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The past few years have seemed like a nightmare from which a lot of us couldn’t wake up. With protests, political unrest and injustice taking over just about every corner of the country, it felt as though America had ripped a bandage off of a wound that’s never fully healed. The untimely murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Daunte Wright and many others, and the resulting trials of those arrested for those crimes, sparked a civil outcry ending in riots and disruption across many cities in the U.S.
For far too long, Black Americans have witnessed that their lives hold less value by the criminal justice system and the people who are supposed to protect them, with 2020 and 2021 becoming the final breaking point. Reform is needed, and we can champion this reform, but only if we achieve it together. If you’re still looking to contribute to the cause, we have a few resources for you.
We still encourage peaceful protests and donating to foundations and charities that promote the idea of betterment and protection of Black lives and human rights. Here are just a few organizations we think are doing great work in the fight for more justice and equality:
- Black Lives Matter
- NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
- George Floyd Memorial Foundation
- Movement for Black Lives
- Trayvon Martin Foundation
- Black Voters Matter
The need for parity within the United States is necessary, and although the talk about protests on your timelines and on the evening news may ebb and flow, Black lives will always still matter.
Showing solidarity should be year-round and not just something to do when there’s unrest in the streets. We’ve included a list of Black-owned businesses that you can support to use your buying power for good.
LFLS is a Black-owned designer dress shoe company based in Los Angeles and sports the motto “Put Yourself in My Shoes.” Its founder, Eric Jones, grew up in a harsh environment in a small town in Arkansas and watched his mother work tirelessly for years while barely making it. He was inspired and motivated to venture off and make a name for himself, dedicating all of his efforts and success to his mother, his number one support system.
Dress for success certainly seems to be one of their values, as the polished footwear they offer all have a classic design with a bit of flair added to it in a shiny toe or extra tassel. They ship their products domestically and internationally and have shoes for men/kings and women/queens. They’re all about creating the highest quality shoes with unique, eye-catching designs at affordable prices.
krio Skin Care
Tony, the founder of krio Skin Care, struggled with dry skin for years before discovering the power of plant-based oils in moisturizing and keeping you “anti-ashy.” Everyone can get “ashy” from time to time according to the krio brand, no matter your skin color, and they want to help you hydrate your skin while knowing precisely what you’re putting on your skin.
Rooted in the skincare routines of his Sierra Leonean ancestors, Tony designed a line of moisturizing body oils packed with antioxidants, fatty oils and the vitamins your skin craves that are natural, lightweight and feel great. With their products, you never have to question the ingredients or worry that you don’t understand why a particular ingredient is included — all of it is clear and from the heart. They’ve got three body oils, each named after a beautiful natural site in Sierra Leone.
Are you looking for literature to read to inform yourself right now? Try supporting a Black-owned bookstore like Mahogany Books in Washington, DC. Founded by a husband and wife duo, Derrick and Ramunda Young, Mahogany Books is eager to inspire reading, writing and cultural awareness about the African Diaspora within the African American community. They hope to give people the tools to educate, encourage self-esteem and ultimately improve the community.
They offer a wide range of books and materials written by African American authors, including fiction, cultural literature, non-fiction and books for children and young adults. They ship nationwide and are a great resource if you’re looking to support the Black community while educating yourself on history, as well as the present.
The Brooklyn Circus
The Brooklyn Circus is a menswear brand stationed in Brooklyn that has become a community staple. So much so it was featured in the popular local outlet Black-Owned Brooklyn. Founder Ouigi Theodore reopened the store formerly focused on a Harlem Renaissance aesthetic in 2018, paying homage to Spike Lee, Jay-Z, sports and Cooley High.
The store focuses on “tailored casual” streetwear that you can don just as easily on a night out as you can during an important business meeting. They’ve got branded varsity jackets, graphic T-shirts, vintage Levi’s, sneakers, with plenty of limited-edition drops and collaborations throughout the year. They’re on a 100-Year Plan to change how Americans dress and consistently emphasize the importance of presentation.
