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25 marketplaces and festivals to crash during Black History Month

in Arts & Culture/Business & Technology by

There has never been a more important time in recent history for communities to support marketplaces and festivals featuring Black and African diasporic crafts persons and businesses.

With the growing racial wealth gap and increasing shifts of urban centers pushing out Black and other communities of color, along with poor and working class folk, many businesses cannot afford brick-and-mortar establishments. So, many of them go old school. Like, ancient African-Olmec trade routes where they caravan from one site to the next.

Marketplaces, bazaars, collective pop ups and shared commercial spaces are becoming the norm for consumers who prefer shopping local and selecting unique items. Plus, with stores like Macy’sapproximately 125 stores in lower tier malls within three years, and exploring new off-mall formats.” 

Shops like Macy’s show a great shift in the consumer who can easily buy things online. With the growing digital market, comes a need to interact with people in the commercial space some way. This is where marketplaces fill the void. For Black companies, the need to interact with customers is critical, and to be visible.

Wayne Smith, former mayor of Irvington, New Jersey, an adjacent city to Newark with a population of about 82 percent Black or African American residents said, “I sincerely [hope] these events allow . . . communities of color to build an infrastructure around economic survival. It allows [us to] know what businesses are out there that we can buy from, support, and recommend. Also we can not expect corporate America and various levels of government to support and buy from businesses we do not support.”

Here is a quick and dirty list of marketplaces and festivals around the country that have vendor spaces you will enjoy. Some of them have skin in the gain, while most are new. The best way to support is show up:

  1. Melanin Market LA: Los Angeles

  2. Black History Month Bazaar: Oklahoma City

  3. Malcolm Shabazz Market: Harlem

  4. Roots Collective Black Marketplace: Miami

  5. Leed’s University Union Farmer’s Market X Black History Month: London

  6. ATL Love Fest: Atlanta

  7. Black Joy Parade and Festival: Oakland

  8. Market 7: Washington DC

  9. BlckMarket Houston

  10. Black to the Future Festival: Washington DC

  11. Pan African Film Festival ARTFest: Los Angeles

  12. Gullah Market and Block Party: An Arts, Crafts & Food Expo: Hilton Head, South Carolina

  13. Black Business Bazaar: Englewood, NJ 

    Melanin Marketplace LA. Photo credit: Melanin Marketplace

  14. Black History Month Market: Atlanta

  15. Pop Up & Sip Pre-Valentine’s Day: For The Love of Black Business: Maplewood, NJ

  16. African Pop Up Festival: NYC

  17. 2020 Black People’s Caucus: Phoenix

  18. Sankofa Marketplace: Inglewood + Sacramento + Oakland

  19. The Afro Market Exchange: Clearwater, Fla.

  20. BLACtivate! | The Black Owned Business Marketplace: Black Love Edition: Philadelphia

  21. 2020 Black History Month Festival in Leimert Park: Los Angeles

  22. Black Arts Festival + Black, Indigenous and People of Color Community Marketplace: Portland

  23. For the Culture Church Street Festival: Orlando

  24. Black Food Truck Friday: Charlotte

  25. Indiana Black Farmers Co-op: Indianapolis

Pan African Film Festival ARTFEst Director and Creator, Allohn Agbenya. Photo credit: Pan African Film Festival

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