Support Local Black-owned Businesses
Show support for Black Lives Matter by donating to the right organizations, participating in peaceful protests and hiring, shopping and dining from local black-owned businesses.
Theresa Brown and Jamie Coelho contributed to this post.
After the murder of George Floyd by the knee of a police officer and countless acts of police brutality against unarmed people of color, it’s important that we use our platform to show solidarity and support for all people of color and the Black Lives Matter movement. Here at Rhode Island Monthly, we’re going to dedicate ourselves to telling more positive stories about the community of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the pages of our magazine and on our website.
Ray Rickman, co-founder and executive director of Stages of Freedom, explains that racism is not just violent acts, it’s systemic. “This is a racist society. People see racism when a cop kills somebody by putting his [knee] on him for eight minutes and it gets videotaped,” he says. “But racism is in the culture, it’s in the government and it’s in everything. And we don’t tackle it.”
One way we can tackle it is to donate to local worthy causes such as the Providence and Newport branches for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, as well as Stages of Freedom, a nonprofit that helps build community by creating and providing programming and events about Black Rhode Island life and culture as well as youth access to swimming, cultural opportunities, museums and live performances. Another local group is called Thinking Black Men of Providence, a small black radio station that is also committed to the intellectual development of young black men in Rhode Island through mentoring.
There are also national groups like Color of Change, the Minnesota-based Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, or you can choose to donate directly to the family of George Floyd for his memorial fund or the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
Another way to support people of color is to invest in their businesses and amplify their voices. Here’s a short list of businesses you can support right now and use as a resource guide for planning events, hiring catering and marketing support and dining out and shopping. If we missed any businesses that belong on this list, please add a comment below and we will be sure to keep it updated.
FOOD AND DRINK
Garden of Eve, 405 Harris Ave., Providence, 401-688-5166, gardenofeveri.com
Garden of Eve, owned and operated by chef Yveline Bontemp, graduate of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s Community Kitchen program and Best Of Rhode Island Award winner for Caribbean Food, is dedicated to serving authentic dishes from Haiti. The Haitian restaurant offers dishes such as curry chicken, beef tasso, oxtail stew and other Caribbean specialties, including jerk chicken. Read about Garden of Eve here.
The Glow Cafe and Juice Bar, 389 Admiral St., Providence, 401-421-7000, eatdrinkglow.com
The Glow Cafe and Juice Bar offers a variety of healthy options to accompany your at-home workout, or as a great addition to a sunny day. The bar offers delivery and pickup options for protein and fruit smoothies and bowls, vegan Jamaican patties and other fresh juices. The Glow Cafe and Juice Bar is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Black Leaf Tea and Culture Shop, theblackleaftea.com
The Black Leaf Tea and Culture Shop was started in 2019 by Amber Jackson. The company offers many different tea and herb blends, such as “Lotus” and “Glow,” that promote health, while promoting community engagement and celebrating Black culture. Jackson recently held a virtual panel discussion on Racism in the Hospitality Industry. She recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help her upscale her business by increasing her inventory so she can keep up with demand.
Island House Restaurant, 242 Broad St., Providence, 401-572-3011, islandhouserestaurantri.com
The Island House Restaurant is known for authentic Jamaican dishes both in the restaurant and also as a catering company. In addition to creating Jamaican cuisine, the restaurant also shares recipes for the dishes on the website.
Flames Restaurant, 734 Eddy St., Providence, 401-331-2225
Meals at Flames come small, medium and large, but no matter the size, you can expect a heaping takeout tray filled with meat, rice and vegetables to last more than one portion. Choose from the cafeteria-style spread, which starts with a pile of plain white or yellow rice with pigeon peas, followed by choices like the terrific spicy blackened jerk chicken, oxtail with savory gravy, curried goat, shrimp or snapper and more, served with a scoop of coleslaw. Pair it with a Jamaican pineapple soda and a famous meat patty, and you might just have dinner for days.
