“And I’m out here still grinding it / I need parity to seal the deal.” – Lil Baby
What’s up, you all!
It’s no secret that black-owned businesses can be powerful tools for advancing economic empowerment and closing the racial wealth gap in the black community. And, as recently Forbes the stories illustrate, black businesses can also be vessels of culture and diversity—from creating spaces that resonate with black consumers to betting on black voices and talents. In honor of National Black Business Month, some of these stories are worth highlighting.
I reported earlier this month how black millennials are redefining weekend brunch, and black restaurants are filling that demand. A big plus is that while these business owners serve all ethnicities, they are unapologetic about creating experiences that cater to diners of color. Houston is one of the hot spots for black breakfast, so check out this video featuring two entrepreneurs there who were early drivers of the trend.
Also on For(bes) The Culture’s radar is a story by staff writer Maggie McGrath about Incredible Health, which recently raised $80 million at a $1.65 billion valuation and is led by a black woman founder. And journalist Arianna Johnson recently spoke with Ayesha Curry about entering the world of book publishing 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 make up only 2.3% of all businesses in the US (with at least two employees), while America’s black population is 13.6%. With that in mind, it’s worth checking out this cover story by staff writer Will Yakowicz on the super-tricky business of legal cannabis. Legalizing weed has long been touted as an effort that could create viable entrepreneurial pathways, especially for many of the black Americans who have been disproportionately prosecuted for selling it. So far, such sustainability seems in doubt as some of the most well-resourced pot businesses are going through a rough patch.
The last thing I’ll share is about Gracie’s Corner, the super cute YouTube series of children’s songs (Heyyyyy, Bingo!) that has racked up millions of views. Raquel “Rocky” Harris is speaking with the family behind her today at 3pm ET on Instagram Live. (The full interview is here.)
Black Millennials are transforming brunch from stodgy buffets to fashionable day parties. Dressing up in “Sunday Funday” and going to the restaurant for chicken and waffles, endless mimosas and DJs playing hip-hop are some hallmarks of the growing Black brunch trend.
Dr. Iman Abuzeid drives incredible health to unicorn status with $80 million Series B. Iman Abuzeid launched nurse recruitment startup Incredible Health in 2017 as a way to help healthcare workers find permanent positions. Five years later, she has led 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 blown the easiest revenue opportunity ever – legalized drugs. “What is legalization doing to small business owners like me?” asks Amber Senter, CEO of MAKR, which makes pot-packed meals and other offerings. “It’s killing us.”
Ayesha Curry adds book release to sweet July brand through new partnership. Curry told him Forbes that she recently struck a deal with new book publishing company Zando to publish books under the Sweet July Books imprint, or the publishing trade name. She said she will emphasize giving writers of color a platform in an industry where 76% of publishing staff, reviewers and literary staff are white.
“[I]Maybe it’s not a good idea to overlook female CEOs or black CEOs. Because they are driving a lot of value in the business. And you bypass it at your expense.”
–Iman AbuzeidCo-founder and CEO of Incredible Health
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