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FutureStarrHow Black Market Flea and Everyday People Bring the Buzz of Black Life to Shopping Centers
Every third Sunday of the month, Black-owned businesses and artists come together at Black Market Flea in Los Angeles for a community gathering where Black love is celebrated through products, room decor, food items, drinks and trendy apparel.
Sola Ekunseitan and Bri Mobley created this monthly event to elevate Black business owners while cultivating vibrant Black pride, culture and support.
Flea markets offer great bargains on vintage clothing, accessories, and home decor items. Additionally, they can be an opportunity to support local entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses.
New York City boasts an abundance of flea markets, many dedicated to Black-owned businesses. Hell's Kitchen Flea in Brooklyn hosts a weekly flea market featuring over 135 vendors from fashion to vinyl records.
Mayah Hatcher founded Market Night to give market goers a platform to show off their talents and build community. Each month, people from around the city come together in one location, bringing with them their distinct culture and tastes.
Many flea market vendors in New York City are local businesspeople. But some venture out of town to sell their wares. Rawshawn Gabriel, for instance, creates pants out of tapestry blankets in 90 minutes flat - each pair unique from each other! He says his process takes around 90 minutes per pair.
The flea market industry has a long-standing tradition, dating back to the 1800s. The term "flea market" originated from France and described outdoor markets filled with repurposed goods and merchandise.
Many people find flea markets to be an enjoyable way to venture outside the house and discover new neighborhoods or places they've never been before. In some cases, these markets even serve as great opportunities to meet new people.
Others, however, find these markets to be an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. In fact, some flea markets have become gathering spots where families come together during special occasions like holidays or just to hang out.
New York boasts an abundance of flea markets, from Brooklyn to Astoria to Manhattan. Some are better quality than others, but all offer great opportunities to pick up great deals on items you love while supporting local artists and vendors.
Brooklyn's Black-Owned Brooklyn website is an invaluable resource for locals searching for Black-owned businesses and their owners. This digital publication promotes local Black businesses and the people behind them, while also documenting the city's African American residents and their stories that make it such a vibrant borough.
As Black Americans continue their fight for racial justice, they are finding new ways to support local Black-owned businesses. Entrepreneurs are creating spaces that bring the vibrant energy of Black life to bazaars and streets, giving Black people the chance to celebrate their cultural heritage and make their voices heard.
In Detroit, Black-owned farmer's markets are providing fresh produce to low-income areas that don't have easy access to supermarkets. Their efforts aim to combat food apartheid and guarantee everyone has access to nutritious meals.
Black-owned grocery stores are popping up across America to fill a need in areas where larger chains have left or don't meet community expectations. These shops strive to offer healthy, delicious, sustainable foods at reasonable prices.
Some stores are pioneering cashierless checkout, ethnic grocery marketplaces and food events to give customers access to exciting new foods. Some are pushing the limits of innovation within grocery retailing while others aim to ensure Black-owned products are available on shelves nationwide.
The Black Market Flea was born out of Mayah Hatcher's desire to provide a platform for Black businesses, artists and creatives to come together. She started the flea in 2021 after feeling frustrated with the lack of diversity and visibility at local flea markets.
The Black Market Flea is a hub for authentic Black culture, fashion and pride - from handmade and upcycled clothing brands to carefully curated vintage items. It's where people come together to connect, exchange ideas and create. It serves as an opportunity for community building while encouraging individuals to express themselves creatively.
At the flea, there are Black-owned businesses as well as DJs playing songs by Isaiah Rashad, Smino and Blue the Great as well as other up-and-coming musicians. It's a place where young and old can come together and form connections over music and fashion alike.
Although the flea isn't open every weekend, you can find it on the third Sunday of every month in Los Angeles. This free event features food from local vendors and live music, providing Black-owned businesses with an opportunity to connect with their communities and promote their products.
Though many think of the Black Market Flea when considering where Black people shop, that wasn't always the case. The first Black-owned shopping center in America was actually Philadelphia's Progress Plaza; designed by legendary Philadelphia Reverend Leon Sullivan to empower African Americans by encouraging them to start their own businesses and providing training at its Opportunities Industrialization Center.
In 1968, Sullivan opened a shopping center using capital provided by his parishioners and traditional sources of capital. As racial tensions escalated in 1968, his message of black entrepreneurship and economic control served as an inspiring inspiration to fellow black business owners.
Many major malls across America are once again welcoming Black life with open arms. PREIT has even encouraged their local teams to create custom pages on their websites that spotlight Black-owned retailers and restaurants within their footprint. By 2020, at least two-thirds of PREIT's properties are expected to host community-wide Black-owned Business Showcases.
One of the best ways to support Black communities is by purchasing products and services made by Black entrepreneurs. Not only does purchasing these items support Black businesses and entrepreneurs, but it also boosts local economies.
Recent surveys have revealed that purchasing Black-owned products would significantly boost the economic prosperity of Black communities by as much as $3 billion. So if you're searching for ways to support your community, visiting a Black-owned shopping center is your best bet.
In addition to a vast array of Black-owned stores, many shopping centers feature floors dedicated solely to these businesses. Some even host special events that promote and highlight Black brands and products. So whether you're searching for an affordable new dress or high-end luxury item - chances are good that a Black-owned business has it in stock.
In honor of Black History Month, top African American event planning companies are offering a selection of special events that will add an authentic flavor to any gathering. From virtual wine tastings featuring Black-owned wines to cooking classes led by celebrity chefs, there is something for everyone this month!
For something more traditional, there are a number of local restaurants hosting special dinners and drinks in celebration of Black history. Pastry chef Camari Mick is creating a family-style menu at her Musket Room location while chef JJ Johnson will offer an exclusive dessert at both of his FIELDTRIP locations in Harlem and Rockefeller Center.
Another place worth visiting is ROW DTLA, where the Black Market Flea is coming this month! The event brings together Black creatives from throughout LA to create a platform where they can exhibit their work.
Mayah Hatcher, who just celebrated her 24th birthday, founded and curates the event to bring people from different backgrounds together. She believes it serves as a reminder of the significance of Black culture, unity and community wealth.
Todd Covington finds the Black Market Flea to be an opportunity to build relationships with people in his area and show off his handmade hats. Additionally, it allows him to network with other vendors in his industry, which has allowed him to find success with certain pieces at this flea rather than other shows.
This event provides entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals with an exclusive platform to network and learn new strategies that can help their businesses expand. It provides them with a great chance to connect with peers from the Black community.
Entrepreneurs must constantly update their social media pages and blog to promote their business and engage with online audiences. This conference offers you a chance to hear from other bloggers and social media experts about how to expand your influence and build your brand.
This two-day conference provides education, training and networking for Black social media experts and independent content creators. It will feature panel discussions, keynote speakers and workshops.