“The world continues to underestimate the power, creativity, ability, drive ideation and innovation from Black women,” says award-winning actress, producer, fashion icon, and beauty entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross. We honestly couldn’t agree more, specifically in the entrepreneurial space. According to Buy From A Black Women, “Black women have been leading the numbers when it comes to starting a business, but annual sales for Black Women Business Owners are five times smaller than all Women-owned businesses due to lack of support and awareness.” Through its ongoing partnership with H&M, non-profit Buy From A Black Women is on a mission to change this narrative.
Founded by Nikki Porcher in 2016, Buy From a Black Woman connects Black Woman-owned businesses across the United States with a community of support and resources to help them flourish. As ambassador, Ross will amplify the non-profit’s mission bringing more eyes to the platform. “It’s hard to describe in words what it means to have Tracee Ellis Ross as an ambassador for Buy From A Black Woman,” said Porcher via a press release. “This year, we are celebrating and showing the world that Black Women are living examples. I couldn’t think of a better example to help us spread our message of just how important it is to buy from and support Black Women Business Owners better than Ms. Ross.”
Throughout the scope of Tracee’s career, she’s championed, Black women. From her iconic tv roles as trailblazing Black women to supporting Black designers like Cushnie and LaVie, and her hair care line, Pattern, designed to enhance and celebrate curly and coil-y textures. So, this ambassadorship in partnership with H&M and Buy From A Black Woman makes complete sense. “Not only does it feel like so much synergy in terms of my mission in life to help create and join the chorus of people building more equity for Black women, but also to be in a space and in dialogue with a woman and a company that has done so much work and whose work is working, that I could help to support—just feels right,” Ross tells ESSENCE.
As shown through this ongoing partnership, fashion can well be used as a catalyst and an agent for change. “I think the way we clothe our bodies really has an opportunity to do so much,” says Ross. “Using what you have access to as a way to change the narrative, amplify a message, or speak truth is part of what clothing and fashion can do.”
The partnership has entered its second year, with H&M USA continuing its support of Buy From a Black Woman with a wide range of activities and support aimed at maintaining the growth and success of the business owners, starting with a donation of $250,000. “I feel like part of what’s happening here with H&M and Buy From a Black Woman is this really authentic way to bring attention to black female entrepreneurs,” says Ross.
Ross, ever the multihyphenate, has often spoken about the invisibility of Black women. “So often, we’re utilized and not centered, yet we are the center of political, creative, and economic shifts and changes in our world, and yet we remain invisible to a certain extent,” she tells ESSENCE. She elaborates that “this often results in us being under-invested in and as an entrepreneur, the investment, the capital, the resource is what allows you to bring your dreams into the forefront, into reality.”
Through its platforms and retail locations, H&M USA will again sponsor the organization’s Buy From a Black Woman Inspire Tour, highlighting Black Woman-owned businesses across the country. “What I love about this partnership is that H&M looked to someone already doing the work; they didn’t say, this is what we think needs to be done,” says Ross. “They looked to an organization and a woman who is doing the work leaning into working towards fundamental change.”
For more information on the groundbreaking work of Buy From A Black Woman, visit here.