As Black History Month comes to a close, the celebration of the Black community should not end with it. Black History is a living and breathing history, which is why the representation of Black culture, whether it be in the media, the boardroom, or on our (virtual) shelves, needs to be the rule and not the exception.
Throughout 2020, the world was rightfully captivated by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements, resulting in a mass uptick in social media activism. Word of mouth is never to be underestimated, but as many social trends do, the interest waned. It didn’t take long for Black squares and reading lists to revert to colorful grids and dance challenges.
Celebrating Black History and BLM is more than a trend—and certainly more than a self-aware pat on the back. I don’t question the genuineness of those who used whatever platform they could to rally behind BLM, but how do we move beyond the views and likes? How do we translate the energy from roaring protests into our daily lives?
The Jewelry Edit is a space I’ve created to enact the change I know is possible. Change must come from all corners, and I’m starting with the jewelry industry. We proudly partake in the 15% pledge, which calls on retailers to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf to Black-owned businesses. Amplifying Black voices to tell their rich stories through art benefits all of us. It’s an opportunity to experience something unique, challenge your preconceived notions and buck cookie-cutter trends.
Importantly, the voices we seek to amplify at The Jewelry Edit are colorful, varied and anything but homogenous. From Brooklyn to Kenya; from faith inspired, to artisan inspired; from recycled brass to sterling silver—there is no singular Black voice and to find them you just have to open your eyes. When it comes to showcasing Black-owned businesses, I often hear the refrain that there aren’t enough out there. Maybe we aren’t always looking in the right places? Black entrepreneurship surrounds us.
Diversity in the workplace is another way to not only amplify the Black voices of those within our walls, but also those of the people who are affected by our company decisions. It creates a relationship of familiarity and feeling heard. This is another initiative at the Jewelry Edit, with Black women in key decision-making roles. When marketing to a broad and diverse audience, how can we understand them without reflecting that same diversity ourselves? It’s something that has led me to consciously work with, cast and engage with Black women—of all beautiful skin colors. It forces us to stop, think, and care before making decisions or putting out marketing campaigns.
At The Jewelry Edit, we will always have several seats at the table and spots on our shelves for women of color—it’s a part of our DNA. I hope one day we won’t need conscious initiatives, but until then, we must never stop taking action.