Black History Month – Black Community.

As Black History Month comes to an end, we want to reflect on how we can continue (outside of 28 or 29 days a year) to support the Black community. These are a few Black-owned places in our community that we wanted to celebrate this month! 

A Glimpse of Africa:

Founder: Fridah Kanini

“I created A Glimpse of Africa to provide a platform to bring people together to celebrate, educate, and share the rich African culture through food, music, fashion, crafts, art, and impactful community engagements/initiatives. 

It was important to me to showcase Africa in a positive light and to put the African immigrants/refugees/adopted families in West Michigan on the map by promoting their culture, people, talents, and businesses. Through the work A Glimpse of Africa is doing, we are able to address important issues within the African communities in addition to creating awareness and a more inclusive, culturally diverse environment in our city.” 

They recently hosted a 3-day Mental Health Series for the African American community and a 2-day Black History Month series. If you have never been to A Glimpse of Africa festival, I strongly recommend it as it wonderfully showcases the cultures we have in our own community. 

Grand Rapids Divine 9: (Facebook Page: Greater Grand Rapids NPHC)

President: Kenisha Dorsey, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc - first Black sorority.

Divine 9 references to the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations (NHPC) are composed of nine historically Black collegiate Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities. The Grand Rapids Divine 9 works together to provide various scholarships for the youth in the community.

 “Each of our organizations raise money for scholarships in an effort to make sure youth receive the extra financial support as they prepare to transition to the college world. Some of our local community service projects include: funding a Feeding America Food Truck to address food insecurities for families in need, partnering with Cherry Health to provide free COVID-19 testing, packing personal care kits and distributing them to the homeless population, raising awareness regarding Mental Illness by participating in the National Alliance on Mental Illness, assisting with voter registration, and most recently, hosting a clothing drive to collect new/gently used clothing items to donate to local Emergency Rooms.”

Kenisha Dorsey chooses to be an active member in the community, “I don't want to simply be a member in my community. I want to be an active member in my community. Helping others is one of the most gratifying ways to spend my time. At the end of the day, I know that I have contributed to society and I can definitely live with that.”

GR Noir Wine & Jazz -

Owners- Nadia & Shatawn Brigham

GRNoir Wine & Jazz is a new Black-owned wine bar in the Grand Rapids downtown area. 

"We have always been intrigued by wine and my husband has always been in love with jazz. Wine seemed culturally inaccessible and we wanted a way to shift that. There is a growing number of Black people entering the wine space and we are told that we are the first Black-owned wine and jazz spot in Grand Rapids. I'm a jazz convert. I fell in love with both wine and jazz on a visit to New Orleans, visiting the birthplace of jazz in Congo Square. We aim for GRNoir to be a place where people can explore, discover and savor wine and jazz and the cultural richness of both.” 

Thank you all for what you do for the community and representing Black excellence in our community.