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To celebrate this Black History Month, we asked some of our staff who their favorite Black creators, artists, and businesses are. From restaurants to bookstores, and visual arts to the literary arts, we are excited to highlight these Black creatives and the tremendous work they do for their communities!
Economic prosperity and socio-cultural visibility are two important keys to the changes we all hope to see in the world around us, so be sure to follow these creators on social media and support their work this Black History Month and beyond!
Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere, courtesy Ahsaki
We'll start with a business and a woman dear to the Eighth Generation family—Ahsaki Baa LaFrance-Chachere of Ah-Shi Beauty. Ahsaki is an incredible force in her Diné and African American communities: she's an entrepreneur, artist, and one-woman empire. Her beauty brand, Ah-Shi Beauty, is the first Native American owned and operated luxury skincare and cosmetics brand in the United States. In addition to Ah-Shi Beauty, Ahsaki has her own clothing brand and coffee company, and has designed a blanket, earrings, and a necklace for Eighth Generation.
Selected by the Eighth Generation team
Boon Boona Coffee bags, courtesy Boon Boona's Instagram
With two locations (Seattle and Renton,) Boon Boona has been sharing their unique coffee taste and traditions from East Africa since 2018. With an emphasis on supporting sustainable partnerships, cultural exchange, and inclusivity, Boon Boona founder and CEO Efrem Fesaha strives to provide the same welcoming community environment that he found when he traveled to Eritrea in 2011. In addition to the superb coffee, community is brought to the forefront of this business and they are constantly seeking new ways to uplift the local community.
To learn more about the importance and traditions of coffee in the East African region, join Boon Boona at their Renton location to partake in the East African coffee ceremony!
Follow them on Instagram @boonboonacoffee
Selected by Shipping and Production Manager, Josh Swift (Salish, Kootenai)
Courtesy geekchicfashion's Instagram
Lysandra Weber created geekchicfasion to support all the women like herself; “women who have busy lives, but want to look good and feel comfortable.” geekchicfashion prides itself on providing clothing that is ethically made, American made, and emphasizes body positivity.
Follow them on Instagram @geekchicclothing
Selected by Communications Specialist, Natasha Rudolph
Grand opening at Estelita's Library, photo courtesy Estelita's Library's Instagram
"It’s a really cool place to discover books in the areas I’m interested in, they are well-priced, and they have an online bookstore."
If you’re looking to learn more about social justice, ethnic studies, and liberation movements, Estelita’s is the place for you. This bookstore offers an alternate to the traditional bookstore model on which it has built itself. Here, the books and space is open to everyone free of charge. Estelita’s aims to host “community book talks, classes, meetings, history lessons, and much more to strengthen and develop our collective analysis for justice.” Visit them in Columbia City!
Follow them on Instagram @estelitaslib
Selected by Warehouse Associate, Francesca Robello (Karuk)
Sisters Carlene and Cassandra Browner created BR Design Co after they decided to join their different polymer clay styles in 2007. Since then, this duo has been creating polymer clay jewelry and accessories for all. From studs to hanging earrings, their unique ‘Modern Color’ style and shapes come to you from Charleston, South Carolina.
Follow them on Instagram @br_design_co
Selected by Warehouse Associate, Alli Berhow
Courtesy Island Soul Shack's Instagram
“I enjoy the laidback calm atmosphere that Island Soul cultivates. It’s very relaxing and the food is top tier. The pork belly hash served during brunch hours is worth waiting for! A must go for food and vibe lovers.”
For some great eats and a laid back atmosphere, look no further than Island Soul in Columbia City. Island Soul has been proud to serve Seattle soul food since 2007. Here, they combine a mix of Caribbean and Louisiana Bayou soul cuisine.
Look out for the opening of their sister restaurant in Kirkland – Arleanea’s Restaurant!
Follow them on Instagram @islandsoulshack
Selected by Community Engagement and Retail Specialist, Cassius "Cash" Johnson (Diné/Navajo)
Photo courtesy Sydney G. James's Instagram"Her work is stunning. She creates vibrant images on a large scale and uses her art and voice to shed light the negative narratives that surround many women (especially Black and BIPOC women). I really love that she's had a lot of opportunities to grow outside of Detroit, but always comes back and shows up for Black artist and art community in her hometown."
Detroit-based Sydney G. James is a visual artist and muralist who highlights the experience of race and gender as a Black woman in America. Utilizing her art, Sydney G James brings Black women’s experience to the forefront of conversation. Not only introducing Black women to the conversation, she is also boldly reworking and redefining the narratives of Black life to reflect the complex realities of Black experience. Her art is displayed across the country and 6 different continents.
Follow her on Instagram @sydneygjames
Selected by Project Manager, Lacee Shepard (Odawa)
Stephanie in Portland, photo courtesy Stephanie's Instagram
"I adore Stephanie. Not only is she a dear friend, she's an incredible healer and artist. She's incredibly giving in her healing work, is so generous with her gifts and knowledge, and is a very positive but very REAL individual.
I love supporting Stephanie because she uses her own culture and ancestry to support her healing practice."
Creole-British author Stephanie Victoire specializes in fiction with an emphasis on fairy tales. Through these narratives, she is able to offer spaces for healing and encouragement to actualize your dreams. Victoire has a strong interest in liberation through the power of magic.
Follow her on Instagram @spirit.and.bone
Selected by Marketing Manager, Devon Kelley
Photo courtesy Kehinde Wiley Instagram
"I love Kehinde Wiley's use of texture in their work; every piece draws you in immediately and just absolutely bursts with unexpected textures and colors. There's also just so much majesty in Kehinde's portraits. My favorite is 'Anthony of Padua' (Google it!)."
With pieces across the US, Kehinde Wiley shares his portraiture featuring Black men and women in a photorealistic style imposed on heavily patterned backgrounds. These pieces serve to both uproot wrongful representations and awaken the conversations of the complex sociopolitical experience of Black America. Expanding his art focus from representations of Harlem life, Wiley has also taken an international scope with his art that seats the Black underserved into positions of power within both painting and sculpture.
Follow him on Instagram @kehindewiley
Selected by Product Development Manager, Kim Kroeker
Sauces at Lil Red's, photo courtesy Lil Red's Facebook
Lil Red has been dishing up Jamaican BBQ and soul cuisine out of their Columbia City brick-and-mortar restaurant since 2016. Lil Red started out as a community BBQ staple, but quickly started selling their food out of founders and owners Erasto "Red" Jackson and his wife Lelieth's station wagon as popularity grew. Soon enough, they opened their Columbia City restaurant and became one of the 20 best Black-owned BBQ restaurants in the nation!
Selected by Warehouse Associate, Lloyd Belmont (Suquamish)
View their website lilredtakeout.com
Black history is American history. Building and supporting economic opportunity and prosperity for Black communities, artists, and entrepreneurs is integral to the progress and upliftment of every community in this country. Where you can, look into local Black alternatives to the goods and services you frequent. For a jumpstart into your research, check out Intentionalist for info pertinent to your area!