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Putting money in the hands of queer, Black business owners is one way to stand up for Black lives during Pride month, and always.
It’s June, but this is no ordinary Pride month.
Sure, the coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of Pride parades in dozens of communities. But it’s not just COVID-19 that’s impacting the way we show up and out in the name of gay pride—it’s white supremacy.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, just three recent victims of police brutality and anti-Black racism, have brought the #BlackLivesMatter movement back to the forefront of our everyday lives. Pride parades are usually massive events with fabulous drag queens, well-oiled physiques, and rainbows plastered with corporate logos. But this year, as we take to the streets to protest police brutality, white supremacy, and stand up for all Black lives, we might be closer to commemorating Pride’s radical roots than we have been in years: the first Pride event was a police riot. It was led by Black and Latinx queer and trans folks.
When the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, queer New Yorkers fought back, with Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera leading the charge. Bar patrons and bystanders scuffled with police for almost three hours, with Stormé DeLarverie throwing the first punch, and a movement was born. The next year, and every year since, LGBTQ+ people around the country have commemorated the Stonewall Riots with gay pride parades.
It’s more important than ever for all queer people to stand up for Black lives. White and non-Black queer and trans people: this is our fight too. There’s no queer liberation without Black liberation, and that’s at the very heart of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Alicia Garza, a queer Black woman, helped found the movement, and the struggle against police brutality is unapologetically Black, queer, and feminist. Our solidarity is the true expression of queer community: this is Pride month.
Supporting the movement for Black lives can mean anything from taking to the streets to educating yourself and others about racism and white supremacy to donating money to bail funds and civil rights groups. But don’t forget that your shopping dollars can do work, too.
Year-round, supporting Black-owned small businesses is a way of challenging structural economic racism. It’s even more important right now, as Black businesses face bigger losses and steeper hurdles to recovery in the COVID-19 pandemic.
So this month (and always), putting your money in the hands of queer Black business owners, entrepreneurs, and artists is an appropriate (and maybe more purely celebratory) way to stand up for Black lives. So, here are fourteen Etsy shops owned by queer Black crafters and artists that you’ll want to turn to for perfect gifts and everyday items all year round.
Ateliers Franglais.e is a Black and queer owned slow fashion startup based in Montreal. Like lots of makers, Ateliers Franglais.e has begun making and selling masks in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Their Etsy shop stocks handmade cotton masks in bright African wax prints with two layers of filtering fabrics and a pocket for inserting a filter for extra protection.
Reuben Reuel launched his womenswear brand DEMESTIK in 2012. His clothing pairs African prints, soft cotton fabrics, and architectural designs. (Beyonce is a huge fan of his work.) He’s featuring gorgeous sculptural face masks in his Etsy shop, a dose of high fashion in the midst of the coronavirus. His bowtie sculpted masks are sold out right now, so check back.
Stylist and photographer Sabine Maxine has an amazing eye for vintage clothing. Her impeccably curated shop features gorgeous women’s clothing in a variety of unusual textures and fabrics, including plus sizes, and a handful of gender neutral items. Her shop currently features a vintage Vera Wang wedding gown and a pair of perfect green velvet Prada mules—but probably not for long!
FtM Detroit is a community-based group made by and for transmasculine identified people in Detroit. Pick up one of their beautifully designed graphic tees (love this “Home Sweet Homo” Detroit skyline tee) and support the group's activism and social support projects.
Jean Pierre Nugloze's N'Kossi Boutique features affordable bespoke suiting and dresses in West African fabrics at his shop in Portland, OR. (Custom two-piece suits start at $350.) On Etsy, he offers colorful jewelry and ready-to-wear items that can be tailored to fit, including wax print bomber jackets and hoodies, dresses, and some suiting.
Osa Atoe’s handmade terracotta pottery is designed with daily use in mind. As she writes on the shop page, “I'd like to see more people bringing the art & intentionality of handmade crafts into their everyday lives.” She is currently sold out, but you can check out past offerings and sign up to be notified when she restocks. (She also wrote and edited Shotgun Seamstress, a ’zine by and for Black Punks, which has been collected into a book.)
Arizona-based artist Matice Moore is the printmaker and painter behind Love Letters for Liberation. In addition to original artwork like this portrait of Audre Lorde, her Etsy shop sells gear featuring her great graphic Black Lives Matter linocut print. Pick up a yard sign or twenty—or patches, stickers, hoodies, and onesies.
Joyce, based in London, makes art "designed to bash back against white supremacist, heteronormative, patriarchal oppression while keeping it cute." Digital-print posters feature art and quotations from folks like James Baldwin, Jean Michel Basquiat, and afrofuturist musical sensation Sun Ra. He also sells copies of his zines.
Fine art photographer Jamila Clarke specializes in nature photography, surreal and conceptual portraiture, and still life images. (Her "Cup Full of Stars" still life is a reference to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.) Her work features muted tones and places her subjects in dream-like settings. Prints are available in custom sizes, with and without frames.
Xiomara Lorenzo started designing jewelry in her college dorm room. Her beautiful earrings are hand-designed and 3D printed, and she focuses on what she calls continuous movement—in her designs, you can't tell where a line begins or ends.
The Healing Place Apothecary boasts plant-based skincare products for diverse skin types. The company, based in Oakland, CA, also offers young people of color jobs and training “in an environment where quality education and employment opportunities can seem out of reach.”
Editor's Note: This article originally listed 14 businesses but mistakenly listed a non-queer owned business and has been updated.