In the midst of a year that saw racial inequalities and injustice get a front row seat, many major corporations made promises to our communities that we have seen fizzle out. However, a few have truly kept their word and are making good on their pledges to help Black-owned businesses and community programs do bigger and better things. One of those companies is American Express who partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. to expand the first national certification program exclusively for Black-ownership designation, ByBlack. As an extension of this program and recognizing the continued need to support Black-owned small businesses, American Express is launching the Shop Small, ByBlack online marketplace powered by Showfields and a ByBlack Bazaar pop-up shop in Los Angeles on December 11 and 12. Both will feature ByBlack-certified businesses, with the ByBlack Bazaar By American Express prioritizing Black-owned businesses that do not have a physical brick and mortar presence to provide them with new ways to connect with their customers this holiday season.
Here are some businesses that will receive support from AMEX through their initiative that you can support both online and in person at the bazaar:
Aunts et Uncles
This Brooklyn based vegan eatery is run by husband and wife duo Nicole and Michael Nicholas and is an integral part of the community. Aunts et Uncles is known for its celebration of Black culture as well as their dope merchandise store full of pieces that feature designs that double as love letters to the ancestors.
Based in Chicago, Kido is the brainchild of founder Keewa who saw a dire need for community connection. Alongside her husband, Doug, and cousin Amanda, Keewa went about preserving her family legacy while offering story times for children, community events, and eco-friendly clothing with positive affirmations. When they found themselves no longer able to offer in-person events, the Kido founders switched to offering great activities for all ages online. According to their website, “Dance and music classes, author interviews, and, of course, story times dominate their virtual space.” People interested in getting involved are encouraged to join the party on Instagram where they can connect with families from all over the world.
On their site, the Playa Society describes their mission as one that exists to “inspire athletes with products that reflect core social values, like gender equality and social justice.” Founded in 2018 by former athlete Esther Wallace, the brand wanted to have a broader conversation about inequality for women in sports so they created their signature Female Athlete t-shirt and facilitated “discussions about representation and recognition.” The brand has collaborated with the likes of the WNBA and Eastbay. In an effort to continue elevating women’s sports, the Playa Society has extended their merchandise and plans to further push their mission to a bigger audience.
We’ll definitely be adding these three businesses to our list of brands to support and shop with this holiday season. It’s nice to see a huge corporation like AMEX continue their commitment to leveling the playing field for all of us.