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“Nene’s Secret” Founder Nene Marks Balances Hair Care Beauty, Saving Babies and the Nae Nae Dance

Nene and Brian Marks, co-founders, Nene's Secret hair care

Nene and Brian Marks, co-founders, Nene’s Secret hair care

The fun, funky Nae Nae dance sensation has hit a note with Queens NY entrepreneur Nene (pronounced Nae Nae) Marks, 42, founder of Nene’s Secret ethnic hair care, and inspired the mom of four to chime in with a women empowerment YouTube dance video and contest.

“I’m so glad we did this YouTube video. I believe in empowerment for women,” said Nene, whose name means “mother” in Liberia. She emigrated to the U.S. from Liberia at age 17; became a popular model for Essence, Glamour, Brides and other magazines and was even an actress in popular videos by Jay-Z and The Fugees.

The YouTube video spotlights an upbeat party atmosphere at a Brooklyn African American beauty salon. Millennials, boomers and seniors mingle for a joyful afternoon of hair care beauty where they use the Nae Nae dance to celebrate their unique, individual hairstyles.

“I want to motivate women of color to have fun and freedom with their hair. I grew up with my mother and grandmother making hair care products in Liberia and selling them to women in the market,” she explained. “Their love of healthy hair really inspired me to have freedom with my own hair.”

“There is a lot of talk among Black women on natural hair versus relaxed hair. I believe that you should wear your hair your way — natural, relaxed, braids, locks, twists, wigs, weaves, whatever,” she stressed. “Nene’s Secret is all about quality products that create healthy and beautiful hair. I designed products like puddings, masks and oils that are infused with natural African chocolate and shea butter. No matter the hairstyle or texture, Nene’s Secret gives women of color freedom and empowerment with their hair.”

Nene Marks Does Nae Nae Dance

Nene Marks Does Nae Nae Dance

Nene co-founded Nene’s Secret ethnic hair care with her husband Brian K. Marks, an award-winning entrepreneur, who created five phenomenally successful ethnic hair care brands-All Ways Natural, Ginseng Miracle, 911 and African Pride. She assisted in the development of the popular Dr. Miracle’s. Nene’s Secret hair care collection was launched in 2013 and  is a seven-product line featuring a signature fragrance.

Over the last 15 years, the interracial couple has donated almost $1 million to the Birthing Project, the only national African American maternal and child health program in the US.



Kathryn Hall-Trujillo and Nene Marks in the Nene's Secret NYC office

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo and Nene Marks in the Nene’s Secret NYC office


“Brian and Nene are long term corporate sponsors of the Birthing Project in the USA and Malawi. They have helped the project grow from 19 to over 100 projects globally,” said Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, MPH, founder of the Birthing Project USA, during a visit to New York. She is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on infant mortality in African American communities.

Nene’s Secret has been directly involved with the Birthing Project’s programs in the U.S. and its initiative in Malawi. The Marks have donated thousands of safe birth kits that have saved lives of women and children in Malawi by giving mothers and babies a safe, hygienic kit filled with healthcare items that can be used in a rural community. “Growing up in Liberia, I saw many women with problems in their pregnancies. The place that I came from the women had a very difficult time,” said Nene. “I’m a mom who has four children and I love babies. I come from a big family. I believe it’s important to help out others.”

In February, Nene and Brian Marks were named “NY1 Queens People of the Week” for their commitment in giving back to communities.

Check out the Nene’s Secret Nae Nae dance video and contest at:

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