10 Black-Owned Businesses That Will Bring You Joy

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I’m a huge advocate of Black-owned businesses for a number of reasons.

  1. Because I’m Black and I want to see other Black people succeed. The success of Black entrepreneurs is interconnected to the overall success and upward mobility of our local communities.
  2. Because many Black-owned businesses fulfill needs that mainstream society usually avoids, doesn’t care about or hasn’t discovered.
  3. Read number 1 again.

So, I just wanted to take a moment to spotlight 10 Black-owned businesses (and non-profits) that are making Black joy a priority and part of their core mission. This list includes a diverse set of health, arts, entertainment, entrepreneurial and culturally focused Black-owned businesses. Some are well known. Some are lesser known. But all are amazing. Check them out.

1. Afro Flow Yoga owned by Leslie Salmon Jones
Located in Cambridge, MA
Business synopsis (link):

Afro Flow Yoga infuses electrifying dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence of gentle yet powerful stretches. Deeply connect with the soulful rhythmic drums, energize your chakras, gain strength and flexibility and rejoice in the bliss of feeling renewed, grounded and peaceful!

2. Black Earth Products owned by Taliah Waajid
Located in Smyrna, GA
Business synopsis (link):

Taliah Waajid has always been at the very core of the natural hair movement. These days her company is still leading the way in innovation and education. For 20 years Taliah Waajid products have set the standard in the natural hair community. That includes the largest consumer trade show that celebrates natural hair, health and beauty, known as naturalhairshow.org. Natural hair isn’t a trend for Taliah Waajid, it is a lifestyle that encompasses everything the consumer cares about.

3. The Urban Movie Channel created by Robert L. Johnson
Located in Silver Spring, MD
Business Synopsis (link):

Urban Movie Channel launched in November 2014, and was created by Robert L Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) and founder of BET. UMC is a premium subscription-based video streaming service exclusive to RLJE and is devoted to the acquisition of feature films, comedy specials, stage plays, documentaries, music, and entertainment for African American and urban audiences, with plans to move into future development and production. New titles are added weekly in addition to the more than 200 titles in the UMC library!

4. Compton’s Grocery Outlet owned by Kia Patterson
Located in Compton, CA
Business Synopsis (link):

Grocery Outlet is the nation’s largest extreme value Grocery Store with 270+ independently operated stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

5. Shades of Afrika owned by Renee Quarles
Located in Long Beach, CA and Corona, CA
Business Synopsis (link):

Shades of Afrika began with a concept when we noticed that there were too few places that offered affordable Afrikan Art, Afrikan made products, and even fewer book stores. There seemed to be a pressing need to tell our story, establish ourselves in the community,  and provide a positive environment for businesses in our community.

There were lots of Afrikan writers, artists, jewelry makers, seamstresses, and entrepreneurs, in the area and they helped bring Shades of Afrika to life…

 

Shades of Afrika has evolved from being a small retail store to a cultural center that hosts a variety of social and educational events, lectures and study groups.

6. NuVegan Cafe owned by Vernon and Lynn Woodland
Located in College Park, MD and Washington, DC
Business Synopsis (link):

NuVegan Café was created through a process of evolution and change. It started with a union which produced a dream that evolved into an idea that 2 young hardworking individuals could combine their expertise to create the perfect business concept. One would possess the formal training, while the other would bring much of the product knowledge to the table. They met at the age of 19 and knew instantly that they were meant to be together. They were unaware of the extent of this connection or even where it would take them, but it was evident that a power much greater, had already preordained this union.

With a bond that seemed to supersede time, what they discovered, was that a common love for cooking would be the main reason their destinies were intertwined. Vernon’s background in food was more practical, while Mickiyah’s was inherited. His decision to explore the culinary arts was influenced by a school presentation (after hearing the odds for the future of young black males within the arena of sports) that would eventually lead him to advanced studies within the culinary arts program in New England. She would find her “place” in the kitchen by way of upbringing. Born and raised as a vegan, her love for nutrition and food preparation was developed through her involvement in her family’s own vegan restaurant in Bermuda.

7. Afriky Lolo founded by Diádié Bathily
Located in St. Louis, MO
Non-profit Synopsis (link): 

Afriky Lolo, founded and led by Diádié Bathily, is a West African dance non-profit corporation that is committed to bringing West African dance and culture to the St. Louis, Missouri, community through teaching and performing. Bathily is a Master dancer from the Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. He immigrated to the United States in 1998. He has a strong personal and professional desire to share the beauty, culture and passion of West African dance with Americans, especially African Americans.

