By Chris Olsen
Juneteenth takes place annually on June 19 and commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Currently there are 47 states plus the District of Columbia that recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday or observance. This year, a growing number of elected officials are lobbying to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
Beyoncé didn’t wait for a national holiday to honor Juneteenth and Black Americans. She released a new song, “Black Parade,” on Juneteenth weekend, which she says “celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit Black-owned small businesses.” Along with the song, Beyoncé launched a Black-owned business directory, which she’s calling Black Parade Route.
The exposure for Black women-owned businesses is important. While Black female founders are launching and growing small businesses at an unprecedented rate in the U.S., the money those businesses make is disproportionately less than businesses owned by white women. Last year, the average annual revenue for all women-owned businesses was $143,000. The average annual revenue for Black women-owned businesses was $24,000.
Black business owners are already experiencing the impact of having Queen Bey support their brands. Ellis Island Tea founder Nailah Ellis wondered why she was experiencing a big bump in online orders until she learned her business had been listed along with hundreds of others in the directory. Nailah took to social media to thank Beyoncé: “Sooo this just happened!! I was wondering why these sales starting shooting through the roof all of a sudden!! Can’t say thank you enough, Beyoncé!! You never know who’s watching your grind!!”
Green Girl Leah is a blog by Leah Thomas that promotes green living and wellness. Leah was also surprised to learn she’d been featured in the directory. “This was the coolest #Juneteenth surprise!! I was featured in Beyoncé’s black business directory alongside a lot of other amazing black businesses and creatives in every industry!”
To support the Black-owned businesses in the directory, visit Beyonce.com/black-parade-route.
About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose”. Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support womxn-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.