Eva Marcille may have announced her departure from The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, but he and her castmate Cynthia Bailey are still tight and this season they’ve come together to do some good for the community.

In partnership with Seagram’s Escapes, they came together to create and promote the Seagram’s Escapes Holiday Marketplace, which is an online shopping destination that features over 2,000 black-owned businesses you can shop with for the holiday season.

“Cynthia and I truly have a genuine and unique bond in so many different ways,” says Marcille. “Her and I are just both so carefree and free-spirited. But more so than anything, her heart and her desire to give back, because you know, the reality is we receive blessings abundantly and this pandemic has hit us hard. And I say us, us Black people—Black business owners. So we wanted to take an opportunity and figure out like, “How the heck can we give back?” And food banks, we’ve been giving back to and shelters and stuff, but we wanted to figure out how to give back in a really big way. And so through Cynthia’s relationship with Seagram’s and her and I just really forcing and really wanting this to happen, we created for the first time ever for Seagram’s, a holiday marketplace featuring all and only black owned businesses.”

The marketplace features business in every category, including mind, body, spirit, and wealth.

Bailey also can relate to the plight of Black business owners because, like Marcille, she is one too.

“Let me tell you, I mean, this really touched me because I have black businesses,” says Bailey. “I’m on Atlanta Housewives, but myself and my castmates, we all have businesses. And what happened during COVID was a lot of people came up with small businesses to supplement their incomes because a lot of people lost jobs.”

If we’re going to spend this year, it’s important says Bailey, that we do our best to pay it forward within the Black community. “It’s important because when black business is closed down, black employees lose jobs and then they can’t feed their families. And I am so, I think one of the things that, came out of this whole, what I’m going out of 2020 with is just a new appreciation for life, for businesses, for everything. Because we took a lot of this stuff for granted.”

For Marcille, the idea was an extension of her everyday lifestyle and therefore something also very near and dear to her heart for the holidays.

“I shop black businesses every day,” says Marcille. “I literally started locs a few months ago for myself. My daughter already has them. And I’m online buying all of these different black loc haircare brands and getting their different products. And so, we exist and we can exist in even a bigger way if we use our platform to amplify that.”

Because holiday shopping doesn’t always end with that last pre-Christmas rush, the marketplace will be online through Dec. 31 and three lucky participating businesses will be selected by Seagram’s Escapes and the reality TV stars to receive grants of $10,000 each. Award winners will be announced Friday, December 18.

For Marcille, she says, it’s about holiday giving and the bigger picture for our community.

“We’re going to get through this pandemic and our businesses are going to stay afloat and we are going to create economic and generational wealth in the black community,” she says.  “And Cynthia and I and Seagram’s are trying to do our part in assisting that.”

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