11 Places To Buy Black This Holiday Season
This year, we all need to make a conscious effort to keep our black dollars in our black communities by supporting black-owned businesses on Black Friday and the entire holiday season. Listen, after we, the culture aka Black Twitter, bought every juicy chicken sandwich from Popeyes causing them to sell out in just two weeks, we proved that black buying power is as strong as Beyonce's wig glue.
For years, we have heralded the day after Thanksgiving as the holy grail of sales and the first day of Christmas season shopping. Remember when Issa Rae said she was rooting for everybody black at the Emmys? Well, it's time to keep that same energy while throwing items in your bag or cart.
Scroll through our black AF list from clothing to candles to wine to extensions to so many more. We have supplied you with some of dope businesses to support this holiday season!
For The Aspiring Sommelier: Love Cork Screw
They say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice and that's why supporting Chrishon Lampley, wine enthusiast and founder of Love Cork Screw, will be the sweetest thing you will do this year. Offering five wine varieties, LCS bottles range in prices from $12 to $17. You've got choices like the sweet Riesling Head Over Heels, the American white table wine Touch the Sky, and the unforgettable rosé We Go High. More than anything, you should support Chrishon's LCS movement not only because she's a black woman in wine, but also because she uses her platform to mentor young women and promising entrepreneurs by sharing her journey.
What's better than a bottle of wine made from love and light? LCS has gift sets intermixed with two wine varietals, a Love Cork Screw candle and a Body Butter, perfect for that wine-lover in your friend group.
Shop Love Cork Screw here.
For The Vibe Queen: Alexandria Winbush
Because mental health matters, Brittney Winbush created Alexandra Winbush to shift our thoughts on this tough topic through mood-boosting candles and spirit-lifting teas. After surviving a house fire that threw her into depression and anxiety, she decided to share the piece of peace that got her through it. The founder told Coveted Style that the best part about her business is being able to help people have a sense of peace in the midst of craziness. Brittney recalled receiving a message from a customer saying that she was having a pretty mad day and as soon as she lit her candle, she felt better and more at peace. And that's what Britney affirms is the best part of her company.
The candle fills your space up with amazing aromas, inspirational sayings, and vibe-approved playlist.
Shop Alexandra Winbush here.
For The Weave Connoisseur: XOXO Virgin Hair
Wigs and extensions are the wave these days, so the once negative shock factor of wearing a wig is now as popular as Megan Thee Stallion's knees. Fashion model turned CEO Stephanie Nolan has always had an obsession with hair and its quality and longevity. Through collaborations with BET, Adidas and Lusters Hair Care, she learned that she could elevate hair extensions by making them ideal for the use of thermal tools, frequent styling and chemical alterations. Stephanie developed a collection that is 100 percent pure – free of chemicals or synthetic fillers to imitate natural hair.
We all love luxurious bundles and these locks are approved by some of our favorite beauty mavens like Jordyn Woods, Solange, Michaela Coel, Jackie Aina and many more. Use code XOXO on Black Friday for 40% off!
Shop XOXO Virgin Hair here.
For The Skincare Enthusiast: Touch Body Works
You could go to Bath & Body Works or you could give Touch Body Works a chance. Your face, skin and body will thank you for switching it up. TBW's mission is, "To offer the best natural skincare and haircare available. We believe in making products that are good for your body and for the environment. We believe in using only all-natural, sustainable ingredients that are plant-based and/or cruelty-free. We believe in showing the better side of natural beauty. Sans the chemicals, sans the clinical and sterile emotions, and sans the pretentious prices."
Throw some items in the bag for yourself, your significant other, your family or whoever appreciates the charm of authentic skin products.
Shop Touch Body Works here.
For The Artsy Creative: Abeille Creations
Self-taught artist Melissa Mitchell creates electrifying art that you can hang on your wall or drape on your body. There isn't a mural, canvas, headwrap, kimono or pair of Spanx she hasn't slayed. If you're looking for a wildly unique gift to give this season, Abeille Creations is a great place to start. Since Melissa was a youngin', she has found ways to incorporate bright colors and funky lines in her pieces because it's her favorite way to express herself. Her pieces exude confidence and personality which supports her goal of empowering everyone to rock her designs in all spaces from boardrooms to brunches.
Shop Abeille Creations here.
For The Cannabis Enthusiast: Mary & Main
*sings* Mary Jay-aaaaannnneeeeeee! Marijuana, Mary Jane, cannabis, weed or whatever you call it – it is one of the most beautiful plants on this earth with its immense healing properties. While you can cop it from different places, we wanted to equip you with a black-owned dispensary. Not sure if you know but Hope Wiseman was the youngest, African-American dispensary owner back in 2018 when she opened Mary & Main.
If you have a patient card, you can order premium quality cannabis products with exemplary and compassionate service.
Shop Mary & Main here.
For The Shoe Diva: Aminah Abdul Jillil
The Alaskan native started her first collection in 2012 after touring the world with Brittney Spears. Aminah loves to share her creativity through her shoe designs and has ever since she made her first sandal. We are pretty sure you have seen her designs as she is infamous for a large structured bow on a killer shoe. Aminah recalls her inspiration for the first shoe during an interview with Fustany, "The Aminah Abdul Jillil bow pumps were actually the bow sandals first. My husband bought me a purse for my birthday one year, which had a huge leather bow detail that I absolutely fell in love with! So I'd mostly gotten my inspiration from that purse and made a pair of sandals with black leather bows around the ankles."
