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Black Owned Credit Unions You Should Know

Black banks get all the love but what about Black-owned credit unions? They are also important and in some ways, a better option than a bank.

When you open an account at a bank, you’re a customer. When you deposit money in a credit union account, you’re both a customer and an owner. The credit union uses the money that you and other members deposit to make loans to other credit union members, much like a bank.

Since a credit union’s main goal is to serve their members, they take the money that would have been profit and instead use it to help credit union members. Credit unions often do this by offering better rates on savings products and lower interest rates on loan products.

Black Owned Credit Unions

FAMU Federal Credit Union (Tallahassee, FL)

black owned credit union

Credit Union of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Federal Credit Union  (Toccoa, GA) 

black owned credit unions

South Side Community Federal Credit Union  (Chicago, IL) 

Southern Teachers & Parents Federal Credit Union (Baton Rouge/Thibodaux, LA) 

Hope Credit Union ( Jackson, MS)

black owned credit unions

St. Louis Community Credit Union  (St. Louis, MO)

Greater Kinston Credit Union  (Kinston, NC)

Concord Federal Credit Union (Brooklyn, NY)

Visions Federal Credit Union (Endicott, NY)

Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union  (Long Island City, NY)

Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union  (Queens, NY)

Faith Community United CU  (Cleveland, OH)

Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union  (Toledo, OH)

Hill District Federal CU  (Pittsburgh, PA)

Brookland Federal Credit Union  (West Columbia, SC)

Community Owned Federal Credit Union  (Charleston, SC)

Faith Cooperative Federal Credit Union  (Dallas, TX) 

Mt Olive Baptist Church FCU  (Arlington, TX)

Oak Cliff Christian Federal Credit Union  (Dallas, TX)

Hill District Federal CU  (Pittsburgh, PA) 

Howard University Employees Federal Credit Union  (Washington, DC)

Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union (Washington, DC)

Virginia State University FCU  (Petersburg, VA)

black owned credit unions

 

– Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your credit union to the list, SUBMIT HERE.


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Two Black Owned Investment Banks Merging to form the Largest Woman and Minority Owned Firm

Two Black owned investment banks are merging to form Wall Street’s largest woman- and minority-owned firm.

Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. and the Williams Capital Group will combine to form Siebert Williams Shank & Co. The new firm will be led by Chief Executive Suzanne Shank. Terms of the deal, described as a merger of equals, were not disclosed.

black owned investment banks
Susan Shank

Siebert Cisneros Shank is one of the nation’s leading underwriters of municipal bonds and Williams Capital is a major dealer in corporate debt. The combined firm will have 140 employees and be headquartered in New York City and Oakland, Calif. No layoffs are expected because of the merger.

Source: Crains New York

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Why Black Banks Need Policy Support, Not Just Deposits

Few institutions are as strongly connected to black communities as historically black banks. Where others see neighborhoods that are too risky or, conversely, only targets for predatory lending, they see differently.

Joseph Haskins, CEO of The Harbor Bank of Maryland, tells of a black entrepreneur from an inner-city neighborhood who came needing a loan to get started working on a new contract for his storage and junk removal business. The loan would allow him to hire another 15 people on top of the 25 he already employed. Interested in the impact of such a loan, Haskins asked about who those 15 people would be.

“He has no problem finding people in the inner city because they know each other,” Haskins, who co-founded Harbor Bank 35 years ago, adds. “He’s not holding an incarceration against them, or counting them out because they didn’t finish high school. He said, ‘If I can get this money, it’ll allow me to do this contract, and you can come up and see who I’ll hire.’”

Historically black banks have had a strong role in black communities. Their loans often finance projects that other banks wouldn’t take on, and at fairer interest rates.

And yet partnering with or addressing the top priorities of historically black banks hardly registers a blip on policymakers’ radar screens. At best, banks that serve black communities have been left to fend for themselves, while public policies provided an extra boost to banks serving exclusively white communities. At worst, policymakers from both parties have held up historically black banks as a way of distracting from structural changes necessary to address the racial wealth gap in the United States.

