Every month I will highlight a Black artist, form of entertainment, business, or social media personality to help to spread awareness of Black Excellence. Be sure to check here on the 2nd of every month!
It's another February and time for another spotlight on some more Black owned businesses. While I focused soley on my clothing addiction with all Black owned clothing stores last year, this year the spotlight will take a look at amazing Black owned businesses of all kinds. I've ordered products from each of these businesses and verified their legit-ness and their greatness, and now I spread the knowledge of these businesses to you. Click on the links in the descriptions to visit the stores, and as always, feel free to share the existence of these businesses and support these budding (and in some cases thriving) entrepreneurs!
First up is the store Own Your Blackness. Like many of the stores from last year, OYB is dedicated to promoting pride in one's skin; several of this store's many unique designs show a love of melanin and blackness that you just can't get in a run of the mill store. OYB offers clothes for everyone; even babies can start to see their worth with their onesies. To top it all off, OYB supports other artists by offering them the opportunity to design clothing to be sold by their store. Overall, OYB is a great place to shop to show the world how much you value that priceless melanin you were blessed with.
Keeping with the clothing store theme, next we have the Hillman Bookstore. Yes, you read that right. You may not be able to attend the fictional Hillman College from "A Different World", but you can still visit their bookstore and pick up on a few things. The owner(s) of this store decided after a trip to NBC studios that Hillman was too influential to not have its own merchandise, and the bookstore was first opened. In addition to Hillman shirts in long and short sleeves and various colors, the store also has a few other products to show your support of classic Black culture, including Dwayne Wayne's infamous flip up glasses. Like the HBCU it is named after, the Hillman Bookstore spends a lot of time teaching the public about HBCU excellence and encouraging Black collegiates to succeed. Visit the store and get your acceptance letter today.
And now for something completely different. Mouton Noir and Fou-Dre are, respectively, Black owned wine and vodka brands sold both in stores and online. Believe it or not, Black owned liquor companies and vineyards are quite popular with these two just being two examples. Mouton Noir is a fairly cheap wine that can be sent to various states and bought nationwide (try Love Drunk. You'll be drunk in love and hate). Fou-Dre is more expensive, but very much worth it. Smooth and a good mixer; this liquor is worth it if for nothing else but the bottle. (I mean, look at it! It's AMAZING). Be sure to check out these two liquor companies: alcohol is a very lucrative business, and considering the wealth in owning a vineyard we have to make sure these two continue for years to come. Just make sure that you don't try to buy it until you're of age.
Another product you have to be of a certain age (or at least a certain hair length) to use is the Bevel razor. Tristan Walker's product has been endorsed by several different big name media personalities and websites and for good reason: it's a great razor. Advertised as the first and only razor specially designed to help reduce razor bumps and irritation, the Bevel razor is also designed especially for course and curly hair. The stylish product package comes with monthly refills and a guide to help give the user the best shave. Bevel's product lines continue to expand and being that I use this razor myself I can attest to its usefulness. Just make sure not to apply pressure when it warns you not to...
Anyone can enjoy the products of this next artist and business owner. Kashmir Thompson of the Kashmir VIII art store creVIIIs (that's a test of your Roman numeral knowledge lol) some of the most eye catching art you will see outside of an African American history museum. Kashmir's artwork takes popular classic Black shows (like "A Different World", "Martin", and "The Fresh Prince") and movies (like "Coming to America", "Juice", and "Do the Right Thing") and turns scenes and characters into beautiful pieces in her own style. Some clothing versions of her art can be found at OYB, and she frequently creVIIIs clutches, bags, and other items for her own store. You know you're doing something right when you can inspire people like Deray and the people in your art to buy it, so Kashmir is DEFINITELY doing right.
The Hue-Man Bookstore has a long and detailed history. Marva Allen is the current owner of the online bookstore, and a former co-owner of the infamous store that, when it was in Harlem, was regarded as one of the top Black bookstores in the country. Despite having hosted the likes of everyone from Toni Morrison to Alicia Keys, the physical store closed in 2012. But rather than give up, Allen decided to move online, and now Hue-Man continues to bring a vast array of books for and about Black people to your doorstep. The store still does pop-up events in Harlem for new and established authors to sign and sell books, so as long as there are those willing to support Black authors stores like Hue-Man will be around to support them.
Last but certainly not least is a service that could likely encompass all the others under this spotlight. Ujamaa Box is a monthly subscription service that introduces you to various Black owned businesses by sending you a...well...box of their products. Founder Ebony Costain was inspired by her entrepreneur parents and one family's journey to buy Black for one year to create a service that makes learning about and supporting Black businesses a little easier. Each month you'll get several different products tailored towards your interests so that you can expose yourself to the many large and small Black owned businesses in the world. Considering that the service takes its name from the Kwanzaa principle on "Cooperative Economics" and that it supports dozens of other businesses, this new service is a welcome addition to the list of notable Black businesses.