Ella Rucker, entrepreneur coach and co-producer of #MentorMonday with Paul C. Brunson hosted a Marketing Mastermind last week to give entrepreneurs strategies and tips for promoting their respective brands.
My cousin was visiting from London and I felt responsible for ensuring that she had a good time and, though Americans and Brits speak English, nothing was lost in translation.
I’ve been to other networking events where the atmosphere was tepid at best and chilly at worst. In those situations, I have had to deal with women, of all colors that seemed much more interested in seeing what you could do for them than seeing opportunities for collaboration.
But Ruckers’ Marketing Mastermind event was the complete opposite and such a shining example of black women on their best business behavior.
Not only did these African-American women embrace my cousin as a “sistergirl from around the way,” regardless of national origin. They took interest in her experience as a brown girl in Britain and found ways to connect–sharing beauty secrets about hair and comparing notes about the struggles that (sadly) unite black women living in white patriarchal countries.
According to “2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” commissioned by American Express Open, the number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Women now own 30% of all businesses in the U.S., accounting for some 9.4 million firms. And African American women control 14% of these companies, or an estimated 1.3 million businesses.
These are the statistics that don’t make it across news circuits. The educated, warm, thoughtful, and enterprising black woman that loves herself and women like her isn’t one of the prominent actors of the American cultural narrative or in discourses about race. This black woman is neither celebrated nor recognized in popular culture.
But these women. Us. They exist. We exist.
And if you see black women on their best business behavior and you have access to social media, don’t keep to yourself.
Please be active in promoting and drawing attention to these images and ways of being that replace the broken and distorted representations of black women with their fuller and fleshed-out counterparts.
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