Let’s get creative.
The Venture CEO of one of the most popular black-owned magazines just announced a collaboration designed to help black creatives. Richelieu Dennis, founder of Shea Moisture, along with iconic rapper Queen Latifa announced the project earlier this month at the Essence Festival.
According to Essence, the Liberia native, Dennis, will invest $20 million dollars into the Essence Fund, a program designed to nourish capital black makers and creators. The fund’s first partner is set to be Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment. According to Dennis, the program will ensure that black creatives “can own our talent and not just be work for hire.”
“One of the most difficult things is struggling to find the capital to continue your ideas,” Latifah said during a discussion on entrepreneurship. “So by supporting us, you are going to keep this engine running in a way you aren’t even going to imagine.”
Along with The Essence Fund For Makers and Creators, Dennis recently announced his New Voices Fund, which will invest $100 million dollars in businesses led by women of color.
What Does This Mean For Black-Owned Businesses?
As racism and bigotry continue to rise in America, the support of one another has become a necessity now more than ever, especially from minorities.
Earlier in January, Essence announced it’s reclaiming of being a black-owned business once again, elating readers of the 48-year-old magazine.
“I am a believer that when we own our media companies they represent an authentic voice,” said Melody Spann-Cooper, chairwoman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation. “We have an opportunity to control our media and tell our own story and that is often muted when traditional media companies that represent the African-American culture are owned by someone outside of an African-American’s hands it loses something. This is historical.”
Black-owned business has grown tremendously over the past few years, the U.S. Black Chamber reporting an increase from 1.9 million businesses in 2012 to over 2.6 million in 2015. According to the U.S. Census, women are leading the rise of black-owned businesses.
With the new fund from Dennis and Latifah, black creatives are encouraged to start their own businesses and strive for their goals. With Essence supporting the cause, publishing articles about black-owned businesses, this may mean a huge turn of faith for creatives in this generation.