who don’t watch the show and take it as a personal attack. Okay let me backtrack. Watch this:










Did you watch it? If you’re a regular fan of the show, then you know this is Kevin and he often is disrespectful and brutal in his approach to the pitches. This is what makes him a great character on the show. Everyone is playing a role, hence the nicknames. Today my cousin actually posted the video on Facebook. I very rarely get into long debates on Facebook, but I felt compelled to stick up for the Tank. My modus operandi is typically to fight for the little guy, but I knew that this had happened before. What was different is this time Kevin in his attempt to use the theme being pitched  said “colorful cockroaches” to two Black women. The reality is, he’s done this before with White women so no one should really be upset, but they will be. First here is that video:











And this is why I’m writing this blog post, should people be offended? Yes. Should people be upset? Yes. Is this a good thing? Hell yes! I don’t know Kevin O’Leary from a hole in the wall. What I do know is that every time there is a product on the show, I go to that company’s website and so does everyone else watching. Why do we do this? Because it’s marketing and Shark Tank is a machine that can launch a product whether it is funded or not. What those people who don’t watch fail to see is that Lip Bar should get a post Shark Tank bump and will now be in syndication giving the company the type of publicity you can’t buy unless you’re Revlon or Cover Girl. I guess I’m writing this because like I said above I knew they wouldn’t garner an investor. They are small fish in a gigantic pond… BUT that doesn’t mean that they don’t have something that is viable and can actually provide a living. This is what I want you who are reading this to think about, racism is alive and well. It’s here and there really isn’t much that can be done except talking about it as much as possible. However, when we talk about it, whether in business or life, we need to go in with the clip loaded. We need to have everything available to us before we begin firing away about how racism is so damn vicious. I wrote a few days ago about being prepared and the power of a tweet.

Lip Bar/Melissa and Rosco  knew they were walking into a difficult situation, just like people walk into racist situations. What the ladies did was keep their cool, present their product and talk about it with confidence and pride. In doing so what could have become a defeat has turned into a bump. What looked like failure, I hope will turn into another one of those Shark Tank stories about a business growing post show. The Lip Bar sisters took something that could be considered racist and if you visit the website, they’ve added a page dedicated to the show. They didn’t allow racism to be a crutch or an excuse. They didn’t let denial slow them down, they made defeat their bitch (yep I said it and I hope I’m right). What we can all take from this is that although there is racism and there are difficulties, the best you can do is push forward and be prepared for the moment. We don’t need to go in half-cocked, half-loaded, if we want to change the perception of who we are because sometimes you can’t change the perception and that’s okay. You can put your best face on (or lipstick) blow the world a kiss and thank them for getting you ready for success.

Check out the Lip Bar by

Visiting the website:

Following them on Twitter:

Following them on Facebook: