Let’s circle back to the state of the country again. The times we’re living through have sparked conversation and action about buying and supporting Black in efforts to ignite socioeconomic revolution. This spark has led to our community pushing the envelope a bit further. Respective industries are being called out boldly on socials for posting black squares or releasing statements in solidarity whilst upholding business practices that do not reflect true allyship.
Various companies have been exposed over the last two months for having hypocritical practices and/or lacking diversity; the cannabis industry was not exempt. Seeing light shed on inequities in the industry was eyeopening but not surprising. Historically, we know the war on drugs has targeted Black and Brown faces, specifically. So it is of no surprise that we face so many barriers to now reap the benefits of the same plant that has landed so many of us in prison. You know–systemic oppression, the usual. Thinking of these heavy truths and all the requested calls to action left me in deep thought about our place in these spaces. I shifted my perspective to focus on the question of, who is creating and holding space for us?
A bunch of groups and names came to mind as I thought of who is actually holding space for Black folks in the industry. Quickly, I realized they all shared something— being Black and woman. I’ve noticed an array of advocacy, creative content, digital community, and education around cannabis being spearheaded by Black women. It is exciting to look around and see how we are making a way for Black voices and ideas to be brought to life as it relates to cannabis. Are we surprised? Of course not. In awe, absolutely.
The sub-communities created within the cannabis industry by Black women are diverse and passion-filled. We are literally seeing the needs and meeting them as they appear: cbd/hemp healing products, infused dining, networking groups, communal sessions (virtual of course), podcasts. The misconception of women being disinterested in cannabis is simply untrue. There is a community of Black women who enjoy and work with cannabis. Collectives of women are making it their business to center women who look like them while highlighting the needs for equity within the industry via their social media platforms— Cannaclusive, For Women Who Smoke, Smkbrkco etc (each via Instagram to name a few).
So many women come to mind when I envision the direction and future of cannabis, for us. They are crafting spaces with love, ardour, and creativity. If you ask me, (you didn’t but I’m going to tell you anyways) they are showing us more than anything that Black women can thrive and operate in any space, especially that of cannabis. Here are a few of my current favs:
— Minelli Eustàcio-Costa
Yoga Teacher via @yogawithminelli
I am grateful to know who Minelli is and the amazing work she does. She is an advocate and teacher of cannabis-infused yoga (she teaches other non-infused yoga classes as well). I had never heard of or experienced ‘an elevated class’ until taking one of her’s– truthfully life changing. Minelli just has a way of marrying the experiences of cannabis and healing. Additionally, her documentation on Instagram of intimate moments with cannabis as they relate to her lifestyle spark conversation that is always refreshing. Tap in.
— DeJanae Evins
Cannabis Educator via @dejanaetanye
Now, the lovely DeJanae. Following her on Instagram has genuinely helped me, and I’m sure many other women who look like us, feel seen in our relationships with cannabis. She has reimagined cannabis education and presented it to us in a new, informed, and empowering light. DeJanae’s online community @greengoddessglow serves as an extension of this education but hones in on the intersection of cannabis and self-care. Mind you, she does this while consistently centering the experiences of Black women, we stan.
— Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey
Cannabis Interdisciplinary via @mennlay
Probably on your mood board– Mennlay. I came across her instagram and immediately fell in love with her open expression regarding the interconnectedness of cannabis, lifestyle, and history. She is an advocate of cannabis work that centers a Black perspective, specifically an Afro-Latinx perspective. She’s authored a successful book titled ‘The Art of Weed Butter’ and continues to expand in her work. Mennlay is a contributing editor and podcast host for ‘Broccoli’ and founder of CBD brand ‘Xula’. Whatever she’s doing next, I’m excited.
— Martine Pierre
Growth + Content Marketing Strategist via @martinefrancispierre
I found Martine on Twitter when a friend sent a tweet of hers about helping Black folks get into the cannabis industry. Baby, the tweet blew up! The need is clear. In short she is a business woman focused on the numbers of marketing and strategy but also an advocate for equity in cannabis. Martine has recently created an online community for Cannabis entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and all those alike as she builds a larger platform behind the scenes. I am refreshed by the work she’s put into this endeavor but also her solid stance to pour back into our communities. The final product is on the way, don’t miss out!
These four women have created their own avenues and seeing it in real time is important. Be sure to check them out via their Instagram handles listed above. I am inspired by their work and how they hold space for us. There are so many more Black women out here doing the work, I encourage you to find them and get familiar with what they’re doing! We need this representation. It is time for these conversations to be normal, we have community interest and need. Let’s get to it.