That history of black banks is now more accessible than ever before, contained in the pages of The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, by author and law professor Mehrsa Baradaran.

“I want to attack this myth about small banking in general, that poor, marginalized communities can overcome systemic macro-economic problems through small banks or community banks,” Baradaran says. “If we’re trying to close the wealth gap, we have to do it the way that everyone else has been able to gain wealth,” referring to the long history of government working hand-in-hand with private banks to create widespread wealth—but only for white households.

As Bardaran’s book shows, banks that focus on lending to black households have never gotten the policy support needed to create wealth.

A bank instead of 40 acres

Offering up a bank as a distraction or a consolation prize in lieu of structural change was there at the very beginning of black banking in the United States.

As told in Baradaran’s book, General William Tecumseh Sherman had confiscated some 400,000 acres of land in the South during the Civil War, and the U.S. government was prepared to hand it over to ex-slaves as a place for them to live free of white control. After President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the plan was called off, and all that was left was Freedman’s Savings Bank, the first historically black bank and the only savings bank ever created by an act of Congress. As the book notes, the bank’s intention was to allow ex-slaves to save up their new wages to buy the land that Sherman had promised them. Instead, ex-slaves soon ran into the policies of Jim Crow that denied them the means to make the purchase. In the end, all they got was the bank.

A century later, after the Civil Rights Movement achieved a string of key policy victories including the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and Fair Housing Act, President Richard Nixon “threw his weight behind black banking so that he could oppose controversial desegregation programs and woo white moderates and conservatives unwilling to push further on racial reforms,” Baradaran writes. So politically successful was Nixon’s platform of “black capitalism,” Baradaran writes, that every administration since Nixon’s has adopted it in one form or another, including current or former members of the current administration. From Reagan, to Carter, to both Bushes, to Clinton, to Obama, Baradaran shows how each administration has said a lot about the importance of black-owned business and black-banks, while mostly ignoring the structural changes and policy shifts needed to actually create wealth in black communities. The pattern has continued for members of the Trump administration.

“When Steve Bannon is pushing black businesses, you’ve got to wonder,” says Baradaran. “It’s surprising to some, but not if you understand the history.”

There are positive lessons to learn from history, too—like the power of policy to work with the banking system to create wealth for an entire generation of people at a time. Between 1934 and 1968, Baradaran writes, mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Administration and an accompanying Veterans Administration program opened a spigot of mortgage lending, resulting in millions of mortgage loans on mass-produced homes in ready-made communities across the country. “If you could save a few thousand dollars, you could buy a house, build wealth, and become middle class,” Baradaran writes.

But those loans were only available to white households. The Federal Housing Administration’s rules also contained a number of restrictions that made it essentially impossible to offer those mortgages to people or neighborhoods of color. As Baradaran notes in her book, from 1934-1968, 98 percent of federally insured home mortgages went to white households—the practice that became known as redlining. Those homebuyers left behind black households in inner city neighborhoods that began to decay. Meanwhile, because they focused on lending to black households, historically black banks never got the same boost that other banks got.

“The Federal Housing Administration did more to shape American life than any other government agency during the New Deal,” Baradaran writes. “It is also unparalleled in the injustice its policies wrought on the black population.”

What can policy do for black banks today?

Campaigns to move money to black banks are helpful, in Baradaran’s view, but they are far from sufficient to address the racial wealth gap. In the most recent Federal Reserve estimates, the median net worth of white households is $171,000, while median net worth for black households is $17,600.

Others agree. “I always start by raising the question as to whether or not the racial wealth gap can be closed by autonomous actions by black Americans,” says William “Sandy” Darity Jr., principal investigator for the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color project, based at Duke University.

In her book, Baradaran proposes a short litmus test to any proposal meant to address the racial wealth gap: “Does the program require some collective sacrifice or does it place the burden of closing the wealth gap entirely on the black community? If the latter, this is a cop-out that refuses to acknowledge that the black community did not create the problem in the first place.”

If policymakers are committed to closing the wealth gap, she continues, black bankers must be seated at the head of the table—and they should not be the only ones in the room. “Black bankers have a firsthand understanding of the headwinds affecting black prosperity. While black banks cannot close the wealth gap alone, their specialized focus and expertise must play a role in any plan to address this problem,” she writes.

While black bankers would certainly have a lot to say about all kinds of policy or regulatory reforms that would help black households create wealth, the top priority for black banks today is raising capital.

“It always comes back to raising capital,” says Doyle Mitchell, president and CEO of D.C.’s Industrial Bank, which his grandfather founded in 1934. “It’s the biggest challenge for black-owned businesses, period. Raising capital, trying to get to a scale where we can be more profitable.”

In banking terminology, capital is different from deposits. While deposits can come from anyone, capital comes from the bank’s shareholders or from retained profits of the bank. Generally, federal regulators want banks to hold around eight dollars of capital for every $100 they make in loans and other investments, partly as a cushion against losses or downturns.

Crucially, a bank can’t grow without more capital—if a bank doesn’t have enough capital to meet the necessary ratio, regulators might limit the bank’s activities, perhaps even ordering the bank to stop making new loans until it raises more.

“If I can raise the capital, I can scale Harbor eight to ten fold over the next two years or so,” Haskins says. “The demand is there.”

Bigger national or regional banks can attract capital from investors around the world. Community banks—the category of banks that most historically black banks fall into, because of their size and geographic focus—have a shallower pool to draw from. A community bank’s shareholders typically come from its community—local businesses, independently wealthy individuals, or sometimes straight from friends and family of the bank founders.

For historically black banks, community sources are often far thinner than they are for mainstream community banks. On top of the household racial wealth gap, white-owned businesses are bigger and more profitable, averaging $2.4 million in annual revenues, compared with $1.3 million in average annual revenues for black-owned businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Survey of Business Owners.

Evelyn Smalls is president and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia. In a rare breakthrough for a black-owned bank, United scored two capital investments last year, from two larger financial institutions in the Philadelphia region whom Smalls found through industry circles or prior business with United Bank. It’s not just about finding people with money, Smalls explains, it’s about finding investors who also understand and place value in the mission of a community bank and especially a black-owned community bank.

In 2012, United Bank joined the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program, which provides federal loan-loss guarantees to support small business lending to borrowers who would not qualify for conventional small business loans. United Bank is the only historically black bank in the Philadelphia region, and since joining the 7(a) program they’ve made loans to 47 businesses that it otherwise wouldn’t have been able to—and their pace is accelerating, now doing 10-14 such loans a year, at an average loan size around $840,000.

But even with a loan guarantee program, or down payment assistance programs, any bank still needs capital to keep growing.

Mitchell, of Industrial Bank, thinks policy can do more to address the capital issue directly for black banks. For a little over a year now, he says, he’s been talking up the idea of creating a tax credit for investing in minority banks, to incentivize investors who might be interested in making a difference when it comes to equal opportunity for minority communities. He’s had talks with investors who have expressed such an interest, but no one has written a check yet.

Others, like Darity, are more muted about the potential impact of supporting black banks or black businesses. “It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it’s not going to accomplish the objective of closing the racial wealth gap,” he says.

In Darity’s view, any direct help for black banks would need to be part of a larger program, what he’s referred to as “a portfolio of reparations.”

“Some component would involve distribution of checks,” he says, “but there could also be components of it that could involve various institution building, or small business building. If you had a total sum of funds devoted to reparations, you could design the program so there were multiple ways in which those funds could be used.”

 

Source: NextCity

Billionaire Patrice Motsepe to form South Africa’s first Black Owned Bank

Billionaire Patrice Motsepe is one of South Africa’s richest men. He’s also the first Black African on the Forbes list. In 2016, he launched a private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital (ARC), focused on investing in Africa. Last week, it was announced that ARC is set to acquire TymeDigital, a South African bank with a strong Fintech focus.

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe and wife, Precious Moloi-Motsepe

The acquisition would make him the owner of the first Black owned Bank in South Africa.

