Originating in the United States, February marks the start of Black History Month, a federally recognized celebration of the contributions African Americans have made to this country and a time to reflect on the ongoing pursuit for racial justice.
Supporting and shopping Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs is one way to celebrate and show your support this Black History Month. In the past, black owned businesses served as a gathering place for black communities. As businesses increasingly sell online and local presence goes global, I wanted to highlight some black-owned brands and influencers driving commerce forward and creating economic opportunities in the black community.
Black Owned Businesses:
- About: G.O.A.T. Fuel ® (“greatest of all time”) was created by NFL Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice and his family. It is a lifestyle brand focused on bringing health-forward products and a G.O.A.T. mindset to consumers. We believe the term G.O.A.T. shouldn’t be reserved only just for athletes but anyone striving to be great.
- Mission: Greatness is a mindset, a work ethic and a belief system that has fueled humanity to achieve the unachievable. G.O.A.T. Fuel® provides a lifestyle and health-forward products to help consumers fuel the best version of themselves. G.O.A.T stands for “greatest of all time” and our proprietary blend with guarana, green tea with EGCG, ginger, amino acids and cordyceps mushrooms, is just that. We provide the energy you need to keep going on your path to achieving greatness in whatever you do.
- Giving back: they offer a special discount to first responders
- About: Africa is not only the birthplace of humanity, it’s the birthplace of all beauty. Juvia’s Place was created to celebrate the rebels, rulers and queens of the African kingdoms of long ago, who emulated and honored beauty through their soulful and innovative techniques that the top beauty gurus still use today. Inspired by the queens before us, Juvia’s Place offers the richest, most vibrantly-pigmented essentials for the eyes, face and lips to take you from the office, to the Caribbean islands, and everywhere in between!
- Mission: Our customers are BOLD. They’re different. They’re the outsiders on the inside. Our customers are the rebels, rulers and queens who express themselves through next-level beauty, where only the finest formulas and most-pigmented shades will do. Our customers are women. Our customers are men. Our customers have skin tones in the fairest fairs to the deepest darks. We believe in inclusive beauty, and The Tribe is where we celebrate our customers that come to us from all walks of life
- Giving Back: they offer a $50,000 grant for 6 black owned businesses
- About: D’IYANU (dee-ya-nu) is a ready-to-wear bold print clothing line offering quality, trendy African inspired fashion at affordable prices. With her love for fashion and passion for self expression through unique clothing, Nigerian born Addie Elabor launched the D’IYANU brand at the beginning of 2014. D’IYANU is a fun, bold, chic line centered on inspiring individuals to confidently dress bold and beautifully. All garments are made with great attention to quality.
- Mission: To empower people to express themselves in a unique way
- Giving Back: Charity:Water, Water Aid, and EduCare Benin are three charities that D’IYANU gives back to.
- Charity:Water works with local experts and community members to find the best sustainable solution in each place where we work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand Filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water point we fund, our partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come.
- WaterAid works with local partners to deliver clean water and decent toilets, and promote good hygiene, and campaign to change normal for everyone, everywhere.
- EduCare Benin awards scholarships in Benin to orphans and children whose parents cannot afford their school fees. EduCare Benin also provides school supplies such as backpacks, books, and other classroom utensils.
- About: kweliTV allows you to discover and celebrate black stories from around the world through curated independent films, documentaries, web series, kids programming, news, and events/live experiences. 450+ undiscovered, award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series & kids shows celebrating global black stories.
- Mission: We aim to showcase high-quality content (independent film, news, web shows, kids programming, documentaries and more) produced by independent, globally diverse and unique filmmakers and journalists who aim to share their stories and truths with the world.
- Giving Back: 60% of our revenue goes to our 300+ content creators every quarter. A large portion of your subscription supports the filmmakers who create the content you watch on kweliTV!
- About: The first complete feminine care system that cleanses, protects, and balances your vagina
- Giving Back: We believe that all humans with vaginas deserve menstrual care, which is why we’ve partnered with Happy Period, an organization that provides menstrual hygiene kits to those who are homeless, low income, or living in poverty.
- About: Brand founder, Venus Williams, former World №1 and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, created EleVen to give women quality activewear that allowed them to feel great and perform better.
- Mission: EleVen is a fashion-forward activewear brand creating tennis and everyday apparel for every life moment. Designed with attitude and confidence for peak optimum performance, we never compromise on quality, fit, or comfort.
