GCBCC Announces Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Business Collaborative

The purpose of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts of Gwinnett County Black Chamber of Commerce is to accelerate racial equity and inclusion by leveraging our community’s power of collective partnerships. Together we will find solutions that generate meaningful change, dismantle systemic racism and make our Gwinnett community live up to the state and regional diversity of our county.

Systemic racism, immobility and inequity are all too prevalent. But we, Black business owners and the diverse community of Gwinnett County, can change things in our own communities.

Become a part of the our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) today. Contact us today.

Buy Black Everyday

“If 2021 taught us anything, it’s how to be more thoughtful about the brands we support, whether it’s supporting a good cause or choosing to shop from small businesses,” writes Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored.

Throughout Gwinnett there are many Black-owned businesses from beauty supply to gourmet restaurants and we encourage you to “buy Black’ as often as you can. Being intentional about how you spend your hard-earned money is critical in 2022. Here is a list of Black businesses throughout Gwinnett.

Not only are there great Black-owned businesses in our local area, but there are many around the country providing “superior products that we can use every day,” as showcased in the following CNN article.

From a brand that makes paint shopping easy to streetwear for dogs to fashionable swimwear, we believe these are the Black-owned businesses you should shop now for your daily essentials.


BeautyStat Universal C Eye PerfectorBeautyStat

Founded by cosmetic chemist Ron RobinsonBeautyStat is quickly becoming an industry-favorite skin care brand for its expert-created beauty products that really get the job done. One such product is the Universal C Eye Perfector ($65; nordstrom.com), a vitamin C-based formula that’s meant to brighten the sensitive skin around the eye while utilizing CMH repair complex to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. We love the lightweight application and how it visibly firms under the eye while diminishing puffiness. And if you’re interested in more Black-owned beauty brands, check out the ones we think you should know here.


Kahmune Kennedy FlatsKahmune

Jamela Acheampong started Kahmune after quite literally painting a pair of white pumps to match her skin tone to create her true nude shoe. After all, everyone’s “nude” is not a shade of beige or tan. The brand is on a mission to offer footwear styles to match everyone’s nude no matter their complexion. For instance, the Kennedy Flats ($200; shopbop.com) are available in your choice of seven shades to find your perfect shoe.


ByChari Sade HoopByChari

Chari Cuthbert founded Bychari as a way to create unique and modern jewelry pieces influenced by her personal approach to fashion. Since its launch, the brand’s handmade pieces have been donned by notable figures, from Michelle Obama’s iconic “Vote” necklace to influencers like Chiara Ferragni. Despite being spotted on our favorite A-listers, the brand nonetheless has affordable yet stunning offerings too, such as the Sade Hoop ($70; bychari.com) that’s surely going to become a staple in our jewelry collection.

Melissa Simone Swim

Melissa Simone One Piece

Melissa Simone One-PieceNordstrom

Melissa Gardner, founder of Melissa Simone Swim, designs some of the most trendsetting swimwear we’ve seen, which is why you’ve likely seen the brand all over your Instagram feeds. Like how cool is this one-piece ($180; revolve.com)?

Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold Limu Ethiopia Natural Processed, Light Roast Whole BeanTarget

Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson founded specialty coffee and tea brand Blk & Bold to bring people together through delicious beverages while giving back 5% of its profits to initiatives that support youth community programs, youth homelessness and workforce development. So when you shop the brand, not only are you supporting a great cause, but you’re also enjoying a superb brew — like the Limu Ethiopia Natural Processed, Light Roast Whole Bean ($15.89; target.com) that tastes of honey, chocolate and blueberry. Check out more of its offerings at Target here.

Ayesha Curry Cookware

Ayesha Curry Home Nonstick 9-Piece Cookware SetAmazon

If you’re in the market for some high-quality cookware to upgrade your old faithfuls after endless hours in the kitchen this quarantine, you should consider Ayesha Curry’s Collection ASAP. Known for her culinary aptitude, the actress and author’s assortment of kitchenware (the cast-iron Dutch oven, to be exact) even landed itself as part of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020. We’d recommend getting your hands on the Nonstick 9-Piece Cookware Set ($109.99; amazon.com) to handle nearly any dish for just over $100.

