The month of February is set aside to recognize the contributions African Americans have made to society. For many, it's a time to celebrate the work and accomplishments of Black leaders, innovators, artists, authors, champions, and more. But it is also a time to consider the path forward. From supporting Black-owned businesses to sharing experiences with family and friends, Black History Month serves as a springboard for obtaining full racial equality, social justice, and economic freedom for this minority group that is integral to U.S. history as a whole.
What Deals Can You Expect During Black History Month?
In February, you'll find thousands of events spread throughout the United States in honor of Black History Month. Expect businesses to flood your email inbox and social media with Black History deals in February. Previously, companies like Nike and Under Armour released limited-edition sports gear featuring pictures and signatures of Black athletes. Also, Target encouraged customers to buy Black-owned brands, and Walmart poured money into nonprofit organizations that promote racial equality.
Fenty Beauty is probably the most recognizable black-owned brands in the world, as it was founded by superstar Rihanna. The brand garnered huge recognition for its first launch of foundations in every skin tone, including true, deep blacks and browns that other beauty companies ignored. Fenty Beauty runs their own nonprofit, the Clara Lionel Foundation, to support education and emergency response for over 20 countries worldwide.
Briogeo was founded by Nancy Twine, and she’s garnered massive popularity for her brand from hair care enthusiasts of all skin colors and ethnicities. You can find Briogeo at Sephora and Nordstrom, or shop direct to truly support the brand.
Cashmere Nicole founded Beauty Bakerie back in 2011, and they continue to dominate the beauty scene with adorable and safe cosmetics and skin care products that look like they came straight from your local bakery. Cashmere founded Sugar Homes in 2016, an organization that supports orphaned children worldwide. Also great to note that 75% of their executive team are people of color.
One of the world's most recognizable and influential makeup artists, Pat McGrath started her own makeup brand in 2015. As a woman of color herself, McGrath wanted to create something that was tailored to deeper skin tones but accessible for all. These days, you can find lipsticks, eyeshadows, foundations and everything else you need at PatMcGrath.com.
Although not black-owned, Princess Polly has been working with the Loveland Foundation since 2020, to support the Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls, as well as Black Lives Matter Global Network and Change the Record, to name a few. They believe in supporting women and POC in all areas of their business, from creating clothes that scream confidence to creating business models that uplift and support their communities. In 2020 they donated $60,000, in 2021 an additional $100,000, and this year even more. Their customers can also support the community via donation during check-out to spread even more awareness. While they continue to work with talented women and POC throughout 2022, they are also in the midst of creating special Princess Polly In Partner Wardrobes with Thread Together.
Princess Polly is also offering CouponFollow readers a special discount - save 20% off with code CFOLLOW20 from 1/21-3/13 only!
Telfar Celemens founded this genderless fashion label, and his bags have made a splash all over the world. The iconic Telfar shape and three unique sizes add to the allure of the brand, making it a popular choice for celebrities and the Instagram-famous too. Shop direct or get a deal by finding one on StockX, where they guarantee authenticity.
Another Rihanna-founded brand, Savage X Fenty specializes in lingerie for all shapes and sizes and always has coupons and deals to help you save.
Christopher John Rogers
One of the hottest new fashion designers of 2021, Christopher John Rogers’ clothing line can be found on sites like Saks 5th Avenue and Net-a-Porter. Major celebrities like Michelle Obama, Zendaya, and Tracee Ellis Ross have worn and continue to wear his gowns, skirts, and dresses. He just launched a major collection available more affordably at Target, too!
This high-end retailer is not POC-owned, but they have made a huge commitment to creating a more diverse company for their customers, employees, and management teams. Nordstrom has committed to donating $1M per year to anti-racist charities by 2025, $500M in sales from POC-owned brands by 2025, and have 50% more POC in their management roles by 2025. They also sell many POC-owned brands like Uoma Beauty, Sienna Naturals, Briogeo, 54 Thrones, BeautyStat, Baby Tress and more.
Function of Beauty is a bespoke beauty site that allows you to take a quiz to find out what products and ingredients will work best for your skin and hair type. Though they are not POC-owned, FoB increased their BIPOC representation to 40% on social media in 2020, and they donate to AAPI, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ charities.
Though not POC-owned, Lyft has continued to support black and POC communities with initiatives like LyftUp, which provides ride access to communities in need. They also offer a donate feature on their app, which allows you to round your cost up to the nearest dollar and donate to a charity of your choice.