Moshood Afariogun, a Nigerian-born black designer out of New York, has created signature pieces for over 25 years, including dashikis, Buba tops and drop-crotch drawstring pants. His storefront, Moshood Creations, has served as a Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood staple for Black creators, including Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder.
They were also featured in Black-Owned Brooklyn and regularly host cultural events in New York that celebrate Black culture in the design and wardrobe world. Their motto, “Wear Moshood, Wear Yourself,” reflects their emphasis on owning Blackness through your clothes. Their colorful graphic tees and distinguished logo solidify their status as a pillar of Black culture, alongside Afariogun himself.
Post-Imperial is a menswear brand made unique by their fabric-treatment process in Nigeria called Adire. This hand-dyeing process was developed by Yorubas in Southwest Nigeria and involves an artist painting a pattern with a dye-resistant wax base and then treating the fabric. Their goal is to give these traditional practices a modern perspective and new life through using the material to make elevated, modern-day designs.
The fabric is then brought to New York and sewn into T-shirts, button-up short sleeve shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and button-up long sleeve shirts. The unique streetwear designs range from perfect for a casual day in the sun to a stand-out jacket for a cocktail party.
Bolé Road Textiles
Hana Getachew decided to marry her two passions — interior design and Ethiopian textiles — and create Bolé Road Textiles. Bolé Road is all about the power of interiors and how textiles can transform spaces and the people within them. She was an architect for 11 years in New York before realizing that vibrant colors and patterns were always what she leaned towards, a connection to the home she grew up in and the global aesthetic to which she was accustomed.
Now, Bolé Road is designed in Brooklyn, New York and constructed in Ethiopia, making the products authentic, high-quality and completely handmade from start to finish. Their products are made with hand-spun cotton and yarn, primarily by women artisans who make a living wage by working for the business. Bolé Road offers a variety of goods for the home, including pillows, rugs, linens and beautiful wall hangings. Liven up your space while supporting female Ethiopian artisans on the Bolé Road website.
Founded by award-winning musician Rihanna, Fenty Beauty results from her experimenting and trying various makeup products and routines over years of work in the entertainment industry, only to find a void in product availability for all skin types and tones. They’ve created a whole line of foundations, bronzers, primers, concealers, highlighters and other makeup products in a wide variety of universal tones and formulas that work for various skin types. The makeup and skincare are lightweight and made to be layered, and they’ve even got a shade finder quiz on the site if you’re unsure of which tone will work best for your individual skin tone.
Hot sauce, anyone? Basbaas is a Somali foods store that focuses on high-quality condiments that include ingredients central to Somalian cuisine, including turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper. They’ve got the recognizable bold flavors of the traditional cuisine, with some American influences mixed in, including herbs, fruits and other twists.
Founder Hawa Hassan’s story encapsulates the cultural diaspora her food reflects. After getting separated from her family by a brutal civil war in her home country of Somalia, Hassan moved to the U.S. without her mother and built a career in fashion. After moving to Norway and opening a Somali goods store, she reunited with her mother. It was then she rediscovered a love for cooking.
Her whole line of authentic hot sauces and chutneys is available in the U.S. and perfectly complements Middle Eastern, African and Indian cuisines. Some of their flavors include Tamarind Date Sauce and Coconut Cilantro Chutney. Her sauces are hand-crafted and bottled in Hudson Valley and are all-natural, gluten-free, vegan and locally sourced.
BLK & Bold
Founded in 2018 by childhood friends Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, BLK & Bold Coffee became the first nationally distributed Black-owned coffee brand in the U.S. Created to increase Black representation in the coffee industry, BLK & Bold also places a significant focus on social issues, donating a portion of their proceeds to the For Our Youth Foundation. Sold in all major retailers, including Target, Amazon, and more around the country, the brand has experienced exponential growth over the past few years and shows no signs of stopping.
