by Elizabeth Turnbull
While long lines, capitalism, and chaotically close crowds seem to epitomize the essence of Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving that many retail stores depend on to stay afloat — some young Black entrepreneurs are providing an opportunity to holiday shop and promote Black wealth at the same time this Friday.
After the early morning Black Friday frenzy on Nov. 27, young Black business owners in the “It’s Never 2 Early 2 Create & Innovate” virtual marketplace will showcase products that include unique clothing, cosmetics, oils, engraved items, and T-shirts. It all takes place from noon to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m. this Friday.
Individuals who join the virtual event will view a presentation from each of the Black-owned businesses, and customers will be able to engage with the business owners on the price of items. In addition, the event will include video entertainment involving dance, singing, poetry, and rap from various artists including the Northwest Tap Connection, Akilah Franklin, Louis Collins & John Jones, and others.
Part of the event will also remember the lives lost due to police violence and racism. Overall, the virtual marketplace is designed to work toward future socio-economic justice and community-building efforts in the local Black community.
“We want to make it so that people can open up their minds to be able to build the next Amazon or be able to build the next big corporation,” said Olu Dixon, one of the organizers of the event. “Even though this business might not be the biggest, they might have that mind: ‘Oh I built this business when I was younger,’ and they might brainstorm and become entrepreneurs in their own right and then actually change the world.”
Dixon himself is just 16 years old and he was introduced to the world of entrepreneurship at the age of 10 when he started his own small business. This is the third event he and his mother, Mayet Dalila, have organized to bring young business owners together with the hope of empowering and inspiring them with self-made ways of earning money.
The business owners at Friday’s event, who range from 9 to 22 years old, either started their business in preparation for this week’s event or decided to join the marketplace after already establishing a small business on their own.
For all involved, Friday’s event — which is partially supported by Seattle Park District funding, King County Best Start for Kids, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and others — offers a place for the entrepreneurs to showcase their merchandise and interface with customers, as well as a unique opportunity for people to support the Black community as they begin their holiday shopping.
Dixon hopes the event will provide a space for the entrepreneurs involved to build something now and that it will have long-term benefits for them in the future.
“We wanted this to be an opportunity for kids like me,” Dixon said. “So that kids that were my age could get into having their own business and being entrepreneurs at a young age.”
You can view and register for the It’s Never 2 Early 2 Create & Innovate here.
Elizabeth Turnbull is a Seattle-based journalist.
Featured image by Susan Fried.
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