Humming Bird Newport, 104 Broadway, Newport, 401-619-0032, hummingbirdnewport.com
The Humming Bird, located in Newport, offers guests “a taste of the Caribbean” with dishes such as Jamaican jerk chicken and oxtail. All dishes are available for pickup starting June 2.
Ja Patty, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, 401-302-3185, japatty.com
Ja Patty’s founders Conroy Outar and Alison Rosario grew up with a love for Jamaican food and culture. Many years later, they took this love to the kitchen and created a place where they could share the food they enjoyed. Ja Patty offers Jamaican patty dishes made of seasoned meat or vegetables enveloped in the company’s signature dough.
The District, 54 South St., Providence, 401-421-0050, thedistrictri.com
This award-winning pizza place offers a variety of pizzas, sandwiches and pasta dishes to enjoy. The District is open for takeout and delivery Thursday through Sunday.
Troop, 60 Valley St., Providence, 401-484-0046, trooppvd.com
This Black, Indian, white and female minority-owned business “lives, breathes and believes in power equality and inclusion.” Troop’s founders established the restaurant with the dream of creating an innovative and unique experience for guests while celebrating street culture and music. The menu includes fun dishes and drinks such as the grilled chickpea salad, Vietnamese short ribs, margarita jello shots and the best-selling pineapple upside-down cocktail. Read our food critic Karen Deutsch’s review of Troop.
Bake Eat Love, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket, 401-302-0207, bakeeatlovebakery.com
When Crystal Sparkman started Bake Eat Love, it was an at-home business, but over the past few years, it has grown to serve more than 400 clients. Bake Eat Love offers a variety of sweets such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more.
Maxine Baked, 401-753-3605, maxinebaked.com
Shantel Maxine Neal learned to bake from her grandmother, Grammie Maxine. She’s turned her homestyle recipes into a business serving up cupcakes, celebration cakes, cookies and more. She also hosts private decorating parties and can be found at different pop-ups throughout the state such as Blackbird Farmers Market every other weekend in Smithfield.
Incred-a-bowl, 208 Vermont Ave., Providence, 401-305-0490, incredabowl.square.site
The Incred-a-Bowl food truck offers Asian-fusion bowls on the go. The menu includes a variety of dishes such as the Spicy Kim Noodle Bowl (udon with chicken or tofu, chopped veggies and kimchi), the Cuban Chili Mango Bowl (rice, chicken, chili-seasoned mango, black beans, mojo aioli and plantain chips) and more.
Cakes by Eboni, 881 Waterman Ave., East Providence, 401-442-8084, cakesbyeboni.square.site
Cakes by Eboni is Eboni Silva’s small, scratch-made bakery serving Rhode Island and surrounding Massachusetts areas. Custom-designed cakes, cakesicles and treats can be made for any occasion in a variety of flavors. She creates sculpted cakes, uses fondant to feature themes and uses drip techniques, fresh flowers and berries to create beautiful designs. By appointment only. Please call to place an order and arrange pickup. She works out of Feast and Fettle at 881 Waterman Ave. in East Providence.
White Dog Distilling, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Unit 2-143, Pawtucket, whitedogdistilling.com
White Dog Distilling is a bar and distillery located in the historic Lorraine Mills on Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket. The business’s four founding partners, affectionately called “the pack,” include Alecia Catucci and her husband, Carlo Catucci, Eric Sylvestre and Vincent Greene. The partners create corn whiskey, gin, white rum and moonshine, and they also age whiskey in barrels, including their Cornucopia whiskey, which is aged and spiced, and bourbon, aged in new American Oak barrels. They also make limoncello based on Carlo’s late aunt Lella’s recipe from Italy. Read an article about White Dog Distilling.
Panaday Takeaway, 7 Parade St., Providence, 401-273-1506, facebook.com
Temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but when it reopens, you can order authentic West Indian and Caribbean cuisine for takeout on the West Side of Providence.
Black Beans PVD, 32 Custom House St., Providence, blackbeanspvd.com
Black Beans PVD preserves and presents the soulful history of Providence through food and art. Open on select weekends, Black Beans PVD offers pastries and grab-and-go meals like shrimp and grits or dumplings. Additionally, the food business offers meal kit specials where, for every kit sold, one meal will be donated to a family or individual in Providence’s 02907 or 02905 zip codes.