TymeDigital‚ which allows customers to access funds via their mobile phones. The bank aims to roll out transactional banking in the fourth quarter of 2018, intending to become a fully fledged digital bank for those who cannot easily access formal banking services.

Targeted client segments include unbanked and underserved clients as well as small and medium enterprises. Competitive technology allows the bank to on-board clients with greater ease relative to its competitors and keep bank charges more affordable than what SA banking clients pay in general.

The sale of TymeDigital is still subject to regulatory approval and potential sale price adjustments – and as a result, the financial effect of the sale currently cannot be reliably estimated – however it is not expected to have a material impact on the group’s results, it said.

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Chicago Deposits $20 Million Into Its Last Black-Owned Bank

Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers announced Monday a $20 million city deposit into Chicago’s last remaining black-owned bank, Illinois Service Federal (ISF) Savings and Loan. The deposit will help fund loans under an overhauled business plan for ISF, which is intended to strengthen its service to underserved communities in the Chicago area.

“As a lifelong Chicagoan, I know how important it is for us to keep local dollars in local communities,” Summers said in a statement. “As city treasurer, I will always look for opportunities to make prudent investments directly into our neighborhoods.”

Summers made the announcement at a press conference in the lobby of ISF’s main office, in the South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, a few blocks from the home where Summers grew up.

The announcement comes amid the Bank Black campaign, which I first reported on last year and which renews the civil rights-era message to move deposits into black-owned or black-operated banks, in solidarity with the larger Black Lives Matter movement.

ISF was founded in 1934, during the Great Depression. At the time, African-Americans were migrating north, escaping limited economic opportunities in the South. But by the time many arrived in Northern cities, seeking jobs and opportunity, those cities were already beginning to enforce or reinforce their own form of segregation — denying home mortgages to black families and designating the neighborhoods where they lived as too risky for making loans (a practice that became known as redlining).

Black-owned banks like ISF formed in many redlined communities to serve those who other lenders left behind. To this day, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, minority-owned and minority-operated banks are more likely than other banks to focus on communities of diverse ethnic and immigrant backgrounds, and within similar markets they may be lending to customers who have lower income and more credit constraints than those served by other banks.

But by focusing their services and lending to the most vulnerable communities, black-owned banks have always suffered worse than other banks when the whole economy tanks. Before the last recession, there were over 40 black-owned or black-operated banks in the U.S.; today there are only around 20. In 2013, a pair of researchers found that white-owned banks of similar size and other characteristics were 10 times more likely than black-owned banks to receive assistance from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), the main federal bailout program for banks during the financial crisis.

Chicago’s other historic black-owned bank, Seaway Bank, could never truly recover from the crisis and Great Recession, prompting federal regulators to shut it down in January. After a brief period under the ownership of a Texas-based bank, North Carolina-based Self-Help Credit Union acquired Seaway’s deposits and assets, and the bank lives on as a division of Self-Help.

ISF was spared a similar fate thanks to the Nduom family, from Ghana, who stepped in last year with an infusion of capital and became new owners of the bank in the process. Thanks to that and an overhauled business plan that impressed federal regulators, ISF was able to move through the certification process to become a Chicago city depository, making way for Summers’ announcement Monday.

“Over 80 years ago, 13 black men with an able administrative staff of black women started this bank to provide an opportunity for the black community to gain access to home mortgages and financing to pursue their aspirations,” said ISF Chairman Papa Kwesi Nduom, in a statement. “This investment made today by Treasurer Summers provides a much-needed boost to our financial foundation.”

Source: Next City

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The First Woman Bank Founder Was Black. She Just Got Her Own Monument

Maggie Lena Walker was the first woman of any race to start a bank. St. Luke’s Penny Savings, gave loans to Black business owners and residents at fair rates, then recycled the interest earned to keep building the community.

In 1901  Maggie is quoted as saying, “First we need a savings bank. Let us put our moneys together; let us use our moneys; let us put our money out at usury among ourselves, and reap the benefit ourselves. Let us have a bank that will take the nickels and turn them into dollars.”