8. I Love Being Black founded by Kumi Rauf
Located in Oakland, CA
Business Synopsis (link):

Mission: To increase positivity, awareness and action amongst Black people worldwide.

Established in 2003, iLoveBeingBlack.com entered the fashion scene with I love being Black apparel and accessories. These products are sold online and at marketplaces, festivals, expos and trade shows.

9. Noirbnb co-founded by Stefan Grant
Located EVERYWHERE
Business Synopsis (link):

Noirbnb is a global travel community that provides experiences and events with a focus on including and celebrating travelers of color. Our accommodations take our guests all around the world to popular destinations and events inspired by the African diaspora. Noirbnb was born in October 2015 after our co-founder, Stefan’s experience while booking a stay in Atlanta. We realized Stef’s experience was not an isolated case and more importantly, that there was an opportunity to create a better, safer experience for travelers of color. Joining our community is a pledge to treat all members of Noirbnb with respect, regardless of their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, ability, age, or orientation.

Simply, Noirbnb was designed to be a game-changer in travel, events, and lifestyle by curating authentic experiences for the Black traveler. Whether it’s monetizing your space for additional income, booking a trip, finding your next vibe or connecting with people who share your interests, Noirbnb is your home away from home.

10. Happy Black Woman owned by Rosetta Thurman
Located in San Diego, California
Business synopsis (link):

Rosetta Thurman is the Founder & CEO of Happy Black Woman, a global personal development company dedicated to educating, inspiring and empowering black women to create their ideal lives. She is committed to helping black women all over the world experience happiness, success and freedom in business and in life. Through training, coaching and mentoring, Rosetta teaches black women how to transform their mindset so that they can achieve their big goals faster than they ever thought possible.

Know some great Black-owned businesses in your area? Share them below.

 

Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor is the founder of OurLegaci.com. To reach Jessica, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/JAMAiwuyor.

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Walmart The Welfare Queen

Photo Credit: Amazon

Photo Credit: Amazon

Perhaps Walmart executives should hold a private viewing of the Lion King to learn about the Circle Of Life. After fighting tooth and nail against living wages for employees and working with ALEC, Walmart’s own selfishness is catching up with them. As one of the largest corporations on the planet, Walmart execs work tirelessly to prevent its underpaid employees from getting higher wages and health insurance benefits. Walmart now faces a 21% loss in its fourth quarter and it’s blaming the expiration of food stamp benefits.

On Thursday Wal-Mart reported a 21 percent decline in its fourth-quarter profit. The company said that the Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in food stamps is hurting its shoppers’ ability to spend. It’s also caught up in the debate about minimum wages and dealing with increasing competition from dollar stores and grocers. – MSN Money

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Walmart has plans underway to open up 6 stores in Washington, DC and threatened to pull out if the DC Council approved a new living wage bill. The council approved it anyway but not surprisingly the bill was vetoed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in an attempt to keep peace with Walmart.

Mike Debonis of the Washington Post states,”The city’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. The bill would raise the annual earnings of a full-time employee making the lowest legal wage from about $17,000 to $26,000.”  It should be noted that $26,000 is just above the Federal Poverty Line for a family of four. At a pay rate much lower than this with limited hours, it’s easy to understand why one Walmart store hosted food donation drives for it’s own employees.

Walmart’s new 21% loss means that in addition to the government subsidizing Walmart’s low wages by providing its employees with food stamps, the government is also a prime provider of funds to Walmart through its customers. Meaning that Walmart depends on food stamp recipients as a key consumer base. Now that those benefits are ending Walmart is in a crunch. Perhaps if they spent more time making sure that their employees could survive without needing food-banks, they would understand that pushing for legislation against the working class is not only unethical but harmful for business. People go to work, get paid and buy things. If they don’t have even money for basic needs like food, potential consumers are not going shopping. Walmart is a prime example of how “job creator” initiatives are hurting the economy. Suddenly Walmart is considering a new found support of Federal minimum wage increase.

Bloomberg.com reports, “David Tovar, a company spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. Increasing the minimum wage means that some of the 140 million people who shop at the chain weekly would “now have additional income.”

I guess they’re finally learning how this works.  The next time a conservative drones on about “entitlements” and poor people bashing, remind them that Walmart survives on food stamps, tax write offs and subsidies. They’re one of the biggest Welfare Queens in the land.

JamAllen2-nb-smallJessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of OurLegaci.com & BlackBloggersConnect.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com.

Follow OurLegaci on Facebook at Facebook.com/OurLegaci.