Sarcastic Sweets, 907-341-9166, sarcasticsweet.com
When Alaska-native Nina Reed moved to Providence, she embraced her “non-traditional, far out and different” baking talents, ultimately landing her as a guest star on the Food Network Show, “Sweet Genius” in 2012. Sarcastic Sweets, a food truck, is known for its infused desserts which can be made from any beer, cocktail or wine.
10 Rocks Tapas Bar, 1091 Main St., Pawtucket, 401-728-0800, 10rockstapasbar.com
Established in 2015, 10 Rocks Tapas Bar and Restaurant is dedicated to sharing Cape Verde’s culture through its tapas, drinks and atmosphere. The menu includes dishes such as coconut mango shrimp, sweet plantains and fried goat cheese.
Brooklyn Coffee, Tea and Guest House, 209 Douglas Ave., Providence, 401-345-9099, brooklyncoffeeteaguesthouse.com
The Brooklyn House is home to many different things. In the morning, it is a coffee shop where you can browse an art gallery filled with works by local artists while you sip; in the afternoon it’s a gathering center for meetings, programs and fundraisers promoting community and diversity; and in the evening it is alive with performances and entertainment from local artists, poets and storytellers.
For MXR Cocktails kits, bartender Michael Silva creates cocktail recipe cards, crafts his own infused syrups and matches them with fresh juices and bitters for people to mix up their own drinks at home. All the ingredients (except the liquor) come nicely packaged in a box with easy-to-follow instructions, a jigger and fancy garnishes. Silva can also be hired to run virtual cocktail events and he and his team conduct occasional food and drink popups at various spots around town.
African Alliance of Rhode Island, 807 Broad St, Suite 121, Providence, africanallianceri.org
This group sells vegetables grown at inner city gardens and creates carrot-apple jam and bitterball relish products for sale at farmers markets, including the Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village, Roger Williams Park and the Farm Fresh RI Armory Farmers Market. Read an article about the African Alliance of Rhode Island.
Quaintly Farm, 58 Chatham St., Providence, 401-808-8180, quaintlyfarmri.business.site
Quaintly Farm is a “black-owned urban farm in the North End of Providence.” Owner Quatia Osorio runs the farm with her five children in hopes of offering farm stands crops that she and her family raised, such as watermelons and tomatoes.
Abundance Farm, 135 Parade St., Providence
Abundance Farm is a community farm on the West End of Providence.
Designed by Delsie, 401-249-9291, designedbydelsie.com
Designed by Delsie is a wedding and event planning company owned by Pearl Farquharson, who spent years as a wedding coordinator for the Catered Affair at the prestigious Boston Public Library. Services include full wedding and design planning; month-of wedding coordination; party and celebration planning; and intimate wedding and elopement planning. Read an article about intimate wedding experiences by Designed By Delsie.
DJ Valentina, 401-457-5873, djvalentina.com
DJ Valentina is a Rhode Island wedding and event deejay offering a photo booth, uplighting and dance floor monograms. She speaks four languages fluently (Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean creole and of course English) and provides music of all genres. She can mix, keep the energy upbeat and get people on the dance floor.
MARKETING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Ann Clanton Communications, Annclantoncommunications.com
Ann Clanton is known for creative marketing and public relations expertise in public and government affairs, as well as theater, books and more. She provides marketing strategy and execution, public relations and social media, brand management and digital and email marketing. She also helps facilitate press and awareness for events and high-profile clients.
Brittanny Taylor Photography, brittannytaylor.com
Brittanny Taylor is a Providence-based photographer who specializes in a variety of types of photography. She offers packages for wedding and engagement photography, fashion photography and boudoir photo shoots.
Myke Yeager, mykeyeager.com
Myke Yeager is an exceptional fashion photographer who has shot runway photos at StyleWeek Northeast from its inception, serving as the resident photographer. He also specializes in photographing beauty, health, fitness and wellness. He has been in the photography business for more than twelve years and has been published in Good Housekeeping magazine, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, Elle and Forbes.
