Let me first start by saying: I hope everyone reading this is doing well, feeling well, eating well, resting properly, being active, and doing their best to not let anxiety, fear, or worry get the best of them. Amen?!
Okay, so boom.
Earlier this week, I was on the phone with one of my closest friends for what was only supposed to be a quick kiki/check-in. It ended up being a 3 hour long phone conversation. Obviously, the topic of most conversations right now is COVID-19, or as I like to call her: Rona's (with her ashy, bald headed ass!) At one point, we discussed the proposed stimulus (because, DUH... money), which eventually led us down the rabbit hole of how these changes are shifting so many aspects of our lives and our finances, how powerful the Black dollar is, and how now is the perfect time to be more intentional with our COIN. Black consumers are some of the top consumers for two reasons: For starters, we often spend the most. But more importantly, we influence the culture the most. (Feel free to read that last part again.)
That being said, we collectively could make a really big shift by intentionally & habitually making the choice to support small, black (or minority) owned businesses. This community of small business owners is comprised of people that share our needs & experiences. These are the people who create and influence the culture- they're basically extended family... so why would you NOT want them to be successful? I'll admit, finding local and/or black-owned businesses isn't always as easy as going to Walmart... but also, fuck Walmart! (Target can stay.) As much as I appreciate convenience, I'd rather support someone who looks like me, and big chain stores aren't our only options. Once upon a time, historic black communities & neighborhoods such as:
Greenwood/Black Wall Street (Tulsa, OK)
Oakland (during the height of the Black Panther Party)
Harlem (currently still thriving with black business but I'm specifically speaking of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's)
Central District (Seattle, WA) during the 1970's
Overtown (Miami, FL) during the Jim Crowe & Civil Rights eras
were so important for being meccas where black businesses, art, and culture THRIVED. In these communities, people relied on and supported one another.
*Alexa, play "F.U.B.U. by Solange Knowles*
As the saying goes, "it takes a village"... values like supporting your community should come as second nature. Our ancestors depended on unity for the survival and benefit of the collective since day one (remember, you can't spell "community" without U N I T Y.) Together, as young, gifted, black, enterprising, talented professionals and creatives, we need to keep that same energy!
Below, please find a few of my favorite black and POC owned brands, products, and services at the moment.
Some of these items I've been using for awhile, and others are new products I've only recently incorporated. However, ALL of these products are things I enjoy, and more importantly, they are things that are necessary for the RIGHT NOW, during quarantine. They range from skincare and natural hair products, to fitness, and even wine (yes, girl!) So without further adieu, let's begin with the most important thing to have in your home during the corona quarantine. I'm not talking about toilet paper. I'm talking about soap, beloved.
Anlea Essentials (@anleaessentials)
Anlea Essentials is a cruelty free brand that provides curated, hand-crafted soaps, skincare, accessories, and men's grooming items. Soaps to try: tumeric, charcoal & peppermint, oatmeal milk & honey, and cinnamon clove. The best part: you don't need to leave the house to buy them & they ship almost everywhere.
The Butterland (@_thebutterland)
Another brand to keep you so fresh & so clean, even in quarantine (I'm giving y'all bars!) They make natural, hand-crafted skin & hair care products like the whipped shea butter, the Vitamin C brightening face oil, and the aloe detangling leave-in conditioner. I think I've tried almost everything they sell, and their hair products have my natural hair (under my wig) flourishing. (Honorable mention: the liquid black soap shampoo also doubles as a gentle face cleanser. They have a wash day bundle that I don't know how I survived without before.) I really don't have enough good things to say about them PLUS they offer quick 2-day shipping!
Karla G Design (@kgvcx)
If you have to leave the house, protect yourself.. But make it fashion! These beautiful masks are machine washable and available in 32 colors (I got blue)! They ship very quickly, and shipping is Free.99. In addition to masks, this brand designs unique & aesthetically pleasing custom women's dresses & fashions.
Curvy Betty Wines (@curvy_betty_wines)
If we choose to focus on the positives of this pandemic (I am), let's be thankful that quarantine has allowed us the opportunity to have a glass of wine WHILE we work, if we so choose (which sometimes I do, but mind your business.) This business makes a very tasty (and unique) coffee-infused port wine that I love, even though I'm not a huge fan of ports. There are also other wine varieties, and they make local deliveries (within the metro Atlanta area), plus there's an online shop!
House of Zeus (@ZeusofFQLF)
I saw a meme the other day that said to try on jeans every few days to make sure they still fit, because pajamas will have you believe that all is well in the kingdom (it still makes me chuckle). Movement and exercise are crucial during this time. Last week, I joined an online HIIT class via Instagram, and to say it was a great workout is an understatement. First of all, House of Zeus played ALL THE BOPS that motivated me to power through the workout. In addition to group live streams on the 'gram, House of Zeus also offers virtual one-on-one sessions.
Fruits N' Rootz (@fruitsnrootz)
I recently placed an order, so I haven't received my shipment yet. However, this brand has been on my radar for a minute because I really admire their mission to sell exotic fruits and antioxidant rich foods to nourish and heal the body. Now, more than ever, is a time to be intentional with what we consume (in more ways than one). A portion of their sales supports children in need of food and other relief efforts via www.IHeartAfrica.org. Aside from the products, I have nothing but love and respect for people and brands whose efforts benefit the collective, and not just themselves.
Sonya Bee's Boutique (@shopsonyabees)
This brand needs no introduction and no free promo (but I'ma give it anyway, because that's how I do!) They have been holding it down consistently since 2010. I found them maybe 6-7 years ago, and after all this time, I will happily still give them my coin because they have ORIGINAL designs that I don't see everywhere else, and they are always coming through with a good sale! (I recently ordered the shirt pictured left and I'd be lying if I said I can't wait to see the faces of everyone who can't take the message. BLOOP!)
I hope at least one of these products is able to bless you. If not, share it with someone it will. My intention is that this shift in energy during this time challenges us to change and improve ourselves as individuals, as well as collectively. WE ALL WE GOT.
Until next time,