Black Business Expo returns for third year

By Benjamin Shinault

For the third consecutive year, the Black Student Union hosted a Black Business Expo to help promote locally-owned Black businesses. On Feb. 20, Rider welcomed students and potential customers to take a stroll through the expo to see the various businesses.

“This is their chance to bring in some college kids and expose them to their businesses and it’s good for us to work with our community,” said Student Government Association President Naa’san Carr as students filed into the Student Recreation Center.

The event was hosted by the Black Student Union from 4-7 p.m., and while students wrapped up their late afternoon classes, they were able to stop by and take a gander at Black-owned businesses displayed in the Student Recreation Center’s atrium.

Within the SRC, local Black-owned businesses and their owners sat at tables with their products displayed. The brands featured professional headshots, handmade accessories as well as personalized clothing and products. 

One business that was featured is run by two Rider freshmen: data analytics major Jaliah James and film and television major Adama Dieme. Displayed on their table were homemade beaded bracelets and other assorted items. 

“In Africa, it is very popular to wear these waist beads to ground and discipline you, and as stylish as it is, it’s just as spiritual and cultural as well,” Dieme said. “Bringing that into this community and into this space … it’s extremely important because it represents us as a people.”

James and Dieme discussed both of their backgrounds and how they combined  their cultures to build one conjoined accessory.

“Me and Jaliah come from different backgrounds. I’m African from West Africa-Senegal, and she is African American, so we blended our cultures and our similarities and came up with a beautiful jewelry line and something that is shared in both of our communities,” Dieme explained.

A good portion of the businesses that were on display were owned locally. The hope for the expo, held annually by the BSU, was for the university to give Black businesses a platform. “I’m grateful for every opportunity to go out there and spread the word, spread awareness around Black and brown culture in any shape or form,” said Dante Alston, the creator of Just Black Productions, a visual production company. “Being able to do it here at Rider is a full circle moment.”

Gayle Bruney, the owner of HealNGo, a hair growth and skin care company, also touched on what it meant to come to Rider and gain some more traction.

“I love it, I’m very excited about this … I’ve been coming to Rider every year since, so I really appreciate it and it’s a great event,” Bruney said with a smile.

The expo brings exposure to these small Black-owned businesses, but Carr thinks that it can be taken to another level.

“I would love to do this on a bigger scale sometime during the year and just have small businesses come and have an expo where we just bring our community here on campus,” Carr said. According to Carr, this event would connect the Rider community with small businesses where they can make profits and students can get products.   

The next Black History Month programming event will be a Social Justice and Equity Symposium about prison, purpose and policing held by the BSU and the Equal Opportunity Program on Feb. 21 in the Mercer Room in Daly Dining Hall from 6-8 p.m.

Related Articles

Back to top button