Piper Brown Photography, 401-287-4120, piperbrownphotography.com
Piper Brown Photography, owned by Morayo is based out of Smithfield, Rhode Island, and focuses specifically on engagement and wedding photography. Morayo became a photographer when she realized her love for the different cultures and perspectives that made up the United States after moving here from Nigeria in her late teens.
Kindell Brown Photography, kindellbrown.com
Kindell Brown is a filmmaker and photographer based in Cranston. She discovered her love for photography while taking a class at the University of Rhode Island back in 2016. Her work includes a variety of events and portraits including powerful images from the Black Lives Matter protests throughout the state.
HEALTH, BEAUTY AND FITNESS
Soulita Soap, soulitasoap.com
Started in 2019, Soulita Soap is an organic skincare business out of Rhode Island. Founder Lexus R. S. Fernandez started the business in hopes of providing customers with healthy products made with essential oils and other extracts.
Omoge Cosmetics, omogecosmetics.com
Blessing Mariah established Omoge Cosmetics a few years ago when she decided she wanted to create an inclusive false lashes brand for both men and women to feel more beautiful. She named the business “Omoge,” a Yoruba word meaning “beautiful young lady,” but stresses the inclusivity of her business, and encourages anyone who wants to buy and wear her brand to do so. Lash sets range from $12 to $20.
Fit First RI, 1655 Elmood Ave., Cranston, 401-588-9517, fitfirstri.secureserversites.net
Fit First RI is a personal training company with a mission to “provide safe and effective fitness training and dietary regiments to ensure that you achieve your goals.” Training sessions include boxing, a sixty-day challenge and gym access.
Afrobeat Fit, 65 Blackstone Ave., Pawtucket, afrobeatfit.com
Dance to upbeat West African music while working up a sweat with owners Kemi Omisore and Carven Bernadeau. “Afrobeat Fit hosts inclusive Sweat Sessions where music and movement derive from the late and great artists and influencers of Africa.”
So Fit Cycle, 1276 Bald Hill Rd., Warwick; 685 Boston Neck Rd., North Kingstown, 401-996-6107, sofitcycle.com
So Fit Cycle’s two locations in Rhode Island offer customers a high-energy and motivated cycling class. The company is committed to helping riders improve and “have a ridiculously fun time doing so!”
RBF Fitness and Nutrition, 25 Coronado Rd., Warwick, 401-359-4652, rbffitness.com
The “RBF Methodology” is made specifically to help adults burn fat and take inches off their bodies. When Robert Foster began RBF Fitness and Nutrition, he dedicated himself to teaching workout and eating habits that will allow people to see lasting changes in just a week and continue to improve after that.
Lola’s Fashion Boutique, 120 N. Main St., Providence, 401-383-0021, loc8nearme.com/rhode-island/providence/lola/3143583
Lola’s Boutique, opened back in 2006, offers both retail and consignment options, giving customers many colorful and stylish choices while shopping. The shop specialized in dresses, jewelry, shoes and handbags.
Public, 1 Aleppo St., Providence, publicshopandgallery.com
Public Shop and Gallery is “a space that welcomes all members of the community to experience and interact with art.” Owners Cas Inez and Spocka Summa opened Public back in September of last year in an effort to showcase local artists and create a warm and inviting atmosphere for everyone. Vendors with art such as vintage clothing, poetry, and body oil and accessories are included in their current showcase.
Mixed Magic Theater, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, 401-305-7333, mmtri.org
Mixed Magic Theatre is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 2000 by Ricardo and Bernadet Pitts-Wiley. For the past twenty years, the company has strived to bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, tackling well-known dramatics as well as original theatrical productions. The mission is dedicated toward building more literate, arts-active communities.
Fab Living Realty, 272 Broadway, Providence, 401-648-2999
The only black-owned real estate and brokerage school in Rhode Island, Fab Living Realty assists both buyers and sellers and also offers financial literacy classes.