Why Black-Owned Businesses Matter - From Black Owners Themselves, Part 1 (clip)
REVOLT collaborated with VICE News on the latest episode of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly,” which aired on Friday (June 24) to celebrate and discuss the Juneteenth holiday, the importance of supporting Black owned-businesses and ridding the Black community of the stigma surrounding mental health.
Journalist Mara Schiavocampo hosted the episode, titled “REVOLT x Vice: A Juneteenth Special: REVOLT Black News.” She was joined by Slutty Vegan Founder Pinky Cole, entrepreneur B. Simone, Village Market ATL Founder Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, Smooth N Groove Founder Keon Davis, and many more.
Schiavocampo opened the show by discussing the importance of “buying Black” and supporting Black businesses during the Juneteenth holiday. While many businesses shut down during the pandemic, Cole’s Slutty Vegan restaurant chain took off.
“I started Slutty Vegan in 2018 and it was only supposed to be a ghost concept,” she revealed. “So here I am, I have this concept that became very popular overnight and then I realized that this is bigger than burgers, pies and fries — like, people really want to be a part of this movement. So, as I continued to open up locations and do brand partnerships, I realized that I had something really special and what I had was a weatherproof business. So, during the pandemic, at first, I closed my business for about two weeks and that’s the best decision I ever made. It allowed me the opportunity to really step back and recharge.”
During the panel discussion, Dr. Hallmon shared advice with viewers about how to successfully navigate through the business world as a Black woman. “Everybody can’t go,” she declared. “When I first heard that, I was in awe of my naivety and cup half-full personality that I’m going to take everybody — and I remember my mentor saying [and] my grandmother saying, ‘Everybody won’t be at the end with you and half will cut off in the middle.’ I think for entrepreneurs, it’s very important to know that you got your starting team. The people that’s going to help you out the gate and then as you run the leg of the race, some people going to fall off. You’re going to be disappointed by some folks, some people may unfortunately get jealous of your climb, and then as you really ascend the apex of this journey, it’s only a few folks up there.”
Next, Schiavocampo hosted a segment discussing how to close the wealth gap between the white and Black communities. During an interview with REVOLT, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) stated, “I think the racial wealth gap speaks to the fact that we still have a long way to achieve ideals of equality in this country.”
Tarik Brooks (president of Combs Enterprises) told Schiavocampo, “The wealth gap is a result of systematic, economic, racially biased policies that have affected our community in ways that have set us behind.”
“I think what we need to also recognize is that to close the wealth gap we are going to have to deal with things that have been institutionally put in place that created the wealth gap in the first place,” he asserted. “I think it’s important for the Black community to realize that there are really two issues. There is the ability of our community to create wealth and then there is closing the wealth gap. I think there are a lot of things that we can do as a community that will help close the wealth gap and create wealth, including better habits around investing and creating assets that appreciate in value.”
Simone chimed in and discussed how she became a successful entrepreneur through the use of social media. “I just put out organic, raw, real content, and that’s why it’s sometimes hard for me to put out content because I put out content based off my emotion and how I feel. My assistant gets mad at me all the time. She’s like, ‘You need to post today.’ I’m like, ‘It’s not organic today.’ So, I think that is a part of me posting in real time and being authentic and being relatable,” she disclosed.
Later in the show, Destiny’s Child’s singer Michelle Williams and Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Tye Tribbett joined a panel discussion about the stigma attached to mental health among Black Americans. Williams, who is the author of two mental health books, shared her experience with battling depression over the years.
“2013 is when I first talked about [depression] publicly. I was kind of regretful. ‘Did I do the right thing?’ But a few people pulled me to the side and thanked me. Specifically, men thanked me for sharing the story,” she recounted. “Fast forward to 2018, I had to check into a treatment facility … I don’t have any shame about it and I think that it is helping. You talk about eradicating stigmas — it’s just people being open and honest. Not everybody has to shout it from the rooftops like I do, but maybe someone who works alongside of you, you can share your journey with them.”
Tribbett discussed a time where he overcame depression with the help of God and those around him. “Once I got married, my wife experienced postpartum. Everybody knows about postpartum now, but I was like 23. I got married at 21. My wife was 18 so we didn’t know nothing about postpartum. I just knew my wife had an attitude and she ain’t like me no more, and we probably ain’t going to make it because she tripping. That’s all I knew,” he expressed.
He continued, “So of course that opened doors for other temptations and I fell to that temptation, and that was a very dark season of our life. My wife and I were separated for a few months. So, that anxiety and stuff really, really increased in my life as well. Depression, suicidal thoughts, all of that — and the way I made it out, I mean, I got a relationship with God and I think that is very imperative and important. But, along with the relationship with God, he puts people in your life. So, I thank God for him and I thank God for the positive people around me that kept me up.”
Watch a quick clip from the latest episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the next installment of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” Friday, July 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on REVOLT’s app.
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