As cannabis legalization becomes more common, Black and Latinx men and women are staking their claim in the industry. But to get to where they need to be, they need a little help. And that's where companies like Jay-Z's TPCO come in. The Parent Company, known as TPCO, California's leading vertically integrated cannabis company, announced it has selected Josephine & Billie's, a Los Angeles-based cannabis brand and retail concept, as the Company's first social equity corporate venture fund investment.
Founded and led by Black women, Josephine & Billie's was developed to create a welcoming and educational retail experience for women of color and to fill a void existing for this demographic within the L.A. marketplace. With the Company's investment, Josephine & Billie's is expected to open its first retail location before the end of the year.
Our sister site, AfroTech, recently sat down with Josephine & Billie's founders Whitney Beatty & Ebony McGee Andersen to talk about Jay-Z's investment in their brand. They shared how important it was for such a high-profile name to take a chance on their concept.
"Women, in general, have issues with access, but Black women in the cannabis space? Oh, the stories," Beatty told AfroTech. "And we knew we'd be facing the same thing — which is why we are so lucky that we got Jay-Z and The Parent Company to invest in our concept."
And Andersen agreed with this assessment.
"In my former role as an urban planner, I can certainly attest to how important investment is to the success of a business," she said. "But, more than that, it's also about staying on top of, not only cannabis policies but also on top of that, to stay on top of diversity and social equity opportunities in the space. And, we can't deny that as consumers, we're quite powerful — and we know what we have to do to market to those consumers."
As the first of its kind in the United States, Josephine & Billie's will offer a unique speakeasy-style cannabis retail concept inspired by the Jazz Age, taking consumers back to the 'tea pads' that existed in Black communities in the '20s and '30s. It was there that guests enjoyed jazz and cannabis while feeling connected to one another, relaxed, valued, and safe during a tumultuous time.
Josephine & Billie's seeks to re-create these moments and has curated an experience centered around the product and community-based needs of Black women. In a statement provided to AfroTech about Josephine & Billie's investment, TPCO Steve Allan said this investment would be the first of many for the Company.
"We are committed to using our resources and leadership position to play a significant role in molding a more inclusive cannabis community," he said. "Whitney is a singular leader in cannabis with a truly standout mission – creating a space specifically for Women of Color. Her innovative business plan is the perfect complement to our growing omnichannel footprint, and Whitney herself is exactly the kind of visionary entrepreneur for whom our social equity fund aims to clear the path to success and leadership in this complicated and challenging industry."