Nude Barre

Nude Barre Footed Convertible Opaque TightsNude Barre

Motivated by her frustrations with finding hosiery that matched her skin tone while working as a professional dancer, Erin Carpenter founded Nude Barre to provide proper undergarments for women of color. Now you can shop the brand’s collection of hosiery for adults and children with ease, like the Footed Convertible Opaque Tights ($18; shopbop.com) that are made of a soft, stretchy fabric perfect to move around in.


Partake Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesTarget

Strolling down the snack aisle of your local Target, you’ve likely spotted these vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly treats. Founded by Denise Woodard in an effort to provide healthy snacks that were delicious to eat for her daughter who suffered from severe allergies, Partake wants to make sure those with dietary restrictions can enjoy their food too. So if you have a sweet tooth and want to consume only the best ingredients, give the brand’s Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies ($6.29; target.com) a try during your next shopping trip, and check out more of the goods at Target here.


Gilded Pink Onyx Marble CandleGilded

Blair Armstrong’s Gilded makes self-care a No. 1 priority by supplying products that make taking care of yourself easy and luxurious, leaving you feeling rejuvenated. What better way to set the self-care mood than with a candle? Get your hands on the brand’s Pink Onyx Marble Candle ($88; gildedbody.com) in your choice of 11 fragrances that will smell as good as this candle looks.

Good Man Brand

Good Man Brand Slim Fit HenleyNordstrom

Co-founded by NFL star Russell WilsonGood Man Brand set out to provide clothes that are stylish and comfortable and have a modern athletic fit, all while supporting the football player’s Why Not You Foundation that focuses on youth empowerment. The brand offers a selection of menswear essentials, like the Slim Fit Henley ($98; nordstrom.com) that will seamlessly transition from winter to spring.

Twelve AM Co.

Twelve AM Co. So Good Fluffy SlippersAmazon

In Areial Lomack’s Twelve AM Co. shoe marketplace, you’re sure to find a pair to complete your next look, whether it be an everyday pair of sandals or that heel you might wear only once. We have our eyes on the So Good Fluffy Slippers ($48; amazon.com), available in three colors, that look and feel luxurious.

Capital City

Capital City Sweet Hot Mambo SauceTarget

If you’re from the DMV, mambo sauce is likely a quintessential part of your diet. The sweet and tangy sauce, known to be poured all over chicken wings, can give you a taste of the region’s most notorious condiment. Founded by Arsha Jones and her late husband, Charles Jones, Capital City even offers a Sweet Hot Mambo Sauce ($8.59; target.com) that delivers just the right amount of heat — so good it has a 5-star rating at Target. Looking for more spice? Check out our roundup of the spiciest foods on Amazon too.


SoapSox Hunter The Gator Bath Sponge Wash MittTarget

Founded by Ray PhillipsSoapSox has an assortment of products that turn bath time into playtime. From your child’s favorite cartoon characters to an adorable Jackson the Whale ($9.99; target.com), the brand offers a selection of bath mitts that allow you to insert liquid or bar soap into the compartment of the stuffed animal to keep your kid entertained while they bathe.


Culture Brands CultureTags Card GameTarget

Eunique Jones Gibson created the CultureTags Card Game ($22.98; target.com) as a way to bring people together and celebrate culture. To play virtually or in person, you divide into teams to guess the hashtag or acronym on the card without saying what it is, with categories from Black Twitter to song lyrics. Reviewers love it because it’s perfect to play with family.

Zelie for She

Zelie for She Wilderness Cozy Long Sleeve TopNordstrom

Elann Zelie founded Zelie for She to celebrate individuality and tell the stories of travel, friendship and self-empowerment through plus-size clothing. With sizes XL through 3X and recently available at Nordstrom, the brand’s offerings include everything from velvet robes to vibrant bell-bottom pants. We’re fawning over the Staycation Maxi Dress (from $54.50, originally $109; nordstrom.com) that’s a must-have versatile wardrobe piece.

Fresh Pawz

Fresh Pawz TieDye Adjustable Mesh Dog HarnessTarget

Streetwear for dogs? Yes, please. Grab your furry friend some drip to match yours like this Tie-Dye Adjustable Mesh Dog Harness ($33.49; target.com) that’s seriously fun. Founded by Christopher CargnoniFresh Pawz aims to provide fashion for dogs unlike anything you’ve ever seen before — products that are high-quality without sacrificing modern style. Be sure to check out our vet-approved picks of everything else your dog needs too.