- Giving Back: Venus has a personal charity organization with her sister Serena, The Williams Sisters Fund: Tennis stars, Venus and Serena Williams just recently launched the Williams Sister Fund, to support and help finance philanthropic efforts. Their first plan is to open the Yetunde Price Resource Center in their home town, Compton, Los Angeles. The resource center is named after their late sister, who was a victim to gun violence. The resource center will serve the Compton community as a place for residents who are affected by gun violence to connect. The store doesn’t directly have a tie to charity or a community cause, however they are dedicated to using products that are safe for the planet: “As an athlete and professional tennis player I’ve spent most of my life outdoors, so I was compelled to create a suncare collection I could count on to protect me daily. EleVen by Venus is all about the relentless pursuit of your best self. Safe for our planet and perfect for people of all skin shades and types, I hope to inspire others to get outside, be active and stay healthy.”
- About: ASIYAMI GOLD is a freelance multi-faceted curator and creator. Blending a passion for design, photography, and travel, she fuses these creative leanings with an effortless élan that is democratic yet defies mimicry. The brand offers a singular view of beauty and exploration, with above passions each serving as an entry point to weave the wanderlust, the elegant, and the memorable. Quit nursing school at the age of 22, to pursue her creative endeavors.
- Giving Back: she ultimately wants to give back to Nigerian children who — like her — weren’t able to nurture creative instincts while young. “I want to go back and build my own creative academy, maybe 10 years from now or whenever the money comes in. It’ll be a place where kids like me, who were gifted at art, a place to learn. I want to grow to the point where I can give and continue giving and not feel bad about how much money I have left in my bank account. I want to be like the black Martha Stewart.”
- About: An original influencer! She became known for her involvement in a politically charged murder case in the early 1970s. Influenced by her segregated upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis joined the Black Panthers and an all-Black branch of the Communist Party as a young woman. She became a professor at UCLA, but fell out of favor with the administration due to her ties.
- Giving Back: Davis is a founding member Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.
- About: Henry started his first business at 18, an on-demand dry cleaning service for the Film and TV industry in New York City, with clients such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire, Power, and more. Henry led the company through its acquisition in 2014 — founding and selling his first business by the age of 21. Henry later cofounded the diversity-focused Venture Capital firm Harlem Capital, raising $40.3mm and making 17 investments in Women and Minority entrepreneurs in his time there.
- Giving Back: Cofound Harlem is a non-profit incubator on a mission to incubate over 100 companies north of 96th street. The ambitious economic development project has garnered support from top caliber advisors and organizations since its inception. Cofound Harlem offers startups an initial $50,000 stipend, free office space and mentorship. The accelerator doesn’t take any equity from its cohort of startups, but instead requires each startup to commit to operating in Harlem — where the unemployment rate is twice the national average — for at least four years.
- About: Filmmaker and mental health advocate Elyse Fox’s inspiration for her popular “Sad Girls Club” Instagram all started with a small film project. But this undertaking was no small effort! The film, called “Conversations with Friends,” aimed to tackle an issue plenty of women deal with: mental health. Elyse is a filmmaker, creative and mental health advocate who founded Sad Girls Club to combat the stigma around mental health. She’s committed to showing up for WOC and marginalized persons by creating community, accessible resources and normalizing the conversation. Elyse currently serves on the board team for Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty Council. In Summer 2020 she launched Girls Club with Jalil Peraza, a lifestyle brand that donates proceeds to global initiatives for POC.
- Giving Back: Founder of Sad Girls Club and Sad Boys Club, inclusive communities for men and women (of color) of all ages to promote mental health online
- About: an American media personality best known for portraying Kid President on YouTube and on television. He is featured in a series of YouTube videos and in a television show, produced by actor Rainn Wilson, and SoulPancake. Novak’s first YouTube clip as Kid President, written and directed by his brother-in-law Brad Montague, was uploaded in the summer of 2012 and subsequently published on SoulPancake’s YouTube channel in October 2012
- Giving Back: Announced a Campaign that Gives Americans Easy Ways to Fight Child Hunger and Triggers Meal Donations from ConAgra. For every view, like or share of Kid President’s video through July 31, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, up to one million meals.
Black businesses and entrepreneurs are key to the growth of the U.S. economy. It’s of vital importance that we support Black business owners, especially in a challenging COVID-19 pandemic that is forcing many businesses to close. The legacy of Black-owned businesses is rich in positively impacting our culture with a deeper sense of community and activism. Our societal responsibility is to ensure that future generations enjoy this legacy.