Style these glamorous pumps or sandals with a simple little black dress or with a graphic tee and distressed jeans.
Shop Aminah Abdul Jillil here.
For The SJW: GreenBoxShop
Green Box Shop
Say it with your chest is a real thing and doing it with a GreenBoxShop is the way to do it. The badass brand was made extremely popular after Frank Ocean's 2017 Panorama set and was conceived by Kayla Robinson in her small apartment after searching for tees that conveyed her true feelings about social justice. She couldn't find any so she made them herself. GreenBoxShop began as a way for her to raise money to become a certified yoga instructor. To Kayla's surprise, she became a well-received t-shirt activist which is helping her delve into urban farming. Her endgame: making healthy and home-grown food more accessible in the many food deserts in our country.
Head over to the shop to add some fire tees to your cart.
Shop GreenBoxShop here.
For The Avid Reader: Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery
Semicolon came about when author, editor and PhD Danielle Mullen shared her dream of being surrounded by books and art. What's in a name? Danielle told the Chicago Review of Books, "I love the idea of a sentence's ability to continue forward whenever the author so chooses. It's so applicable to other aspects of life, which is what I thought made it perfect for the space I was creating." Danielle uses the store as an asset for budding and self-published authors; if they need to print a manuscript in a pinch, Semicolon is the place to go as it houses an Espresso Book Machine, that prints up to 450 pages in minutes.
Danielle has created a space for artists and authors alike to come and build rapport. Best of all, you can order books online from the Chi-Town store.
Shop Semicolon Chi here.
For The Makeup Maven: Coloured Raine
Loraine R Dowdy left a major bag in the financial industry to create Coloured Raine in 2013. She was one of the first brands to be inclusive of all shades and hues. Coloured Raine differs from other beauty brands with its exceptionally made products that also don't put your account in the negative. We are sure the makeup lover in your life would love this as a gift!
Shop Coloured Raine here.
For The Style Maven: Nichole Lynel
Nichole always wanted to be a fashion designer so she used her last to launch her website, Shop Nichole Lynel, to continue to pursue her dreams. She told us earlier this year, "I was always told how hard it was, but I realized the only thing that was really hard was going to work every day and hating it. If it's going to be hard, it might as well be something hard that I actually love. I started at the top floor and knocked on every door until someone told me 'yes'. It took months between the initial idea and the actual launch date. Stepping out on your own is a whole 'nother thing."
The brand is more of a lifestyle than simple clothing options. Nichole's online boutique is what happens when luxury and lifestyle collide. From exclusive pants sets to haute couture dresses, you can find something for every event or avenue in your life.
Shop Nichole Lynel here.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
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Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Summer Walker's 'Caresha Please' Interview Shows Why Yung Miami Is The Ultimate Girl's Girl
As one-half of the City Girls, Yung Miami (born Caresha Brownlee) has always used her voice to empower women, whether it’s telling them to boss up or leave a relationship that’s no longer serving them. And with her Revolt podcast, “Caresha Please,” Miami continues to uplift other women but in a more intimate setting.
The “Act Up” rapper’s latest interview with Summer Walker proves that she not only raps about it but she practices what she preaches. The interview covered everything from the “Unloyal” singer’s dating life to being a mother to her music career. When the conversation shifted to Summer’s anxiety, Miami used the moment to praise the Billboard music award winner’s qualities and talent.
Summer has been vocal about her anxiety in the past and explained that it sometimes affects her when she’s performing. While talking to Miami, she also shared that she struggles with being herself in public because she fears being judged.
“They be judging ratchet b--hes, like they really be judging ratchet b--hes,” the “Pull Up” singer said. “People be like, ‘oh, she look dirty, she look dusty, she’s ghetto, like dadada…so I be tryna just keep it together, and then I know it’s also hard for people to like understand the concept of multifaceted people like people that have different sides of them, like it’s not just one way, and it be confusing people, and they be like, ‘well, how she sing about this but she act like this.”
Summer continued by saying that that’s why she is generally quiet on stage because she doesn’t want to say anything “stupid.”
Miami quickly chimed in to let Summer know that it’s okay to be herself, and that’s why people love her. “Anybody that knows me know like I’m a big Summer Walker fan, and I feel like when it comes to R&B artists, we don’t have a R&B artist that’s showing their personality or showing a different side,” she said.
“When we see R&B artists, we just see like their music and just the reserved them, so I kinda feel like to have a new R&B artist that’s ratchet, that’s themselves, that’s what we need. That’s what’s missing, and that’s what make you, you, and that’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with you because when I found out who Summer Walker was, it was “Girls Need Love,” and then I remember, I saw like a twerking video of you on the pole, and I’m like, ‘I love this b--h.’”
She continued, “Like I never saw that from a R&B singer, and I feel like from one artist to another, I don’t feel like you should bury your personality or not be true to yourself because of perspective.” The “Jobs” artist ended her response by saying that people love others who are authentic.
Summer admitted that everything Miami said was true and that she never thought of it like that. “People just be in their head for no reason,” she said.
We love seeing women give other women their flowers and provide safe spaces. At the end of the interview, both Summer and Miami expressed how much they like each other and how they should hang out more.
Miami’s interview with Summer is the true definition of sisterhood.
Summer Walker Talks Realizing Her Self-Worth, London On Da Track, Lil Meech & More | Caresha Pleasewww.youtube.com
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