Saint Ola is a black-owned fashion company that designs clothing with a diverse clientele in mind. You can buy premade clothes from the company's website or talk to a consultant online to order a custom-made piece. Saint Ola's online collection includes pants, shorts, blazers, dresses and face masks.
Taylor Jay offers a wide range of clothing for women with diverse heritages and body types. This brand offers elegant minimalist pieces made from high-quality fabric, including dresses, tops, jumpsuits, face masks and more. You can shop online or visit the company's brick-and-mortar store in California.
Design Essentials offers hair products made specifically for textured hair. You can find products for various hair types, including curly, wavy and coily as well as hairstyles like locs and braids. Design Essentials also sells products for wigs and hair extensions.
Budget-Friendly Ideas for Black History Month
Many local businesses and organizations shine their spotlights on Black history, creativity, and achievements. In most cases, the events are free or cost very little. Many museums will prominently display the contributions of Black artists, inventors and other important figures in local or national history.
Attend a Play or Presentation at a Neighborhood School.
Usually, teachers have students engage in a host of Black History Month activities. Often, the school lets children recreate events or present what they've learned in front of an audience.
Participate in Virtual Discussions
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) hosts free virtual events to discuss the contributions African Americans have made throughout history. Previous exhibitions featured African Americans in STEM and "Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes: A Classic in African American Genealogy."
Attend Black History Month Celebrations
Cities throughout the U.S. honor the achievements of African Americans. Just check the official government website for your city or state to view the Black History Month calendar. The city of Chicago hosts movie screenings, virtual concerts, and movie online discussion forums. New York residents are encouraged to visit parks, monuments, and exhibitions. In Los Angeles, you'll notice a lot of foot traffic at the California African American Museum.
Buy, Read, and Share Books by Black Authors
Search for titles of books by Black authors and add them to your reading list. Options include "Melanoid Breastmilk" by Ariane La’Nea Randolph and Khalid White's "Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumphs." Also, there are titles like "Oh, the Things Our Hair Can Do!" by Val Pugh Love, and the children's book "The Black Kids" by Christina Hammonds Reed.
Go to the Library to Learn More About Black History
The public library is an excellent resource for learning about Black culture. During Black History Month, many libraries display information on noteworthy African Americans who helped shape history. You can also search for information by interest. For example, if you love fashion, you can research Black designers like Ann Lowe, Zelda Wynn Valdes, and Willi Smith. If photography is your thing, check out the works of James Van Der Zee, Ernest C. Withers, and Carrie Mae Weems. And if you're into technology, look for tech innovators like Gerald "Jerry" Lawson and Kimberly Bryant. To learn more about Black achievers in any field, ask your local librarian for assistance.
Support Black-owned Businesses
Becoming a customer and spending your dollars at Black-owned establishments is a great way to celebrate Black History Month. Shop locally and online. Buy games for Black people by African Americans, like Black Wall Street: The Board Game and Financial IQ. Browse e-commerce sites like Shades of Color, a Black-owned company that sells inspirational gifts with positive Black images printed on them. Type "Black-owned business" in your favorite search engine, or use the #blackowned hashtag on social media.
DIY Black History Month Activities
There are several ways to observe Black History Month and learn about the contributions of Black heroes, from donating to charities that support anti-racism efforts to watching television specials about Black achievements. Grab your family and friends to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Look for murals, statues, and monuments to discuss. Gather around the table for a home-cooked meal to share stories and experiences about Black culture. You can also start or join an online discussion group.
How Did Black History Month Develop?
In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, a Black historian with a doctorate from Harvard University, introduced Negro History Week as a way for African American students to share what they had learned about their history during the school year. Woodson picked the month of February to coincide with the birth month of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Meanwhile, he suggested expanding the week-long celebration. Although Black History Month wouldn't come until much later, Woodson did get to see Negro History Week celebrated throughout the United States before his death in 1950. Thanks to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Negro History Week grew into a month-long event on many college campuses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Black History Month
Is There a Black History Month?
Yes; it occurs every February. Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (an organization founded by Carter G. Woodson) selects the Black History Month theme. Previous themes centered on voting, economic empowerment, and the Black family.
Why Is Black History Month Celebrated?
During a 1976 celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial, President Gerald R. Ford urged citizens to learn more about the contributions of African Americans. He proclaimed February as Black History Month.
When Is Black History Month Celebrated?
In the United States and Canada, Black History Month is a 28-day long celebration throughout February. It lasts 29 days on leap years.