Converse x Telfar Chuck 70

Converse x Telfar Chuck 70Ssense

Telfar is without a doubt one of the most notable names in fashion right now for the brand’s iconic vegan leather Shopping Bag totes that require plenty of patience to get your hands on and are redefining what it means to be a luxury brand. The eponymous label, founded by Telfar Clemens, offers an array of unisex products that celebrate community and individuality. Telfar recently collaborated with Converse for a collection inspired by vintage athleticwear, including this white Converse x Telfar Chuck 70 ($140; telfar.com) that’s a unique take on the shoe brand’s original Chuck 70.


Powerhandz Anti-Grip Basketball Weighted Training Gloves

Powerhandz Anti-Grip Basketball Weighted Training GlovesTarget

Founded by Darnell Jones and Danyel Surrency JonesPowerhandz provides athletic and rehabilitation gear that enhances the performance of athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts. Reviewers of the brand’s Anti-Grip Basketball Weighted Training Gloves ($69.99; target.com) rate these 5 stars at Target for significantly improving their strength, handling and overall ball control on the court.


Clare Current Mood Wall PaintClare

Looking to spruce up that unfinished room with a pop of color? Look no further than Clare, a brand that hopes to make your paint shopping easy. Founded by interior designer Nicole Gibbons, Clare not only offers high-quality and highly pigmented paint options, but also technology, paint swatches and practically anything else you need to guide your next project. Whether you’re into Current Mood Wall Paint ($59 per gallon; clare.com) that’s an intense green or just want a bright white, Clare offers low-odor, washable and self-priming paints that resist dirt, grime and mildew.


Goodee x Tala Gaia Bulb PendantNordstrom

The online marketplace Goodee, founded by Byron and Dexter Peart, wants to empower both creators and consumers to make a positive impact through items at the intersection of good design and good purpose, as shown by the brand ensuring its supply chain workers receive a living wage and even donating a portion of proceeds to marginalized communities. Goodee partnered with Nordstrom to curate a collection of ethically made home essentials under $100, like this stunning Goodee x Tala Knuckle Table Lamp ($100; nordstrom.com) that’ll add a unique touch to any space.

54 Thrones

54 Thrones Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint Beauty Butter54 Thrones

54 Thrones, founded by Christina Funke Tegbe, is committed to providing ethically sourced beauty products that pay homage to the diverse array of cultures across Africa by using botanicals grown amongst the continent’s 54 countries. The brand’s Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint Beauty Butter (from $24; nordstrom.com) is one of its top-rated products for being a calming and soothing facial or body moisturizer with a delightful scent to match.

Scotch Porter

Scotch Porter Daily Face Care BundleScotch Porter

Calvin Quallis’s brand Scotch Porter has all the tools you need for a superior grooming experience that’s sure to leave you feeling more confident — a feeling that inspired him to create products in the first place. Whether you rock a beard or prefer a clean shave, you should consider adding the Daily Face Care Bundle ($19.50, originally $23; scotchporter.com) to your routine. The set includes a face wash and lotion for essentials that support healthy-looking and -feeling skin.

Andrea Iyamah

Menasa Bikini Top

Andrea Iyamah Menasa Bikini TopRevolve

It’s never too early to start shopping for that vacation you’ve been dreaming about all quarantine. Be sure to check out Nigerian fashion designer Andrea Iyamah’s eponymous label for swimwear and ready-to-wear statement pieces inspired by ethnic culture and elements in nature, celebrating her own African roots. We’ve long obsessed over the brand’s artful swim collections, especially the Menasa Bikini Top ($105; revolve.com), which comes in a beautiful pastel lilac shade that’s sure to turn heads.

Wrap Life

The Wrap Life Ribbed Stretch BandieAmazon

Nnenna Stella founded Wrap Life out of her exploration of her individuality and personal style. She loved wearing head wraps to accentuate her natural hair, yet she found it difficult to shop for them, so she created her own. Now the brand offers a collection of head wraps, bandies and turbanettes like this Goldenrod version ($19; amazon.com) that’s available in eight shades inspired by the Pantone SkinTone Guide, meant to complement a diverse array of skin tones.