Founded by Nancy Twine, an NYC transplant and beauty haircare expert, Briogeo is her answer to the lack of natural haircare available on the market. After moving away from West Virginia home in her early twenties, where she and her grandmother specialized in creating natural haircare formulas from all-natural ingredients, Twine realized a lack of high-quality natural haircare with ingredients you could trust decided to take matters into her own hands.
The result is Briogeo, Brio in Italian means “vibrant and full of like” while Geo means “of Earth and nature” in Latin. They’ve created a whole line of hair care products that are “six-free,” which means their products are free of these six ingredients: harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, DEA, synthetic color and phthalates. Their products are between 90-100% naturally derived, and every product is cruelty-free. They’ve got something for everyone — whether you’re looking to take care of natural hair, gain more volume, boost natural curls or reclaim some moisture.
Maison Noir Wines
Maison Noir Wines is named using the French words for “black house,” a name evocative of their “black sheep” mentality when approaching wine-making and the rules surrounding this traditional art. André Hueston Mack, the sommelier and winemaker behind the business, is all about rule-breaking and doing things differently to push the creative envelope.
Their website touts that Maison Noir is not afraid to make wines that “have a good time” and disrupt the industry in the process, freeing the makers and drinkers to do what they please. We love this and fully support this approach to making a drink that should be enjoyed and savored. Luckily they’ve got plenty of options for you to choose from — including everything from their “Other People’s Pinot Noir” to the “Knock on Wood” Chardonnay.
Founded by Diishan Imira with a mission to serve hairstylists and their critical work, Mayvenn offers high-quality virgin hair wigs and beauty products to give the Black community ownership over the beauty industry they pump billions into every year.
Imira went from a box of wigs in the trunk of his Toyota Corolla to a nationwide network of over 50,000 stylists and customers with millions of dollars invested back into their community. Their wigs are virgin hair, meaning human hair completely untreated by chemicals or harsh dyes. They offer salon products aimed at arming stylists with the best tools possible and helping customers feel good about their new look.
This next business is Kansas City barbecue at its finest. Two sisters Deborah “Little” and Mary “Shorty” Jones, carry on their father’s legacy by smoking meats and creating their family’s signature barbecue sauce daily at the famous Jones Bar-B-Q. You may have seen them featured on a previous season of Queer Eye. Needless to say, they’re barbecue masters and masters of the art that is sauce from scratch.
You might not be able to visit their flagship location down south anytime soon, but you can order their barbecue sauce online as well as other merch. Enjoy this signature sauce on ribs, pork, chicken — you really can’t go wrong. The ingredients are all-natural, and while the recipe is top secret, you can rest assured knowing there’s a ton of heart and decades of family mixed inside.
BLK + GRN
BLK + GRN is a marketplace of Black artisans of all-natural beauty products to connect Black communities with non-toxic, high-quality brands. The marketplace has a wide variety of green brands from beauty to skincare to haircare and home goods, all created and run by Black makers. They’ve compiled a list of 20 harmful ingredients that they don’t allow in any of their products nor let “clog their self-care” — only some of which have been banned by the FDA.
Anita Grant is a hair care and beauty brand with a whole host of products derived from high-quality, natural ingredients designed to make you look good, feel good and know that what you’re putting onto and into your body is good for you. They’re focused on raw ingredients that work for beauty and serve a variety of hair types, from afro natural to coily to loose curls. Their products range from oils, butters and sprays to clay and floral waters. All ingredients are fair trade, purchased directly from organic farmers and suppliers.
Sol Cacao is a chocolate company founded by three brothers, Dominic, Nicholas and Daniel, who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago surrounded by cacao trees. They loved eating chocolate from the cacao they had grown themselves, and now they want to share that art with you.
