I’ll cut to the chase. There are a heckuva lot of fantastic black-owned businesses and artists to support here in Dallas. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen my posts featuring artist Jennifer Cowley, fashion designer Tendai Tawonezvi and jewelry artisan Ava Robinson, fierce black women doing amazing things with their gifts.
Let’s not stop there. Let’s talk food, culture and goods! PaperCity recently compiled two lists of black-owned businesses to support. Here’s their list of restaurants. Also, take a peek at their compilation of Dallas beauty, fashion and wellness brands to support here.
My Favorite Blog Lists
Many blogs have already created their own lists of black-owned businesses to support. Here are my favorites. Kim France, who writes Girls of a Certain Age, provided a fantastic list of links in her post last Friday. Amongst the links: 125 black-owned businesses to support now. Find her post here. Her link to a YouTube video of black woman sounding off on looters in her neighborhood in New York had me riveted (warning: not suitable for kids).
Another favorite blog, Honestly WTF, featured lists of black artists and black designers to support. Fashionista put together a list of black-founded fashion brands here, and they also feature hundreds (yes, hundreds) of black-owned beauty and wellness brands here. Lastly, Glamour put together a slightly more manageable list of 25 black-owned beauty brands here, as well as a list of 39 black-owned businesses to support here.
Let’s get back to Dallas and eat dessert first! Don’t miss Rush Patisserie in Oak Cliff. Owner Samantha Rush, a New York native, started out as an accountant for a Big Four firm. In 2000, she enrolled in pastry school, and she is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She opened RUSH PATISSERIE in Deep Ellum in 2007 and moved her shop to north Oak Cliff in 2009. She provides her sweets for weddings, events, parties, and more. Prepared to drool when you see her Instagram.
Recipe Oak Cliff is a fresh food concept. There’s a juice bar, a market and a shared commercial kitchen space. They offer fresh “to-go” deli style items and produce, in addition to fresh juice, tea and coffee. Their philosophy is to highlight interpretations of cultural and ‘ethnic’ family style and street foods. Find them on Instagram here.
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles in Southlake is a small chain founded in Phoenix, AZ by Larry “Lo-Lo” White. A bit more from Lo-Lo’s Instagram: The company employs over 360 awesome men & women in three states: AZ, NV & TX. If they pay their people in chicken and waffles, I will apply!
Brooha Market, based in Fort Worth, is a goldmine of beautifully-crafted goods from around the globe. I’m lusting for the embroidered clutches. In their own words: “Brooha gives the opportunity to embrace vibrations from different cultures, while also giving these powerful women the ability to provide for themselves and their villages. Join me in giving and receiving empowerment from one Brooha to another!” Don’t mind if I do.
The Rebel Tribe, an online retailer, was founded in 2016 by a mom on a mission. Here’s what founder Nicole says on her website: “As mothers, we are ALL trying to navigate this beautiful, perfectly imperfect thing called motherhood. Creating tees that show the raw, uncensored beauty of children and celebrating mamas and women who are making ferocious movements while traveling through life is what feeds my soul. REBEL TRIBE allows me the opportunity to live in my purpose. Clothes won’t Change the World. The Mothers who wear them Will.” Amen, Nicole. Thank you for following your passion. P.S. I just bought this tee.
Not Local. Still Amazing
Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 by Toronto native Aurora James with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. In their own words: “Brother Vellies creates luxury accessories that celebrate cultural histories and timeless design.” Their collections are produced around the globe in places such as South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Italy, Haiti and at home in New York City.
Best Gift Idea
While perusing the Brother Vellies website, their Something Special campaign caught my eye. On the 15th of each month, they deliver something special to your door from their global community. WHAT?! I am so in! Get the deets here.
The aforementioned Aurora James has recently founded the 15 Percent Pledge. In Ms. James’ own words: “Black people represent 15% of the population, and so stores like Target should make sure they’re hitting 15% of black-owned business on their shelves. If they agreed to do that —it’s kind of the bare minimum, in fact—then a whole ricochet effect could take place. Why not try?” I agree. I’ve already signed the petition.
Art Nourishes the Soul
Although presently closed, the African American Museum of Dallas is well worth a visit once open. In their own words: They house “an extensive and comprehensive permanent collection that ranges from inspiring Folk Art to centuries-old masterpieces and including African art, black renaissance paintings, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art. You’ll also experience intelligent, cutting-edge exhibitions and programs.”
Msanii Hous Fine Art, located in the historic district of downtown Carrollton, TX, was founded in 2019. It is “dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of established and emerging artists around the globe.” The gallery features all mediums: paintings, photography, sculpture, installations, and more. Here is their Instagram.
Pencil on Paper Gallery is co-owned by accomplished artists and educators Emmanuel Gillespie and Dr. Valerie Bennett Gillespie. The gallery features a regular rotation of art exhibits and it offers art classes, as well as yoga classes and birthday parties for children. Their Instagram is here.
The South Dallas Cultural Center “provides programs in the performing, literary, and visual arts with an emphasis on the African contribution to world culture. We facilitate enriching and dynamic opportunities for the Dallas community to experience, examine, and celebrate black creative culture.” (Quoted from their mission on their website.)
Places to Donate
There are countless non-profit organizations worthy of your donations of time and money. This list only scratches the surface.
8CantWait (a project by Campaign Zero)
There is a lot to absorb in this post. I hope something here spoke to you. If so, start there. Most of all, don’t quit. Each of us is physically and emotionally exhausted from these past few months. However, we must not stop. We are banging hard at the door of real change. Let’s keep talking and working for our black community. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
What if 2020 isn’t Cancelled?
Aspiring writer Leslie Dwight hit the nail on the head with a poem she featured on her Instagram.
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of
pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather
the most important year of them all.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts. Your support means the world to me. Thanks to my friend Jennifer Cowley (linked above) for providing me the names of the businesses and cultural centers I featured in this post. We are better together!
Much love to you all,