In 2020, the world erupted in protests and outrage after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis. His name is a tragic addition to the long list of Black people who have been killed in police custody.
Between the coronavirus—which has affected Black Americans, and their businesses, at a disproportionately high rate—and the communal grieving that comes with losing another Black life, Black people are facing more daily trauma than we already do. Accordingly, it’s critical to find ways to support the Black community in a harrowing time. As Lesley Thornton, founder of Klur Skincare, wrote on Instagram: “A post is not enough. Do the research. Do the work. Do better. Talk to your friends, families, and coworkers about race even if it’s uncomfortable, hold space for your Black and Brown friends, take accountability for your actions, and do the work to make Black beauty normal.”
She reminded followers that—in addition to on-the-ground work protesting, signing petitions, making donations, and making calls to government officials—another way to make your voice heard and support a devastated community is to purchase from Black-owned beauty and fashion brands. “Black people are less likely to have access to capital to fund their businesses, so it’s critical non-POC support them because these purchases can make a major impact on the potential growth,” Thornton added in a comment to Vogue. “It’s small actions like supporting Black-owned beauty brands that help level the capitalist playing field for us.” It’s also demonstrating you stand with Black and Brown communities, rather than upholding brands that might instead exploit black and brown cultures and rituals.
Brother Vellies designer Aurora James made a similar argument in an Instagram post, urging major retailers like Sephora and Whole Foods to buy at least 15% of their products from black-owned businesses. “So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power,” she wrote. “So many of your stores are set up in Black communities.” If retailers were able to make the 15% pledge, she continued, then “real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities.” In the spirit of such investment and redistribution of wealth, you can help Black business owners by purchasing from them directly.
Here are 82 Black-owned beauty and fashion brands to support now and always—keeping in mind that solidarity is not a one-time thing. As Angela Davis put it, “The importance of doing activist work,” big or small, “is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever, but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.”
Shop it: Klur Elements of Comfort Body Oil, $70, credobeauty.com