Interior of St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, c. 1917
Maggie L Walker National Historic Site

Now, a 10-foot bronze statue of a 45-year-old Walker standing tall is surrounded by inscriptions tracing the life of the woman who early on helped her mother, a former slave, by delivering clothes as a laundress.

Maggie L. Walker and the officers of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, c. 1917
Maggie L Walker National Historic Site

She then became a newspaper publisher, teacher, bank founder, businesswoman, civil rights leader, entrepreneur and mother.

“She is in her rightful place in the heart of this city,” Liza Mickens, another of Maggie Walker’s great-great-granddaughters.

She is facing Broad Street, Mickens said, where African-American people weren’t always welcome. She is also at the gateway to Jackson Ward, a historic African-American community that she helped inspire.

During its long history, the bank founded by Maggie Walker benefited the Black community in Richmond. By 1920, it had issued more than 600 mortgages to black families, allowing many to realize the dream of home ownership.

It also provided employment for Black people who’s only other options were menial or labor intensive jobs.

The statue is located in downtown Richmond at Broad and Adams streets, which is a gateway to the Jackson Ward neighborhood where many of her life accomplishments occurred.

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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Black Bank To Receive $1 Million From Billionaire

Billionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is making a $1 million deposit in Chicago’s last remaining Black owned bank.

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Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker

As we reported earlier this year, Chicago’s Seaway Bank & Trust failed, leaving Illinois Service Federal Savings as the last Black owned bank left in Chicago.

The Announcement

Pritzker hinted towards the investment earlier this week during a radio interview and his campaign team confirmed shortly after, saying the deposit is part of Pritzker’s commitment to improve economic conditions in hard hit communities and neighborhoods.

“J.B. has made expanding access to capital for small business and entrepreneurs, and making investments in the communities hardest hit by Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership and manufactured budget crisis a top priority for him as governor,” a spokesman said in an email.

Not the first $1 million deposit at a Black Bank

Pritzker’s idea isn’t original though. He’s actually doing what his opponent already did years ago.

In 2014, Bruce Rauner, a then Republican candidate for governor, deposited $1 million in a South Side credit union.

“I would have done what we’ve done today irrespective of the campaign,” Rauner said at the time.

Rauner makes $1M deposit at South Side credit union

The Scandal

The Pritzker campaign says the deposit is “part of a broader effort to revitalize minority neighborhoods.”

Others say $1 million is nothing a man who made hundreds of millions as part of the leadership at Superior Bank, a subprime mortgage and auto loan provider that eventually failed during the 2008 financial crisis.

The bank was described as “One of the nation’s largest bank failures in a decade.”

A former small business owner remembers waiting outside one of the bank’s branches the week after its closing with dozens of other depositors worried about their money.

“It looked like a soup kitchen,” he said. “And the Pritzkers made money on the deal.”

Closing thoughts

So, how do we feel about this deposit now? Is it a ploy to buy favor from Black voters?

My hope and prayer is that somehow there will actually be families and business owners that benefit for this. Hopefully, among them will be those who got shafted during the 2008 financial crisis.

 

– Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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Chicago’s Largest Black Owned Bank has Closed

Chicago has lost several Black-owned banks in the last few years, including Highland Community Bank and Covenant Bank. Unfortunately, another has joined the list. Seaway Bank & Trust, the largest Black owned bank in Chicago, was shut down Friday by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

In 2011, Seaway took over Milwaukee’s Legacy Bank after it too was closed by regulators. Legacy was founded in 1999 by three Black women who raised $6.9 million in capital. It was one of a few Black owned banks in Milwaukee.

Deloris Sims left, and Margaret Henningsen. Founders of Legacy Bank

The New Owners

Now, all of Seaway’s deposits and most of its assets will be transferred to the Dallas-based, Indian-American owned State Bank of Texas. According to the FDIC, SBT has $740 million in assets, and Seaway had $361 million in assets as of September 30th. Seaway customers will automatically become customers of State Bank of Texas.

