Ten Black makers + entrepreneurs to know
We’re almost halfway through Black History Month, so I thought it was MORE than time to share a list of my current favorite Black creatives (to buy from/follow/talk about/read/youuuu know). I hope it goes without saying that while February is lauded as a special month to embrace, remember and highlight Black and African-American culture in several Western countries, diversity and inclusion can be a top priority when deciding where you put your dollars every. single. day.
I’ll be honest - when I initially decided to write a post about Black creatives, I was a little taken aback when scrolling through my Instagram feed and noticing how few I follow compared to white. I have a personal goal of getting outside of my own echo chamber of styles, brands and movements. I believe that’s where the true creativity lies - in admitting your naïveté to all the possibilities that are out there, taking a moment to learn from someone else and digging into a new perspective. So in a way, this post is for my own personal intention setting.
Some of these creatives are based in Brooklyn (most are women…ya know I can’t help it), while others reside in other parts of the US. Besides these individual creatives, some larger platforms to purchase from Black makers and entrepreneurs are BIPOC, BLK + GRN and WeBuyBlack. Hope you enjoy!
Latonya Yvette, founder of the lifestyle blog Latonya Yvette and author of the upcoming book Woman of Color (Brooklyn, NY)
I’ve loved Latonya’s street style, candid take on motherhood and all the little details that make up her life that she shares on her blog for about a year now. Her words and the images she captures on her Instagram account breath life into street scenes and truly capture the mood of living in New York. I’m so excited she’ll be releasing a “part memoir/part lifestyle” book in April!
Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle, founders of HealHaus (Brooklyn, NY)
HealHaus is a pretty new holistic healing center between Crown Heights and BedStuy. It offers regular yoga, meditation and many types of workshops. I have yet to try it out (I gotta get out my own neighborhood more!). I’ve heard wonderful things and admire their focus and intention of developing an inclusive community and their belief that “healing is a lifestyle.”
Christopher of Plant Kween (Brooklyn, NY)
Sometimes, you just need an upbeat, colorful and humorous Instagram account to follow. Plant Kween’s account is sure to brighten up your feed. Christopher scours Brooklyn for the best plant babies to purchase and provides quite the hilarious content to go along with vibrant pictures. I’ve discovered a few new plant shops by following and I can’t wait to see where/what Plant Kween does next!
Ah, I’m a sucker for a good wall tapestry…and Bleu Byrdie is one of my favorite sites to get inspired from. She also creates gorgeous and affordable prints and terrazzo. I can’t wait to see the new types of work she will produce. Her warm, earthy palate makes me want to create an entire room around just one of her pieces.
Who doesn’t love the idea of getting more sleep? We often pride ourselves on surviving with so little, but I’m really attracted to the idea of a brand that celebrates more, (especially if it encourages naps). I think Aycee’s brand is a wonderful gift-giving resource. Start out with one of her candles, you won’t regret it.
Nicaila Matthews Okome, founder of the brand and podcast Side Hustle Pro
I first discovered Nicaila when I heard her interview on another podcast about female entrepreneurs. Her honesty, positivity and resilience are what immediately struck me. Side Hustle Pro is “the first and only podcast to spotlight bold, black women entrepreneurs who have scaled from side hustle to profitable business.” Nicaila’s enthusiasm is contagious and I love listening to her interviews.
Jodie Patterson, activist and author of The Bold World (Brooklyn, NY)
I recently went to see Jodie speak at the first launch event for her new book. I was not familiar with Jodie’s story of being an LGBTQ advocate and raising a transgender child. Jodie is a captivating speaker and it’s so clear why she’s gotten to where she is today. I’m in the middle of The Bold World and will do a review on it soon.
Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians and founder of the design blog + shop Jungalow
Justine identifies as multi-racial, with several race and cultures making up her ancestry from both of her parents. But I wanted to include her on this list because of how much she puts her whole self into her blog, brand and style. She has written frankly about what role race plays in her personal and professional life and I think we need more larger companies and voices like hers doing so.
Cynthia Gordy Giwa and Glen Alan, co-founders of Black Owned Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY)
Black Owned Brooklyn is a great Instagram account to follow to see the businesses they feature. I’d say you can most easily catch my attention with a feature on a restaurant to support…because well, #food. But what I love most about Black Owned Brooklyn’s site is their map. No matter where I am in Brooklyn, I can figure out which shops, restaurants and other small businesses are closest to me.
Glory Edim, founder of Well Read Black Girl (Brooklyn, NY)
Well Read Black Girl is an online community and book club. Glory’s newsletter and Instagram account is chock full of book recommendations. I think reading is one of the easiest way to bridge so many of the divides our country has created, and I love checking out this resource for new Black literature.