February is Black History Month, so of course at NYNJ we have to pay homage and recognize the critical contributions of Black Americans to American History. And we aren’t alone. After the insanity of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests, there is undoubtedly more of a collective consciousness around diversity, inclusion, and valuing the lives and contributions of black people across the country.
But how do we keep that momentum going?
One month is simply not enough. Supporting the black community as it rebuilds through the trauma of racism has to be an ongoing effort that extends beyond Black History Month and past national movements and trends.
So how do you show that support? Whether you’re a member of the black community or an ally, the answer is simple….
Speak with your dollar.
Investing in the black community is one of the simplest and most sustainable ways one can show support. Patronizing a black-owned business ensures that jobs are created, money is circulating, and families are fed.
“But, Kaity, I don’t know any Black-owned businesses!”
I figured that might be a concern. But don’t worry; I’ve got you! Below are 5 awesome Black-owned businesses based in NJ to get you started.
1. Black Swan Expresso – Newark
Located in the heart of downtown Newark on Halsey Street, Black Swan Expresso is a favorite among college students and business professionals alike. Try their classic Mocha, which is a blend of gourmet chocolate sauce, expresso, and steamed milk. Or if you’re health conscious, their matcha latte is another fan favorite.
*Check out their IG for new operating hours.
2. SoliDairy Creamery – Northern, NJ
Orange Ginger. Blueberry Lavender Honey. Mint Brownie. Is your mouth watering yet? If so, head over to SoliDairy Creamery to order farm-fresh, locally sourced ice cream. The company promises that their product is hand-packed with love and for each pint of ice-cream sold, they will donate one facial mask to the organization, Neighbors Without Addresses. Receive 10% off your pre-order while they are still in their launch phase!
3. Sonny Meat Market – Edison
If you’re craving Carribean specialties like oxtails or looking for non-traditional meat products like turkey-neck bones and beef ribs, check out Sonny’s Meat Market in Edison. Sonny’s is a family owned and operated butcher and meat market that also carries prepared food and grocery items.
4. Above Art Studios – New Brunswick
Above Art Studios is a unique multipurpose space that not only showcases Black Art, but also hosts events that foster unity and wellness within the Black community. Prior to COVID, the studio offered meditation sessions, yoga classes, game nights and even speed dating events; however, events have temporarily transitioned online, where their art curations can also be viewed and purchased.
5. Bloomfield Wax and Skin Care Center – Bloomfield
If the luxe decor and ocean blue color scheme don’t garner your interest, the skin care and spa services certainly will. Guests at Bloomfield Wax and Skin Care Center can expect an upscale approach to skin care, waxing, body wraps, teeth whitening, and even “vajacials!” Book ahead of time. This business is booked weeks in advance.
Kaity Rodriguez, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, confidence educator, and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring girls and women to live amazing lives. Her counseling practice, Serenity Wellness and Therapy Services, is located in Montclair, NJ and specializes in treating individuals with anxiety and stress disorders, as well as self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Kaity is a former Miss New Jersey USA and the author of “Welcome to the Couch: a beginner’s guide to therapy”. She has been featured on outlets such as FOX News, News 12 NJ, and NBC.