Five things Friday roundup: Pride

—Carlos de Toro on Unsplash

In the news, we have learned that Target, among other companies, has received significant backlash for their Pride collections or labeled merchandise. Many have buckled under pressure by either disaffiliating with all things Pride or, in the case of Target, moving their Pride merchandise to the back and cutting certain items. If you’re looking to take your business elsewhere, here are five LGBTQ and Black-owned businesses founded by Black and queer leaders. And no, not everything is bursting with rainbows. Even though some of these items and services might not be your thing, please pass them along to someone who might use their business. There’s a little something for everyone. 

1. What to watch next

Ever find yourself finishing a show or movie and thinking, “I want to see something else like this”? Look no further than the PopViewers app. Owned by Chris Witherspoon, this app allows you to browse similar content and share your experiences with other app users. Witherspoon is an entertainment journalist who recently gave the keynote on living authentically at Ohio University’s Pride Graduation. You can find the app here

2. Looking for a job?

TransTech Social’s objective is to “empower, educate and employ” trans and gender nonconforming folks in the tech industry. TransTech Social was founded by Angelica Ross, who taught herself coding, photo editing and graphic design. She has a passion for teaching others in the LGBTQ community the skills they need to have financial security in an industry that has been discriminatory.

3. Clothing!

K.NGSLY is a high-end clothing line for trans, Black, femme and queer bodies founded by Nigerian-born Kingsley Gbadegesin. Working for the hit ballroom TV show Legendary, Gbadegesin uses part of his six-figure revenue for community organizing and direct support for the LGBTQ community. After working with high-end design companies like Versace, he focused his efforts on becoming both niche and inclusive. His clothes may not be your style or price point, but you might recognize his work on high-profile celebrities. 

4. Vegan cooking

Adjoa Courtney, known professionally as “Chef Joya,” grew up in Milwaukee, Wis., and was raised vegan since she was 7 years old. Spending lots of time in her grandmother’s kitchen, she was inspired to cook food from the wisdom of her elders. She also has the talent of vegan-izing food that would normally contain animal-based products. She is the only vegan chef featured on Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” social media channels. On her website you can buy her cookbooks, find restaurants she has partnered with and learn to start a vegan cooking journey.

5. Accessories

I’m a sucker for a high-end, “goes with everything” bag. Brandon Blackwood has a wide variety of not only bags, but shoes, swimwear and other accessories that cater to a wide variety of fashion tastes. He gained recognition in 2020 when he sold a handbag with the words “End System Racism” in support of Black Lives Matter protests. Portions of the proceeds were donated to Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an organization focused on helping racial and ethnic minorities find legal representation. 

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Originally from northwest Ohio, Joanne Read More

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