Top Image: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Hours Behind You, 2011
As a Black female entrepreneur, creative, and small business owner, I understand the importance of community, coming together, and showing up for one another. Oftentimes, small strides in the right direction can leave big impacts for a brighter path. Considering how essential Black History is to American History, we are definitely in the camp that appreciation and support for Black Culture is a year-round thing, and there is so much to celebrate and learn! If you're seeking ways in which you too can show up for Black communities and BIPOC, here are a few things I suggest. Keep scrolling for brands, creatives, and inspiring examples of Black Excellence that I personally love, and non-profits that you can support right now.
#freshupyourfeed: Inspiring Instagram accounts
Image: Castro NYC
A creative like no other, Castro's unbelievable
one-of-a-kind treasures blow us away every time.
Image: Antwuan Sargent
Antwuan Sargent, a stylish art critic and writer
is always turning us on to inspiring artists and creatives.
A great source for African and African-American History,
compiled by writer and researcher Michael Hope.
This one's for the kids!
Books focused on
diversity of all kinds, curated by working mom-of-two
and literacy advocate, Charnaie Gordon.
#BUYBLACK: Black-Owned Brands We Love
Image: Brother Vellies
Incredible designs, Incredible mission -
to keep traditional African traditions alive and
create sustainable artisanal jobs.Additionally,
founder Aurora James continues to inspire
calling on major retailers to committo stocking
BIPOC-owned brands. Pieces from Brother Vellies
are splurges you can feel good about on so many levels.
This Moroccan-inspired beauty brand
is all about the tools. Their signature Mihakka,
a traditional exfoliating tool, looks as good as it feels.
Image: Hyper Skin
Formulated to focus on hyperpigmentation
from sun spots, age spots, and blemishes,
Hyper Skin was founded by Desiree Verdejo
after her personal struggle with acne-related dark marks.
Image: Flamekeepers Hat Club
You can never go wrong with a good hat
and Flamekeepers Hat Club, based in Harlem, NYC
has stylish ones in spades, as well as super cool
#Netflixandchill: Powerful Films for nights in
Seasoned Hollywood vet Regina King's directorial
debut hits right in the heart with her fictionalized retelling
of the true story of the fateful night Malcolm X,
Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke spent
together celebrating Ali's World Championship win in 1964.
Image: The Ringer
The incredible true story behind the FBI's plot to bring down
Fred Hampton, the charismatic leader of the Chicago chapter
of the Black Panthers, which involved an undercover informant
posing as one of Hampton's most trusted deputies.
"She Had An Inside And An Outside Now And Suddenly She
Knew How Not To Mix Them," by Amy Sherald, 2018.
(HBO, free at this link)
Inspired by the late David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition,
“Two Centuries of Black American Art,” the documentary
Black Art: In the Absence of Light offers an illuminating
introduction to the work of some of the foremost
Black visual artists working today.
#Onrepeat: My Heavy Rotation right now
Image: Arlo Parks
Full of lyrics centering on mental health, the optimistic sonics
of Arlo Parks' calming voice and breezy instrumentationmakes
this album the perfect balance for these pendulum-swinging times.
image: Pink Sweats
First of all, we always love a man who loves pink. But color
preferences aside, Pink Sweats' modernpop-inflected
RnB has us boppin all day. His voice is silky and his hooks are catchy.
Listening to his album feels like Friday,even when it's a regular ol' Tuesday.
Giving us all the Bridgerton vibes (and fantastic for working
concentration music), this incredible virtuoso violinist
(as well as the first known classical music composer of African descent)
was the real toast of the town in Parisian society during the time of Mozart
- his charisma and popularity even rivaled the iconic composer,
as Chevalier de Saint Georges was much more established
during Mozart's early years. But his amazing music wasn't his only
achievement — Boulogne was a world-champion fencer,
and commanded the first unit of black soldiers in European history.
#giveback: Organizations to support
Image: The History Makers
So much important African-American greatness
has been overlooked or undertold, depriving
subsequent generations of knowledge of the excellence
that came before them. The History Makers
is on a mission to preserve the stories of
African American groundbreakers for all to learn from.
Image: The National Civil Rights Museum
Creating Exhibitions that continue to tell the story
of the ongoing fight for Civil Rights in America.
Image: Black Girls Code
Founded by Kimberly Bryant, to counter the dearth of women
in color in technology fields, Black Girls Code introduces
programming and technology programs to a new
generation of coders-pre-teen and teen girls of color.
Image: The Innocence Project
Founded 25 years ago, the Innocence Project exonerates
the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms
the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice
Image: The Obama Foundation
Launched in 2014 by President Barack Obama,
My Brother's Keeper works to address persistent opportunity
gaps facing boys and young men of color and to
ensure all youth can reach their full potential.