I was astounded and a little overwhelmed by the list of 100 Black-Owned Restaurants and Bars in New York City and Brooklyn complied by Genese Jamilah, the founder of I Don’t Do Clubs and Digital Production Manager of EBONY Magazine.
FH: Why did you decided to create lists of Black-owned restaurants?
GJ: Well I’ve always supported Black-owned businesses. That was ingrained in me since my childhood. When I moved to New York I would always ask, “Where is the black dentist?” and “Where is the black doctor?” But a lot of my friends didn’t know. This shocked me because in Atlanta every thing is Black-owned so it’s kind of hard not to support Black-owned business. So this was always in the back of my mind. Then after Michael Brown was killed an organization started a boycott to not purchase items on a certain day and I thought that was a really good place to start. That’s what made me think further about how can I push Black businesses to the forefront. We spend so much money and a lot of the time it’s not in our community. So earlier this year I asked my instagram followers, “What Black restaurants do you go to in your area?” I had all of these great responses and realized people really do want to know where the Black-owned restaurants are. That’s why I started doing the list.
FH: When exactly did you decide to turn the lists into Black-Owned Restaurant Month?
GJ: It was early summer, maybe around May or April. I started thinking, “How can I continue to support these black businesses?” Yes, the list is cool but how are people going to remember to go these places all the time. There needed to be a bigger spotlight on theses establishments so that’s when I decided to create Black-Owned Restaurant Month.
FH: Do you have any advice for people who don’t live in New York on how they can incorporate more Black-owned restaurants and businesses into their lives?
GJ: Well soon I will have Black-owned restaurants lists for all major cities, but just Google. It’s really not that hard to find Black-owned restaurants. If you know a Black area in your town, 9 times out of 10 there will probably a few restaurants that are Black-owned. It’s as simple as asking an establishment if their restaurant is Black-owned.
FH: Is there anything else you would want our readers to know about Black-Owned Restaurant Month?
GJ: I just want everyone to come out and go to at least one restaurant the month. Tweet and instagram your pictures and let us know how it goes. Its really important for us to support each other.
Black-owned restaurant month will be coming to Atlanta in October! Visit Idontdoclubs.com for more information.