Staff

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw is partnering with Melanin Market LA to host a bi-weekly, outdoor community market showcasing local, Black-owned businesses. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the Outdoor Promenade of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The remaining 2020 dates will be on October 31, November 14, November 28, December 12 and December 19. 

“We started Melanin Market LA because we knew of so many incredible Black-owned businesses, but saw there were so many in our community that didn’t have the opportunity to patronize them,” said Kris Hibler-Smith, co-founder of Melanin Market LA. “The success of this market is our dream come true, and we can’t imagine a better location than Baldwin Hills Crenshaw.”  

Founded by Kris Hibler-Smith and Jay Funtila, Melanin Market was created to provide a platform for Black-owned businesses and vendors to offer products and services to the community and allow the community the opportunity to visit a one-stop-shop market to support these local small businesses.  

Local artists, clothing designers, jewelry makers, beauty brands and more will have the opportunity to offer goods to event goers. The market will also provide inner-city youth the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and the practices needed to sustain a successful business.

“Partnering with Kris and Jay to bring the Melanin Market to Baldwin Hills Crenshaw is an absolute joy for us, and we knew our community would love it,” said Rachel Freeman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Capri Retail Services. “Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, so we are thrilled to open our space to these incredible entrepreneurs and provide a home base to share their passion and their products with our community.” 

According to a May report from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, over 40 percent of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. have closed since the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic began. Simultaneously, the killing of George Floyd and reemergence of Black Lives Matter protests led to widespread calls to support Black-owned businesses.

“We founded Melanin Market LA to create a space for the South LA community to access goods and services from local Black-owned businesses, and we’re grateful to Baldwin Hills Crenshaw for providing the perfect place to host this event,” said Jay Funtila, co-founder of Melanin Market. “I grew up in South LA, and I know the important role BHC plays for the community as a place to gather and shop. We hope that this event will show the power of Black entrepreneurship and inspire our community’s youth to live their dreams while at the same time connecting Black-owned businesses to resources and exposure in the community.”