Hundreds of Hamiltonians made their way downtown to support small local businesses as part of Hamilton Day on Nov.5. The Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) market was one of many attractions.
The BIPOC market was hosted by BLK Owned Hamilton, better known for its Instagram handle @blkownedhamont. The one-day event took place at Afrolicious, an African restaurant on James Street North.
The market showcased a variety of BIPOC vendors including Bougie Burn, Oæsis Within, Somi, Coral Earth Finery Millinery and Gleaux Baby, along with jewelry made by Fire and Fibermakes and August Black Collective. Other creative vendors included Travelling Feet Books and Celine’s Bakery.
Shoppers were drawn to Afro-Caribbean music and authentic African foods such as Jollof rice and Mandazi. Many shopped with their free tote bags in one hand and a cocktail in the other. People could try samples of nachos with hot sauce and then receive free manifestation readings with the purchase of Oæsis Within skin-care products.
Alexandria Montague, a co-founder of Blk Owned Hamilton, said BIPOC events are meant to shine some light on businesses that sometimes go unnoticed.
“It’s important to support local businesses, especially Black-owned businesses because there’s different barriers and system issues that hinder the success of Black-owned businesses,” Montague said. “But with organizations such as Black Owned Hamilton and the BIPOC market, we are making sure that they are showcased, celebrated and highlighted.”
Black Owned Hamilton was founded by the three Montague sisters (Ashleigh, Aby and Alexandria) in 2020. The organization aims to help Black businesses and entrepreneurs with marketing and education.
Not everyone at the event was a resident of Hamilton. Some people came from outside the city to support BIPOC businesses.
“It was unexpected, I just saw Afrolicious and was immediately drawn to the event and wanted to see what they had out,” Niagara Falls resident Prophecy Beulah said. “There are so many beautiful things that they had and I’m just proud to see what we’re [BIPOC individuals] doing and how we’re becoming entrepreneurs, inventing and supporting other people in the community.”
BLK Owned Hamilton hosts pop-up markets and events regularly in the community. To learn more, follow its Instagram account @blkownedhamont.