Their chocolate bars use two simple ingredients: cacao and raw cane sugar. The three brothers have grown to understand and own every part of the chocolate-making process — from the growing of the cacao to the production of the chocolate bars themselves. They’re focused on the quality of the product and the environmental and social impact of their business, so you know you’re purchasing something delicious and responsible at the same time. You can find their chocolate bars here on the Sol Cacao website.
Fear Of God
Created by Jerry Lorenzo in 2013, Fear Of God has earned a massive celebrity following. Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West, John Mayer, Justin Beiber, Seth Rogan and more have all rocked looks from the luxury streetwear designer’s collection. Lorenzo has become a big name in fashion over the past few years, creating relaxed, gender-neutral pieces that look as great as they are comfortable.
The Mane Choice
Courtney Adeleye was on a healthy hair journey and took to YouTube to share her haircare tips with others and soon found herself with a band of loyal followers seeking her help with their own manes. With her bachelor’s degree in nursing and unique, medically-oriented perspective on haircare, she realized she could fill gaps for people seeking better, healthier haircare and The Mane Choice Hair Solution was born. Each product she creates fulfills a dual purpose — beautifying and improving health simultaneously.
Now, they’ve grown to become a multi-cultural hair growth company with a line of products infused with essential nutrients backed by scientific data. These products include scalp oil, hair masks, moisturizing sprays, leave-in conditioner and more. You can find all of their products online with Ulta beauty and more information on the company on The Mane Choice website.
The Reparations Club
GIFTS + HOME GOODS
Founded by Jazzi Gilbert, a black consumer looking to buy things she needed from Black-owned businesses, The Reparations Club is all about pooling Black-owned enterprises together and making it easier for people to support them. It makes it simple to support Black entrepreneurs and rids someone of the excuses “I don’t know where to look” or “I can’t find them.”
The marketplace opened in Los Angeles in June of 2019 and is entirely curated by Black creatives and people of color. You can order items to be shipped nationwide on their online store, where they’ve got a wide selection of books and apparel. The selection of books is curated to highlight the voices of authors of color and the experiences of Black individuals.
Christopher John Rogers
Christopher John Rogers is an emerging designer who you’re going to want to keep your eye on in 2022. His clothes are bursting with color, vibrancy, energy and daring silhouettes that have everyone in the fashion world excited to see what he does.
His sharp tailoring makes his clothes artistically worthwhile and has earned him a CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. He’s also garnered a growing celebrity fan club that includes Ashley Graham, Rihanna and Michelle Obama. Swoon. You can check out his collection on Net-A-Porter here.
Founded in 2013, Pyer Moss, designed by its founder Kerby-Jean Raymond, is known for its uncanny ability to merge the worlds of Black history and fashion and producing clothing that provokes emotion and thought. The unisex brand mostly features ready-to-wear and athletic wear — specifically sneakers.
One of the brand’s most controversial and thought-provoking shows was its spring 2019 collection, which featured T-shirts that stated, “stop calling 911 on the culture” and a dress that featured a Black father cradling his child. Raymond is all about making sure that Black people are visible in the fashion industry and given the same opportunities their white counterparts have long benefited. You can check out the brand’s collections on the Pyer Moss website.
You’ve most likely seen the shopper bag from this brand everywhere over the last two years or so, and that’s what Telfar wanted. Telfar Clemens, the brand’s founder and designer, started the unisex brand back in 2005 with the focus being, “It’s not for you — it’s for everyone.”
As a means to stamp out the elitist culture of fashion, Clemens seeks to bring luxury to everyone with his shopper bag consciously priced between $150 and $257. Also selling ready-to-wear belts and hats, the brand wants advocates for universal luxury in all fashion sectors. You can sign up for product restocks on the coveted shopper bag and buy other items on the Telfar website.
Grace Wales Bonner
The eponymous label Grace Wales Bonner approaches luxury through European and Afro-Atlantic cultures. Founded in 2014, the brand has become a fashion industry favorite for providing tailored and intricate looks that are sophisticated and suave.
