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To close out Black History Month, I will share some of my favorite Black-owned businesses. These brands break barriers and represent Black people in positive ways that are often missing from the multi-million dollar companies we continue to support and invest our Black dollars into. Putting money into the Black community is important, especially when mainstream brands have built their successful foundations on Black culture and profit off Black dollars, despite holding onto century-long systemically racist practices. Besides, who knows our needs better than we do? In addition to the few provided here, there are many Black brands that celebrate every curve, curl and melanated skin tone of our culture. They all have creative and quality products that I have incorporated into my everyday life. I have included some fashion brands, stationary products and beauty and self-care options in my list. If you are looking for more brands to check out after looking at the ones below, visit The Black Parade Route at Beyonce.com and Black Owned Everything on Instagram where you will find hundreds of great Black-owned businesses to support!

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4C Only

It’s a 4C revolution! 4C brothers and sisters, we no longer have to buy a million different products to let our natural hair flourish. 4C Only is the brand that both moisturizes and celebrates our coily crowns. With no harsh chemicals or additives, these products will make your wash day a whole lot easier and have your hair moisturized for days at a time. Rock your best twist-outs, braid-outs, afros and everything in between with these amazing hair care products that ship nationwide. 

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Melanin Haircare

Founded by Whitney White — one of the first YouTubers to make content on natural hair care tips for Black women — these hair products are all-natural, toxic-free products that will leave your hair soft and healthy. On their Instagram page, Melanin Haircare also provides many tips to elevate your hair care routine and seemingly endless style ideas that show the incredible versatility of Black hair. They ship their products globally, and you can find them on their website, in-store and online at Ulta.

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OOO Polish

This Black love force will add beautiful, quality vibrant colors to your nail polish collection. Based in Houston, Texas, their African-inspired nail polishes are cruelty-free and handmade. They aim to “diversify beauty in nail care” by making sure that everyone, no matter their skin tone, is fairly represented in the nail polish game. They ship their products globally, and you can find them on their website.

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Dimension Nails

Looking to support an animal-friendly organization while rocking a beautiful manicure? This Black woman-owned brand is a powerhouse of beautiful vegan polishes that support animal organizations and advocates for a cleaner environment. A percentage of every purchase from this brand supports “animal charities, shelters, and sanctuaries.” Their lacquers currently only ships within the U.S., but products including gel polish, glitter and nail art can be shipped internationally.

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People of Color Beauty

This nail polish brand embraces people of all colors who love to be colorful. This beautiful array of polishes has a formula that is non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free. You can find them here: in vendors in some states, at Urban Outfitters in-store and online and at Kohl’s online. They currently do not ship internationally, but are available at Urban Outfitters in Canada.

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Relive the Bar

Founded in Ann Arbor to celebrate Black alumni at University of Michigan football homecomings, Relive the Bar has merchandise that celebrates every Black Wolverine from undergrad to alum. They also work to build relationships between Black alumni and current U-M students through their Black Wolverine Book Fund. This program provides scholarships and mentorships for current undergrad students to purchase the books and tools they need for their classes. Students are also paired with U-M alumni to coach them through their U-M experience. Rep your culture while rooting for Michigan sports and students at large with your RTB apparel. They can be found on their website and ship internationally.

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Babes 

Sweatpants, jeans, dress, you name it! Babes makes clothes for every race, body type and curve. Everyone deserves to feel represented by the brands they buy clothes from. Here, you can look good and feel good while also supporting a Black-owned and designed brand. Babes has the comfiest clothes for every occasion, and they ship worldwide.

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The Lip Bar 

U-M alum Melissa Butler founded this brand that defies conventional beauty standards with vegan and cruelty-free makeup products that are healthy and inclusive of everyone no matter their skin color. This brand is based in Detroit, but products can also be found on their website, and in Target and Walmart across the U.S. Everyone deserves access to safe products that celebrate their unapologetic beauty.

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Forvr Mood

Your room has never smelled as good as it will when you buy these luxury candles. Created by beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina, Forvr Mood is your one-stop shop to self-care. With deliciously scented candles, silk pillow cases and headbands that ship across the world, leave it to this Black woman-owned brand to amp up the coziness and quality of your space. While you’re at it, watch some Jackie Aina YouTube videos. You won’t regret it!

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The Book’d Store

Just because 2020 flipped our calendars upside down doesn’t mean we can’t give 2021 a chance. The Book’d Store provides beautiful and quality stationery that caters to the lifestyles of Black women. Their products can be found on their website and ship internationally. They are guaranteed to make your to-do list a lot more stylish. Support these HBCU roots and get your life together with their luxe planners, calendars and more.

Maria Patton can be contacted at pattonma@umich.edu