“And I’m here still grinding/I need capital to seal the deal.” – Lil Baby
What’s up, everyone!
It’s no secret that black-owned businesses can be powerful vehicles for advancing economic empowerment and closing the racial wealth gap in the black community. And, like recently Forbes The stories show that black businesses can also be vessels of culture and diversity—from creating spaces that resonate with black consumers to capitalizing on black voices and talent. In honor of National Black Business Month, it’s worth highlighting some of these stories.
Earlier this month, I reported on how black millennials are redefining weekend brunch and that black restaurateurs are responding to that demand. One big takeaway is that while these business owners cater to all ethnicities, they are unapologetic about creating experiences that cater to black diners. Houston is one of the hotbeds for Black brunch, so check out this video featuring two entrepreneurs there who were the first to jump on the trend.
Also on For(bes) The Culture’s radar is a story from writer Maggie McGrath about Incredible Health, which recently raised $80 million at a $1.65 billion valuation and is led by a black female founder. And reporter Arianna Johnson recently spoke with Ayesha Curry about entering the book publishing world through her venture Sweet July, in part to give a platform to female authors of color.
But it’s not all gravy. Black-owned businesses represent only 2.3% of all US businesses (with at least two employees), while America’s black population is 13.6%. In that light, it’s worth checking out this cover story by staff writer Will Jakowicz about the super-tricky business of legal cannabis. Legalizing weed has long been touted as an effort that could create viable entrepreneurial avenues, especially for many of the black Americans who have been disproportionately persecuted for selling it. For now, such viability appears in doubt, as some of the best-funded pot businesses are struggling.
The last thing I’ll share is about Gracie’s Corner, the super catchy children’s song series on YouTube (Heyyyyy, Bingo!) that has racked up millions of views. Raquel “Rocky” Harris spoke with the family behind it today at 3pm ET on Instagram Live. (The full interview is here.)
Black Millennials are transforming brunch from laid-back buffets into fashionable instant daytime parties. Dressing up for “Sunday Funday” and going around chicken and waffle restaurants, endless mimosas, and DJs playing hip-hop are a few hallmarks of the growing “Black brunch” trend.
Dr. Iman Abuzeid is leading incredible health to $80 million Series B Unicorn status. Iman Abuzeid launched nurse recruitment startup Incredible Health in 2017 as a way to help healthcare workers find permanent positions. Five years later, she took her company to a $1.65 billion valuation, becoming one of the few black female founders to lead a unicorn company.
Weed vs. Greed: How America Failed to Legalize Pot. Thanks to over-regulation and over-taxation, the US government has squandered the easiest revenue opportunity – legalized drugs. “What does legalization do to small business owners like me?” asks Amber Center, CEO of MAKR, which makes edibles and other offerings. “It’s killing us.”
Ayesha Curry adds book publishing to Sweet July brand through new partnership. Curry said Forbes that she recently struck a deal with a new publishing company, Zando, to publish books under the label Sweet July Books, or the publisher’s trading name. She said she would focus on giving a platform to writers of color in an industry where 76 percent of publishing staff, reviewers and literary staff are white.
“[I]it’s probably not a good idea to ignore women CEOs or black CEOs. Because they bring enormous value to the business. And you ignore it at your expense.”
—Iman Abuzeidco-founder and CEO of Incredible Health
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