Being The Only Black Person At Your Job

Being the only Black person at your job can be a daunting and highly interesting experience. For those of us in the corporate world, we’ve all dealt with the awkward silences, the “hair” conversation, the name pronunciation lesson and much more. For those of us that have experienced being the only Black person at work, we often have to hide our inner feelings and thoughts in order to survive. Thankfully a web series called the Unwritten Rules, focuses on this very situation. The web series is based on a young Black woman named Racey who has just started her new job as a manager. Her first day is full of common instances that Black people deal with in the work place. After its first episode, this show quickly went viral.

Spread The Word. Share This Post!

 

IMG_0054-ZF-7906-35913-1-001-006Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of OurLegaci.com & BlackBloggersConnect.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com. Follow Jessica @TweetingJAM.

Follow OurLegaci at Facebook.com/OurLegaci.

 

 

If You Want To Be A Writer, Write!

We all have that fear. What if we don’t succeed? What if we are just wasting our time trying to be a writer, poet, blogger, entrepreneur, etc. Its the fear of failure that drives us away from pursuing our dreams. Meanwhile, time is ticking and opportunities are passing. For those of us who are dreamers, we can’t let this happen. If we really want something, we have to go after it. If you want to be a writer, write. But write like its the only thing for you in the world.

Put your entire spirit and soul into it and never give up. We all become afraid sometimes but left fear stifle you or hold you back. So let the fear be your motivation and push through it. You never know what you might accomplish if you never really try. The last thing you want to do is waste 30 years of your life doing something that is not your passion and wondering “what if?” And if you have already spent years doing something that is not fulfilling you, know that it is not too late. As long as you are still breathing, there is an opportunity for you to follow your passion. Just do it!

Jessica Ann Mitchell has a M.S. in Public Relations and a M.A. in Pan-African Studies. Mitchell specializes in multicultural outreach and communications. She also writes on her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM email her at mitchelljessicaann@gmail.com.

If you believe in the power of people. Please share the link to this article on Twitter and Facebook and let us know about it. We will give you a shout-out on our next article and we’ll link to your blog or website.

Stop Apologizing For Being Black: Natural Hair In The Workplace

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During this recent dip in the economy, many Black people have been forced to endure the dogged job hunt chase. Many of us are qualified (or over-qualified) citizens with plenty of talent and credentials. However, by being Black we are placed in a unique situation of double-consciousness. In the case of black women, we face a somewhat triple- oppression having to deal with our color, sex and socio-economic statuses. One key factor in the job hunt fiasco that specifically affects Black women is our hair. On countless blogs, websites and forums the questions continue to be asked, “ Is natural hair unprofessional?” or “Should I straighten my hair or wear a wig to get a job?” I have seen a plethora of answers and there is always the dreaded conclusion that we must alter ourselves in order to gain employment.

However this issue is much deeper than being about employment. When are we going to realize that the more we continue to alter ourselves to please “others”, the more we are succumbing to the sub-human state of existence that is being placed upon us? This is an issue of forcing the world to recognize our humanity, our God given right to exist the way we were created. When we change our hair, skin or body to please other people we are in essence saying, “You’re right, there is something wrong with being Black.”

When is the last time you saw a discussion about Caucasian women afraid to wear their hair straight for fear of unemployment?

You’ve never seen it because it doesn’t exist. European phenotypes are unfortunately perceived as normal. Meanwhile, African phenotypes are viewed as abnormal in a society that is predominantly Eurocentric. This is why multi-million dollar companies such as Nivea can create advertisements referring to Black hair as “uncivilized” without seeing anything wrong with it. However, this can change and it’s changing more and more everyday. It takes persistence, even in the face of hardships, to make the world respect our right to humanity. We are not three fifths of a man. We are human beings on this planet and we have a right to exist fully and completely.

The more we allow ourselves to be disrespected, the more we will continue to face blatant and overt discrimination concerning our hair, skin and bodies. Furthermore, do you really want to work for a place that does not respect you or your heritage? Wear your hair kinky, curly, straight, bald, twisted or braided but please do your hair the way it pleases you. Not someone else. Let us stop apologizing for being Black. We have to make the world recognize and respect who we are, as we are, unapologetically.

 

Jessica Ann Mitchell-Aiwuyor is a writer, social justice advocate and the founder of Our Legaci. Learn more about her work at JessicaAnnMitchell.com. Email JAM at OurLegaci@gmail.com.

@TweetingJAM – Facebook.com/OurLegaci – Facebook.com/JessicaAnnMitchellAiwuyor