The Fresh Dolls

World of Epi Fresh Dolls – MiaWorld of Epi

Representation really matters to young people who deserve to see themselves accurately depicted in everything from movies to the toys they play with. That’s why Dr. Lisa Williams created The Fresh Dolls (through her company, World of Epi) — so that every girl around the world could see her own beauty through the dolls she collected, thus building her self-esteem. Reviewers rave about dolls like the Mia Fresh Doll ($12.89; amazon.com) that portray realistic beauty standards from their skin tones to their hairstyles.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed price at the time of publication.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/01/cnn-underscored/black-owned-businesses/index.html

The Death Of Kay DeBow Alford Leaves A Void In Black Business Empowerment

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The National Black Chamber of Commerce announced this week the death of its co-founder Kay DeBow Alford on July 19, 2021.

Highly focused, efficient and determined, Kay was the linchpin of the Chamber, defining multitasking to its highest degree.

Kay, as she was affectionately known, was named Kayanne at birth on December 12, 1957, to the parents of Charles DeBow Jr. and Aurelia Jane Stuart in Indianapolis, Indiana. She seemed to be born for business leadership, coming from a family that were known educators and entrepreneurs.

Kay’s father, Charles DeBow Jr. was one of the first four Tuskegee Airmen, serving in World War II. Kay’s maternal family were the Stuarts, who were entrepreneurs, owning several successful businesses in the greater Indianapolis area.

A graduate of Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, she received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She began her professional career at Colgate-Palmolive in Detroit, Michigan. It was in Detroit on June 8, 1980, Kay met husband-to-be Harry Cicero Alford Jr.

After a short courtship Kay and Harry were married on October 31, 1980.

The Alfords made their home in Indianapolis. Kay pursued government work and at the height of that work she became the Director of Marketing for the Hoosier State Lottery in Indiana.

The couple also became entrepreneurs owning several video stores and private ventures.

Through their business experiences, Kay and Harry early on realized there was a need for a national connection.

When Kay DeBow Alford and her husband Harry left Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to Washington, D.C. in September 1994, they had already founded the National Black Chamber of Commerce on May 23, 1993.

They had begun locally to fill the void of a Black business organization by founding the Hoosier Minority Chamber of Commerce in Indianapolis which evolved into the NBCC.

The NBCC was crafted from the empowerment principles of Booker T. Washington, the business acumen of Congressman Parren Mitchell, and enforced by the father of affirmative Action Arthur Fletcher.

Kay and Harry Alford took the business mission to new heights.

The organization, comprised of chapters throughout the United States expanded its reach internationally to France, Mexico, England, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Kenya, and Ghana.

Kay coordinated and singlehandedly organized and produced the national and international conventions and conferences.

She helped guide the NBCC, assuring its participation in business discussions on Capitol Hill and their interaction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Officers and members were saddened by Kay’s death and sent along messages:
“Kay was the backbone of the National Black Chamber, the mother and driving force behind the great accomplishments of the NBCC. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and who benefitted from her tireless drive to make the nation better for all Black business owners,” said Chairman of the NBCC and President/CEO of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce.

“We will continue her legacy to fight for the improvement of African American communities throughout the Black Diaspora.”

John E. Harmon, Sr., Founder, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) remembered Kay by saying, “words, although spoken softly, were at times, penetrating, yet nurturing and impactful.”

“Her commitment to attaining the best for Blacks was the cornerstone of her advocacy. I am grateful for the moments we shared together and her investment in my development as a Chamber Executive which has led to huge dividends for many and will never be forgotten.”

“The business community lost one of its champions with the passing of Kay DeBow Alford. Co-founder of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) with her husband, Harry Alford, she was the power behind the scenes of the many accomplishments of the NBCC,” said Dorothy R. Leavell, who served as a Board member and previous Chairman of the Board of the NBCC.

As serious and fierce as she was in the business arena, she was equally invested in her family. A devoted wife to Harry Jr. of forty-one years and the mother of twins, Harry III and Thomas, both successful sportsmen and businessmen.

Her most recent pride was being the grandma to Tatum and Archer. Her abounding love stretched out to her brothers, Charles Henry DeBow III and William Weir DeBow; sister, Natalie Jane; nephew Jonathon C. DeBow and countless nieces and nephews.

Services will culminate with burial in Shreveport, Louisiana. Services are entrusted to the Winnfield Funeral Home, Shreveport, LA.