When George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota last month it sparked anti-racism protests around the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, which was created years before, started to gain a momentum that was never seen before.
And while racism in the States is being put under the microscope, Halifax’s Black community is making it known that it’s a problem here too. But they also want to turn the momentum from the BLM movement into something positive.
“So how can we stop this from being just a topical moment in everybody else’s life and have it be something that’s always top of mind, always conscious but at the same time build a bridge and build connections between communities and build trust,” said Bradley Daye.
That lead to his non-profit group ACCE, which stands for Arts, Culture, Community and Economics, to create the Buy Black Halifax campaign.
“We had done events in the arts culture and community and we wanted to do something that was more economic driven. “
As part of Buy Black Halifax they will be selling bags starting next week which will include things from seven local Black businesses:
- Bad Publicity Cosmetics
- Bailly Fragrance
- Delectable Desserts
- Queens & Kings Natural Products
- R&B Kitchen
- Sankofa Afrikan Gifts
- tREv Clothing
“This really gives them the opportunity to sample that product and hopefully be return customers for those businesses. And then for businesses it gets them expansion outside their community,” said Daye.
Ashley Miranda founded Bad Publicity Cosmetics nearly three years ago. She started with lashes and has expanded her company to sell 16 beauty products, including eye shadow pallets that represent Nova Scotia.
Her Scotian potion pallet includes colours labelled as Donair, Waterfront, Africville and Citadel Hill.
“So no matter where you are, no matter where you go, as long as you have this pallet with you you’ll always have a piece of Nova Scotia in your pocket,” said Miranda.
But as a young African-Nova Scotian entrepreneur she says it’s hard to reach customers outside her own community, which is why she’s looking forward to take part in Buy Black Halifax.
“It’s not that people are purposely ignoring us, but sometimes they don’t notice us because there’s so many high-end places they could shop from and they look past local and Black vendors.”
Another business taking part is R&B Kitchen which specializes in take-out soul food. They’ll be providing people who purchase the Buy Black package with homemade mac’n’cheese, BBQ chicken and cornbread.
“It’s a great initiative, and gives businesses a chance to really put their product out there to different people,” said Beals.
“I hope people see our businesses as valuable and really give us an opportunity, give Black businesses an opportunity to really have a fair shake.”
ACCE will be promoting Buy Black this week and the bags will go on sale next Wednesday with 300 available. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be split among two funds to help out the community as well as other local Black businesses.
“That’s how we’re looking to make this sustainable and not just a one time thing but this is the start of something bigger and the start of the growth of the black economy here in Nova Scotia,” said Daye.