In the light of events that have happened this year, there has been a much needed conversation about the resources and tools that Black creators are given to succeed. 2020 has arguably been taxing on most, but the laser focus mission to support Black businesses from all industries has given hope for a more forward thinking society.

American Express has chosen to use its platform in support of Black-owned small businesses. Launching today, the financial corporation is stepping into new media by launching its new vodcast “Built To Last” – a video and podcast combined hosted by New York Times best-selling author, journalist, producer and former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue Elaine Welteroth.

“This summer has been a difficult time for so many business owners,” she tells ESSENCE. “I think the one hopeful is there’s more interest now to support Black businesses, Black entrepreneurs, and Black creatives but I still think there is a disconnect for a lot of folks’ in terms of discovery.”

Each episode of the vodcast will introduce and honor Black entrepreneurs that have paved the way while also featuring interviews from Black-owned small businesses. “It’s not just about celebrating trailblazers of today but we go back and we rediscover the rich legacy of the Black founders that came before us,” Welteroth exclaims. “I love the idea that its connecting the past with the present to help us kind of pave a brighter future for the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.”

Within the last few months, due to the unprecedented deaths of Black Americans, business owners have gone back to the drawing board about how their Black customers and employees can be more heard. From initiatives to grants to series that intend to continue a conversation that has been urgent for years, there is now a sincere question of how to dismantle unethical, racial discrimination. “We’re talking so much about the problems of this moment, but what is great about this project is it feels like it’s introducing solutions,” Welteroth said. “The intent is to be a part of crafting solutions that are inspiring and uplift our community.”

“The intent is to be a part of crafting solutions that are inspiring and uplift our community.”

Premiering with Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan in Atlanta for the debut episode, weekly episodes will feature business owners including: Issa Rae and Hannah Diop of Sienna Naturals, Corianna and Brianna Dotson of Coco & Breezy, Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa, Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar, and Shannon Maldonado of Yowie. “The message that comes acrosss in the series is this notion that if you show up for your community, your community will show up for you,” Welteroth concluded.

“Built to Last” by American Express will be available starting on October 27, 2020  on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Stitcher, as well as the video podcast episodes on American Express’ YouTube channel.  

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