I have a lot of mixed emotions about returning to the blog today, given everything that’s been going on with both pandemics: COVID-19 and the fight for racial equality, but especially the latter. Over the past few weeks, I have been donating, signing petitions, having difficult (yet absolutely necessary) conversations with loved ones and friends, supporting black-owned businesses, reading, researching, reflecting on my own biases, and more. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of educating myself and doing the work that needs to be done, but baby steps are better than nothing at all. I vow to continue fighting, no matter how long it takes.
To my BIPOC followers, LGBTQ followers, and followers belonging to other minority groups, I stand in solidarity with you. There is zero tolerance for hate, bigotry, discrimination and injustice here. This blog (and its social platforms) are a safe space for all of you. I want to support you in any and every way I possibly can, so please do not hesitate to shoot me an email, DM me on Instagram, or DM me on Twitter!
It’s made me so happy to see my social media feeds filled with recommendations of black artists, black business owners, black authors and more to support. While I wanted to post my own recommendations, I figured it would be much more helpful and meaningful to do it in a blog post. Instagram stories are great and all, but these amazing individuals—and their work!—deserve more than a quick, absentminded swipe. I’m sharing who they are, what they do, why they mean so much to me, and how you can support them!
[DISCLAIMER: I suck at legal jargon/terms/conditions, but just putting it out there that I am in no way, shape or form receiving any kind of compensation for featuring the following; this blog post is not an ad… you know, all that jazz…]
1) Mariah Jarrett
Mariah is one of the most talented, easygoing, and friendly photographers I have ever met (she did college graduation photos for my friends and me a few years ago)! Her photos should honestly be on the pages of every magazine in the world, they are that beautiful. Mariah is based in Columbus, Ohio, which is kind of a bummer if you’re not in Ohio, BUT EITHER WAY you should drop her an IG heart or peek around her website!
2) Trey Davis, Hustle & Motivate Marketing
I discovered Hustle & Motivate Marketing through Instagram… as far as when, uh no idea, but that doesn’t matter because this marketing company ROCKS! Its owner Trey Davis is committed to helping small businesses succeed through services such as digital marketing, write-ups and interviews, consignment and more. Hustle & Motivate Marketing’s informative posts and infographics (like the one above) have also contributed immensely to the growth of my own brand. To learn more, check out hustleandmotivatemarketing.com.
3) Nikki S. Cherry
Nikki is short in height and… yeah, that’s about it. In confidence, sense of humor, drive, passion, perseverance, strength (mental, physical and emotional, btw), beauty and talent, she’s larger than life. And I absolutely adore her for it! Nikki is not only the founder of Supremacy Dance Inc. and Supremacy Goddess, she’s also a dancer, choreographer, and movement coach. You can count on her for the best handcrafted body butters, pep talks and Banana Skirt Ratchet Fitness classes!
4) Rockell Bartoli
I met Rockell a few summers ago when we worked together at the National Student Leadership Conference at Georgia Tech. She’s a professional speaker, published author and facilitator in Miami, Florida. She’s also persistent as hell—I’ll never forget when she spent at least an hour on the phone with Chipotle (Chipotle Corporate, I believe) after a catering order gone wrong, which resulted in receiving a few gift cards! We have no choice but to stan. Buy one of her books, sign up for a webinar or introduce yourself at rockellbartoli.com
5) Byron Freeman
For the amount of talent he has as a singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer and all-around entertainer/performer, it honestly blows my mind that Byron Freeman is not a household name yet… although that’s probably because he’s way humble about how much he’s accomplished thus far! And he’s not slowing down, especially after recently establishing his own foundation (see above). For the hottest Beyoncé dance moves and studio selfies, peep Byron’s IG (or website)!
6) Tiana Hester
Like Nikki and Byron, I met Tiana through Banana Skirt (she was an instructor), and I remember being amazed by how she captivated the whole room with her smile, her laugh and her energy. T is one of the most multi-faceted people I know. She owns Body and Sole Dance Fitness and the lifestyle brand Pray Sweat Slay (which I’ve sported many times on my IG). She’s a terrific mom. She’s a woman of God and inspires me to turn to my faith more often. If you’re only giving 80% of yourself to whatever you’re trying to achieve, Tiana will no doubt
help you push you to find that missing 20%!
7) Derrick Jaxn
Last but not least, I absolutely HAVE to include Derrick Jaxn. I came across his viral YouTube video “How to Make Sure He Regrets Losing You” after I was dumped by an ex, and it completely shifted my attitude! Derrick brings this no-BS, refreshing and insightful perspective to dating and relationships that [I hate to admit] you probably wouldn’t get from your friends and family. Between his newest book “Don’t Forget Your Crown” (which is currently on sale for $4.97!) and his videos, he’s taught me the red flags to look for in relationships, how to raise my standards and keep them high, how to protect my heart, etc. Whether you’re single or taken, Derrick offers something for everyone.
I sincerely hope you take just a few seconds (literally a few seconds) out of your day to give these individuals a follow! Their hard work doesn’t receive the spotlight it deserves. If there are any black-owned businesses, establishments or individuals you want other readers to support, please drop their names and/or social media information in the comments.
Stay strong, my friends. Keep fighting. Keep supporting. Thank you.