Even as media coverage of protests begins to die down and public uproar begins to subside, it’s important to remember that the fight for Black civil rights and liberties is far from over. And while you may not be able to physically go out and protest at the moment, there are still tons of things that you can do to help the Black community in America, Europe, and all across the world. One of the ways in which you can support Black people at the personal level is by buying from black-owned businesses. In fact, today, June 19th, is Juneteenth: the 155th anniversary of when the final slaves still held in bondage in the United States, all of whom resided in the state of Texas, were set free, nearly 2 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This year, in honor of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests across the world, Juneteenth is going to be celebrated a bit differently. Across the country, Black activists are organizing a “Shop Black” event, a day in which consumers of all races only buy from Black-owned businesses, spreading awareness of Black entrepreneurs in their communities. So, I’ve compiled a list of awesome Black-owned brands for you to support---not just this Juneteenth, but all the time. This post will cover a wide variety of products, including clothing, jewelry, makeup and cosmetics, skincare, and more.
If you’re a fan of streetwear brands such as Supreme, Stüssy, and Vetements, then Renowned LA is the brand for you. This Los Angeles-based (obviously) streetwear brand was founded in 2011 by Black designer John Wesley Dean III, but unlike many other streetwear brands, their clothes are more than just fashion statements---they’re social statements, as well. In the founder’s own words, “we believe in being a brand that stands firm into discussing culturally relevant subjects that relate directly with our customers. We’re not afraid to talk about sensitive subjects from race to social and political affairs.” Want to help the fight for racial justice? Pre-order their new “Heroes of Blackness” graphic tee here, and the money you pay for the shirt will go directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, the George Floyd Foundation, and Reclaim the Block.
Looking for some new jewelry? Lola Ade has you covered. Its name translating to “wealthy crown” in the Yoruba language, this jewelry line combines modern jewelry sensibilities with intricate West African designs in order to create truly stunning pieces of wearable art. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings---Lola Ade has them all. As all of the jewelry is handcrafted, items can get relatively expensive (earrings start at 22 USD), but they’re definitely a worthwhile investment and can make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. Additionally, if you want a piece that is truly unique to you, Lola Ade also takes custom orders. Check out their newest collections here.
For the more social justice-minded among us, America Hates Us is a lifestyle brand whose products reflect the events, issues, and causes of the world around us. According to the brand’s mission, “AHUS offers a tangible medium for those to communicate views we hold dear through the use of symbolic expression.” And communicate, they do. With collections sporting names such as “Reparations for Black people only,” “Blue Lives Murder,” and “U.S. of Hate,” AHUS’ products are meant to encourage dialogue and awareness of important issues. As such, 20% of each purchase made from their store goes to advocacy groups for Black people and other marginalized groups worldwide. Shop their main collections here.
Operating under the slogan “For all who’ve been left out,” UOMA Beauty is a cosmetics brand created to give Black women and other women of color more options and representation within the makeup world, where many makeup lines cater both consciously and unconsciously to light-skinned people while leaving those with darker skin behind. Today, while UOMA is still owned by a black woman and 58% of its leadership positions are filled by Black people, people of all races and colors can enjoy their products. I highly recommend checking out UOMA's "Say What?!" Foundation line, which boasts 51 shades ranging from "Black Pearl" (dark brown) to "White Pearl" (very pale), as well as their Black Magic collection, a series of lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes inspired by West African mythology. Shop the Black Magic collection here.
Described as “a mecca for black-owned products for skin, makeup, body, and hair” by Elle magazine, Blk + Grn is an online store specializing in all-natural skin, body, and hair care products created by Black artisans. Think of it almost as Amazon for wellness products, if Amazon only allowed Black merchants to sell their wares. Blk + Grn is an amazing source for Black-owned health and skincare products, hosting hundreds of verified Black merchants and entrepreneurs on their website. Blk + Grn boasts an impressive lineup of product categories, including Bath and Body, Skincare, Beauty, Grocery, Hair, and Home. Wondering about the safety of a product? Not to worry. Every product on the site is industry-tested in order to verify its safety and its all-natural status. Shop Blk + Grn’s newest collections here.
Those are all the Black-owned businesses that I’m going to highlight this Juneteenth, but please remember that these are by all means NOT the only awesome Black-owned businesses out there. This is only a tiny selection of the amazing products and services offered by Black entrepreneurs. If you want to find more Black-owned alternatives to some of your favorite brands like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Lush, Nike, and much more, I highly encourage you to check out Shoppe Black. They’re a company run by a Black married couple that specializes in content related to Black entrepreneurship and Black culture worldwide. Their site has hundreds of lists of Black-owned alternatives to more popular non-Black brands, and believe me when I say that they have alternatives for nearly every product category and brand under the sun. Want to buy your coffee beans from somewhere other than Starbucks? Shoppe Black’s got a list of Black-owned coffee and tea brands. Need a new mask during the pandemic? Shoppe Black has a list of Black-owned face mask stores, too. Got a hankering for fresh fruits and vegetables? Check out their list of Black-run farms and food gardens, organized by U.S. state in order to ensure that you’re buying local produce.
The point is, there are tons of incredible Black-owned businesses and services that fall under the radar in our society. In times like these, when the Black community has come increasingly under fire both by prejudiced police and close-minded civilians, it’s now more important than ever to support the community at the personal level by supporting Black ingenuity and entrepreneurship. But supporting Black businesses shouldn’t just be something we do when the Black community is in the news, it’s something that we should be doing every day. So, the next time that you think of buying something from a white-owned company, stop and think to yourself: “Is there a Black-owned business that I can buy this from?”