Since May, the Black Lives Matter movement has yet again caught on fire. Protests have sparked a national outcry for change and discussions on racial justice and have caused people across the U.S. to become more aware of the importance of supporting black-owned businesses. However, according to a 12-month graph from Google Trends for the U.S The search term “black owned” reached a value of 100 ( the peak popularity for a term) from May 31 to June 6, 2020.
Since then, the interest over the time for the search term has largely been on a downward trend, with a few spikes in June and July. With this being said, now more than ever we need to support our local black-owned businesses to bridge that wealth gap and provide consistent support for the movement.
With a plethora of black-owned businesses at your disposal, it may be a bit overwhelming to figure out which one to try first. Well, to make it a bit easier for you, this week The Kitchen Sink (Black-Owned Edition) will be taking a deeper look at a current Maryville student who has turned her passion for art into a beautiful brand highlighting black women, Gifts of JAH.
This week we asked Jada Harris, a current Maryville student, a few questions about her budding small business and what black-owned businesses mean to her.
So Jada…who are you ?
Hello! My name is Jada Harris. I’m a third-year interior design major and a member of the organizations ABC (Association of Black Collegiates) and Mocha T.E.A. on campus.
What is the inspiration behind your artwork and business?
The development of my artwork and business, Gifts of JAH LLC, was inspired by my passion for drawing, and my love for God. My initials, JAH, are also a common name for God in Christianity, so I was certain of adding that to my brand. I’ve always been interested in creating multiple things and not limiting myself to just one category. I love drawing, painting, graphic designing, fashion designing, interior designing, and many more. I have many gifts that God has blessed me with to offer to the world, which is why I decided to add the word “gifts” specifically to my name brand.
If you had to describe Gifts of JAH in one word what would it be and why?
If I had to describe Gifts of JAH in one word, it would be “empowering.” I say this because the purpose of my business is to empower women, especially black women, to have confidence and to love themselves. Black women have been told numerous times that their hair, their skin, or even what they wear, isn’t beautiful or acceptable in society. Because of this, some black women may tend to feel insecure at times and assimilate into the standards of European beauty just to feel beautiful or accepted. With my business, I want to keep reminding all black women that everything about us is impeccable and we are truly precious. It is so important you black women, especially black girls, to know that they are beautiful too. Representation matters and I strongly believe that if a want to see a change, then I have to start with myself.
What does supporting black-owned businesses mean to you?
Supporting black-owned businesses means putting wealth back into our community. I believe that this is one of the major issues in the black community because we tend to give our money away to almost every community but ours. It is okay to support other businesses but we should also have wealth in our community too. Statistics shows, our familial wealth is predicted to fall to $0 by 2053. Although this is very unfortunate, black people still have time to change this if we learn how to start supporting black owned businesses now.
Do you have a quote or anything significant that you would like for our readers to know?
A quote that I would like to share, which has motivated me throughout my journey of being a business owner is to, “invest in yourself.” As you can see, the average person tends to invest in multi-billion dollar businesses daily, not realizing that they can use that money to invest in themselves. I made it a vow to start investing in myself because I want to be able to take vacations and enjoy my life while also running my business the way that I want to.
If you would like to know more about Jada’s beautiful business please feel free to check her out on instagram and her website: