Today I'm highlighting six black businesses and influencers to follow. Some of them I've written about before here in my blog and some are new favorites that I am excited to share with you. I am committed to amplifying black voices and will continue to embrace diversity in my brand and across my content channels. All of these businesses have an online presence and half of them have a physical brick and mortar location so you can experience in person!
COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES
When I do product reviews or discussions of my latest favorites, I endeavor to include products from female and/or minority owned businesses. Nyakio is one of my favorite beauty product lines, I use one or more of her products everyday. As a young girl Nyakio, spent her summers in Africa with her family of medicine men, farmers and educators. Her favorite memory was of her grandmother (a coffee farmer) teaching her mother and her to crush coffee beans and rub them on their skin using a piece of sugarcane to remove dry skin. She discovered that memories likes these are shared by women all around the world. Cultivated global beauty secrets, cultural traditions and indigenous ingredients are brought through friends, family and travel for naturally ageless beauty. Current faves: Quinoa depuffing eye cream and Maracuja Soothing Oil. For read more in depth about her line, check out my review here
The latest venture from twins Byron and Dexter Peart formerly of Want les Essentials fame. Conscious-minded consumers can find an inspiring array of goods made with intention, quality, and care by purposeful companies. From home decor to personal care, each beautiful, essential, and timeless item is carefully selected and vetted by their in-house sustainability team.
Created in collaboration with Cartiera, an Italian social cooperative dedicated to empowering asylum seekers and migrants, the Bassi Market Tote Bag is more than your everyday bag.
Nicole Jennings in her store Queen Anna House of Fashion
Nicole Jennings and her store Queen Anna House of Fashion located the North Loop of Minneapolis. Nicole is a busy woman, a nurse by training and a mother to four, her love of fashion led her to open up her store in 2017. She named it after her great-grandmother Anna and always keeps scarves, one of her signature looks are always prominently displayed in store. Nicole keeps it stocked with women owned brands and designers that give back and continues to honor her grandmother's legacy of peaceful protest and lifelong commitment to civil rights issues.
One of my favorites of Queen Anna's offerings is indie Danish designer Britt Sisseck. I love her great use of print and that her designs flatter all body types, both curvy and straight.
Janna Conner Gold Mykal Earrings
In addition to great clothing lines, Queen Anna has great accessories lines. I'm proud to say that my jewelry is one of them!
Queen Anna House of Fashion, is using their platform to advocate for the equality of black and brown people in America. Through the end of June, they are donating a portion of their sales to the George Floyd Fund for the benefit of his 6-year-old daughter Gianna.
The Underground Museum in Los Angeles
The art world can look like the rest of the world, an elitist club for old white dudes. Artist Noah Davis along with his wife Karon Davis, sought to turn that tired formula on its head by creating his own museum for his neighborhood community. Through a partnership with MOCA, Noah's artwork and countless other art world heavy hitters are accessible to the public for free. It's been closed due to COVID-19 but there are ways to support it until it re-opens, like donating or purchasing books and clothing from their online gift shop. To read more about why this is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles, see my full blog post here.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY IN BEAUTY STANDARDS
As a person and the owner of a brand I am deeply committed to supporting an inclusive view of beauty. I will continue to use models of every ethnicity, size and age and partner with influencers and bloggers of diverse backgrounds. Since I was a little girl I have been sensitive to this issue as having auburn hair and a very freckled complexion I didn't see many girls that looked like me held up as a beauty standard and still don't. I understand that when you don't see your image reflected in media you feel like you don't belong. I have never been thin, have been called fire crotch and Casper (the friendly ghost) more times than I would care to admit and repeatedly been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice for how to get rid of my freckles by whitening my skin or conversely how to tan because I am so pale. I never liked my skin growing up with all it's randomized polka dots all over, I longed for a uniform smooth complexion and a deep golden tan. Neither of which will ever be possible for me. I understand that this is not the equivalent of deeply ingrained racism that black people experience every day. It didn't prevent me from getting a job or put my life in danger. It did help me understand how being constantly reminded how you're different can make you feel uncomfortable and less than. I want to be an active part of making every type of women feel as beautiful and powerful as they innately are.
Paola Mathé is a blogger, creative director and entrepreneur with her own line of head wraps called Fanm Djanm which means strong woman in her native Haitian kreyol. I love bright colors and gravitate to Paola's bold stunning visuals that she creates. She has a flair for the dramatic which showcases her love of fashion and accessories.
Cacsmy Brutus (Mama Cax) in Janna Conner Pink Larrimore Earrings
Cacsmy Brutus was a Haitian-American blogger, advocate, motivational speaker and model. She was a cancer survivor and used her platform to challenge what the image of what people with disabilities should be or look like. As a teen she was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer. After her body rejected her hip replacement, the decision was made to amputate her right leg. She used her prominence to inspire other amputees, instead of covering up, she drew attention by dressing up her prosthetic leg. Cacsmy promoted body appreciation for people with disabilities and scars, for women that didn't see themselves as beautiful or their bodies celebrated.
Sadly, Cacsmy passed away last December at the age of 30. She had so much left to do and so much joie de vivre, traveling the world and living life to the fullest. She died young but lived more than most do in twice as much time. She will be missed.
Hero artwork: Act! by Erin Aniker