Although the brand is mainly known for catering to menswear, it has recently ventured into womenswear. One of the most critical “celebrity style” moments for the brand is when Meghan Markle wore Bonner’s trench dress. Known for its bold outwear and knits, the brand harps on the idea of reestablishing what “Black masculinity” means in a real-life context. You can learn more about the brand and purchase items from the Wales Bonner site.
The motto of Fe Noel is simple: “Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire!” Brooklyn-based Fe Noel is a womenswear brand for women who love luxury and like looking put together, which really, who doesn’t want to look like both of those things?
The label founder Felisha, who goes by Fe Noel, is heavily influenced by her Caribbean heritage and interdependent family. When she’s not coming up with a new silhouette to sell on her site, she helps other young Black girls achieve their entrepreneurship goals through her Fe Noel Foundation program. To shop pieces, visit the Fe Noel site.
Slutty Vegan has become a staple in the vegan food culture in Atlanta, GA, because of its vegan cuisine and its relatively controversial name. Pinky Cole, the founder and CEO, started the company with a small food truck. After having a food truck tour that stopped across multiple predominately Black cities in the United States, Cole opened her first brick-and-mortar location in 2018 in the predominately Black area of Atlanta’s West End.
Offering everything from vegan burgers to vegan bacon and even vegan shrimp, Slutty Vegan’s culture is saturated with customers and celebrities alike. Some celebrities who have dined at Slutty Vegan include Tyler Perry, Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka and Big Boi. Although this restaurant is Atlanta-centric, you can book the truck to come to visit you! All of the details are on the Slutty Vegan site.
When it came to hair care, skincare and grooming for Black people, it used to be hard to find products that catered to Black people. Starting in 2013, the Bevel decided to change that for Black men by addressing their skin and hair care needs.
Featuring the shaving products, safety razors and electric trimmers that made them famous, to more recently launched haircare and skincare, Bevel is a brand that helps fight ingrown hairs that are extremely prominent with kinky, coily hair textures. Bevel ventured into haircare and skincare to help Black men keep their hair and skin hydrated and moisturized. These cruelty-free products don’t feature any ingredients that’ll dry out your skin or hair, like alcohol, and will help you feel moisturized and happy. You can buy Bevel’s latest product offerings at the Bevel website.
Started by two MIT grad students, Season 3 seeks to entice your curiosity and wants you to learn more about people from around the world. By their definition, Season 3 makes shoes, clothing, and housewares that are tools of exploration.
The Ansel, the brand’s staple boot, is an updated version of a classic European hiking boot. Additionally, the brand stands on the right side of time, stating that they believe climate change is real, that racial and gender equity is needed, LGBTQ+ rights matter and that fair labor and pay are non-negotiable. Shop this ethical brand now on its website, seasonthree.com.
Baxter Wood Company
Baxter Wood has been created ethical fashion since 2018. Focusing mainly on raincoats and rain boots, the Baxter Wood brand is an eco-conscious one that cares about Mother Earth and her inhabitants.
For example, they use 100% natural vegan rubber to create rain boots, and they seek to lower the impact of their rain boots by buying them back from you with a $30 store credit as a part of their recycling program. Also, the brand seeks to educate as it is involved with the Green Board Organization, a non-profit that provides sustainability-focused education programs to children denied an education. Support the brand by buying a raincoat or a pair of rainboots on the Baxter Wood Company site.
Koils began back in 2009 after Pamela J. Booker, CEO and founder of Koils, started her journey by going natural and realizing that it could be pretty pricey to purchase natural hair care products. Koils offers vegan, cruelty-free products infused with organic oils and handmade with the finest ingredients to provide maximum hydration and moisturization to your curls.
The company’s products are popular and featured on Good Morning America and in Black Enterprise and Oprah Magazine. From beard growth products to products that seek to alleviate dry skin, Koils aims to be the only brand you’ll use to tame your tight coils and moisturize your dry skin. You can check out the Koils site for their shoppable products.
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