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SBT Management Team : Chan Patel, (center) with sons Sushil and Rajan

Chan Patel, SBT’s founder has an interesting story. He came to the US in 1965 with $600(his father’s whole life savings). To start SBT, Chan raised and invested $1 million himself. He then approached other local Indian businessmen and professionals to purchase shares at the $10 per share.

He was about to raise another $1 million in two weeks by promising family and friends that each of them would become a professional banker and be Director of the bank throughout his lifetime.

Last Bank Standing

The one Black-owned bank left in Chicago—Illinois Service Federal, was also in danger of failing, but was rescued early last year with $9 million investment from the Ghanaian-American, Nduom family. The Nduom family runs Groupe Nduom, a 5,000-employee conglomerate that include entities in the tourism, financial services, technology, media and sports industries.

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Kweku Nduom, left, and his brother Chiefy Nduom

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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6 Black Owned Banks in the UK

Several members of the SHOPPE BLACK community in London and surrounding areas have reached out to us asking if we know of any Black Owned banks in the UK.

The short answer: Of course we do!

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However, we strongly advise doing your own research also in order to make the best decision with your hard earned money.

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If you are interested in moving to a Black owned bank, and we assume you are, we also recommend taking a hard look at the leadership and management teams of the banks you are considering. As with any other type of business, a Black CEO does not necessarily mean a Black owned/controlled bank.

With that being said, here’s our list:

Black Owned Banks in the UK

FBN Bank (UK) is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, with offices in the heart of the City of London. FBN was incorporated as a Limited Liability Company in March 1894, with a head office in Liverpool. They are the “London bank for Nigerians, either resident in the UK or simply visiting.” MD and CEO: Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan (FCA)

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Guaranty Trust Bank (UK) Limited is the fully owned subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, one of the leading financial services providers in Nigeria. They have business operations spanning the United Kingdom, West Africa and East Africa. Managing Director and CEO: Adekunle Adebiyi

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Ghana International Bank (GHIB) which was incorporated in 1998, took over the London operations of Ghana Commercial Bank with the latter retaining a 20% ownership of the new bank. Ownership is now shared with other Ghanaian state institutions. The Central Bank of Ghana is the major shareholder (51%) while other stakes are held by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust. Managing Director and CEO: Joe Mensah

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UBA Capital Europe Limited is a wholesale, investment bank and the London banking subsidiary of UBA Plc. It is also the first sub-Saharan bank to expand into North America when it opened its New York office in 1984 to offer banking services to Africans in Diaspora. Chairman: Tony O. Elumelu

black owned banks

Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd is a member of the Nigerian-based Zenith Bank Group. In March 2007, Zenith Bank was licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the United Kingdom to establish Zenith Bank (UK) Limited. Zenith Bank Plc also has subsidiaries and representative offices in West Africa, South Africa and The People’s Republic of China. Chairman and Co-founder: Jim Ovia

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Union Bank (UK )Plc is a subsidiary of the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of the oldest banks in West Africa. They have been operating in London since 1983, firstly as the London branch of their parent bank, and since October 2004 as an independently incorporated UK bank. Chief Executive Officer: Emeka Emuwa

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29 Black Owned Businesses in Philadelphia

I recently moved to Philadelphia and I must say, as someone who loves art and food, the City of Brotherly Love doesn’t disappoint. Apart from great restaurants and hole in the wall “hood spots”,  the city has a thriving art scene and an up and coming tech startup scene. Check out some of the many Black Owned Businesses that have got you covered if you live here, decide to visit or are doing some online shopping.

Black owned Businesses

Veronica Marché is a freelance illustrator who’s artwork features women of all ethnicities and celebrates the glamour of a multicultural world.

