Exclusive: Issa Rae Joins Forces With American Express To Champion Black-Owned Businesses
Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz
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Exclusive: Issa Rae Joins Forces With American Express To Champion Black-Owned Businesses

It’s no secret Issa Rae is rooting for everybody Black and things are no different this holiday season.

Joining forces with American Express, Issa Rae will be curating the ByBlack Bazaar marketplace on Saturday, Dec. 11 in Downtown Los Angeles. 

“As a curator at the marketplace, in its simplest form it will be a great place to stop by and get a gift especially if you do not know what to get people because there will be a range of options,” Issa Rae shared exclusively with AfroTech. “It will also be a great way to establish community amongst business owners and allow owners to establish and forge relationships. You will see the family behind the business and you will see directly or hear about the history of these businesses. With online businesses, you don’t get the neighborhood store feel often. So, the Bazaar marketplace really excites me for that.”

Black-Owned Business Need Your Support

The marketplace will serve as a platform for the featured businesses to expand their influence and land their products in the hands of consumers. With the holiday season approaching, sales will play a pivotal role in the livelihood of many businesses.

According to an American Express Shop Survey, 78 percent of holiday sales will dictate if business owners can keep their doors open in 2022. Creating opportunities like these are important to American Express as they aim to funnel $100 million back into the pockets of Black-owned suppliers by the end of 2024, according to an official press release.

“With minority-owned small businesses having been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, we know it is more important than ever to support them, which is why we are popping up the ByBlack Bazaar in Los Angeles featuring local and nationally regarded businesses that do not have a physical brick and mortar presence to help them connect with customers in real life this holiday season,” Walter Frye, the Vice President of Global Brand Engagement at American Express told AfroTech.

The ByBlack Certification Creates Opportunities For Black Owners

Despite the variation in products found at the upcoming marketplace, business owners will all share the commonality of being certified through the expansion of ByBlack.

As AfroTech previously reported, the ByBlack initiative began as a directory created by the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. to house Black-owned businesses and is now supported by American Express.

Since September 2021, it has expanded to become the “first national certification program exclusively for Black-ownership designation.” According to an official press release, the no-cost certification allows entrepreneurs to unlock new income streams, receive education and resources catered to Black-owned businesses while increasing their visibility.

Sienna Naturals a vegan hair care line co-owned by Issa Rae to prioritize the health of textured hair — can also be found in the directory. 

“I want to set an example and to acknowledge the roots of the business. I think so many of us, as shoppers, want to know that the products are being made for us are, have us in mind, and are by us,” Issa Rae told AfroTech. “By certifying your business, it is the fastest and easiest way to be a beacon of information.”

Here's How To Attend & Show Support

The pop-up will feature 16 Black-owned style-forward brands with national or local recognition, including SammyB Designs, Miletree Candles, and No Free Coffee. What’s more, all purchases made at the pop-up marketplace will be wrapped complimentary, thanks to the Black Paper Party.

If you’re in the Downtown Los Angeles area, click here to find out more on how to attend on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1005 Mateo Street (entrance on Bay Street).