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Warm Daddy’s is an atmospheric soul food establishment known for live blues and R&B sets plus a Sunday jazz brunch. – Owners: Robert and Benjamin Bynum

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The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents the achievements and aspirations of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current day. – CEO: Patricia Wilson

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BlackStar Film Fest is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent. – Founder & Artistic Director: Maori Karmel

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S&B Event Concepts and Catering is family owned and operated full service event planning and off-premise catering company. Owner: Sodiah Thomas

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Duafe Holistic Hair Care‘s mission as an elite and holistic hair salon is to ensure that each client gets the best and most professional service available. – CEO: Syreeta Scott

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Paris Bistro and Jazz Cafe is a snazzy neighborhood eatery with classic French bistro fare & a downstairs lounge with weekend jazz. – Owners: Robert and Benjamin Bynum

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Maxamillion’s Gentlmen’s Quarter is a a networking destination where you can get a fresh cut and have great conversations with Philly’s movers & shakers. – Owner: Maxamillion A.J. Wells III

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1617 Master Barbers and Stylists bring you the ultimate experience in OLD school professionalism with NEW school flavor. – Owner: Talib Abdul Mujib

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Ton’Sure Grooming Studio offers the feel of a classic barber shop with a touch of modern day technology. – Owners: Kenny Tha Barber and Chink da barber

4df1ff27884803.5636c37880351Nile cafe is a laid-back, counter-serve eatery specializing in plentiful portions of vegan & vegetarian soul food and desserts. It gets my personal stamp of approval. – Co- Owners Aqkhira and Khetab Corinaldi

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Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is a comic book store and coffee house for fans, hardcore gamers, movie addicts, television connoisseurs. – Founder: Ariell R. Johnson

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Blue Sole Shoes is a shoe store specializing in fashion-forward footwear for men in styles from dress to casual. – Owner: Steve Jamison.

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Little Delicious is neighborhood hole in the wall that serves hearty portions of Caribbean dishes. I give this one my personal stamp of approval also.

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Koco Nail Salon & Wax Studio is a quaint boutique pampering destination that offers a quaint boutique pampering destination. – Owner: Onisha Claire

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United Bank of Philadelphia is the only Black owned and managed community bank in Philadelphia –  President & CEO: Evelyn F. Smalls

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2B Groomed Studios offers stylish haircuts, facials, a wide variety of shaving options, beard coloring, bump extraction and complimentary shoe buffing with every service. – Owner: Jahmal Rhaney

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Onehunted closes the gap between smart consumers and products that align with their values. Owner : Isaac Ewell

Philadelphia Print Works is a t-shirt company that encourages a culture of activism and inclusion. – Donte Neal, designer and Maryam Pugh, owner and co-founder.

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Team Clean is a premier commercial janitorial service company, and is the largest woman and minority-owned company in the greater Philadelphia area. – Owner: Donna L. Allie, PhD.

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Iron Lady Enterprises is a construction and concrete reinforcement contractor and supplier of construction materials. – Owner: Dianna Montague.

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Kilimandjaro Restaurant – Senegalese fare served in casual, warm-hued quarters with African artwork & artifacts. – Owner: Youma Bah

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Mellow Massage Therapy Center is home to a team of licensed wellness therapists who strive daily to bring restorative therapeutic treatments to their clients. – Owner: Gerrae Simons

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Black and Nobel  – Independently owned store featuring books, DVDs, art & events related to African-American culture. – Owned by Hakim Hopkins

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Color Book Gallery is the nation’s oldest multicultural children’s bookstore. It offers has retail operations, reading activities, seminars, educational displays and exhibits. – Owner: Deborah Gary

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Natures Hair Food products are chemical free products that contain all natural ingredients that promote hair growth and restores the hair to a healthy, lustrous state. – Owner: Angela Tyler

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B’ella Ballerina Dance Academy is a non-profit organization that offers a comprehensive dance curriculum to students ages three and up. Founded & directed by Roneisha Smith-Davis

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Little Giant Creative works with local and national companies to develop custom brand strategies, design collateral, and awareness promotions. – Founder: Tayyib Smith

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The Philadelphia Tribune, founded in 1884 by Christopher James Perry, Sr., is America’s oldest and the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest daily newspaper serving the African-American community. – President & CEO: Robert W. Bogle

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Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson