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10 Black Entrepreneurs Share The Profound Spirit Of Juneteenth In Business

As Juneteenth nears, it is a time for Black America to especially reflect and honor its beginnings and the journey still left ahead. The celebration of the emancipation of enslaved people everywhere has not always been nationally recognized, but in the cities across Texas such as Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and origin place Galveston, it is fundamentally ingrained in its communities and history. For the entrepreneurs who found success in these areas, the remembrance that they are a part of a grander legacy, owning their own businesses on the very land of their ancestors who were the last to be free, is ever present. From 6th generation Houstonians to those who recently migrated in hopes of promise and advancement in the Alamo state, these trailblazers in their industry remain committed to the values of resilience and determination as the fight for freedom, albeit of a different measure, lives on. Through their professions within retail to banking and creative marketing spheres, these business  leaders all utilize their specific avenues to contribute to the uplifting mission instilled by their predecessors.BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s tribute to the 168th anniversary of Juneteenth goes back to the state it was first enacted, to highlight those who directly walk in the footsteps of the last freedmen.

BE spoke to each entrepreneur on how Juneteenth influences their business model, through direct celebration and holistic contribution, and how they feel about being a part of its legacy as Black business owners.


1) Warren Broadnax, CEO of She’s Happy Hair

Warren Broadnax, CEO of She’s Happy Hair
Warren Broadnax

I feel an obligation to the community, if you do well, you have to do good. It is an obligation to be transparent with the struggles of a Black entrepreneur and to also be visible to the youth so that they can see what’s possible. I try to lead by example by putting money back to the community. Unlike other groups, we don’t have much access to people who have access to capital. We have to be very intentional about circulating our dollars within the Black community. Luckily, in Houston, we do have a very close knit Black entrepreneurial community, where we support each other through all aspects. We make sure that we patronize one another. And at She’s Happy Hair, we’re unapologetically Black, because Black women are our core customers, and have a foundation dedicated to Black youth. On Juneteenth specifically, it’s a time for reflection, and at our company we’ve been treating it like a holiday, including double-time pay for employees who choose to work, even before the federal government made it official. Just putting our money where our mouth is. 

2) Gerald Smith, CEO of Smith Graham

CEO of Smith Graham
Gerald Smith

It is a lot more thoughtful these days, and in what is meant behind Juneteenth. I think as a business leader within the community, we’ve always tried to embrace Juneteenth as something that was important to us and supporting it. It’s an official holiday, we are not open on that day, and will continue not to. One of the great benefits and values that I think we at Smith Graham did last year is when we sold our fixed income business to Loop Capital to create a major platform of asset management with two Black firms coming together. I think that’s something to recognize, as most businesses grow through acquisition, and you don’t see that often with firms of color. And it gives us the ability to compete better. One of the things that I realized, when I started my business 33 years ago, was knowing I was stepping out and taking control of my own destiny. In a sense, as Juneteenth is a celebration about freedom, my own journey to step out on my own was about that too. 

3) Kim Roxie, Owner of Clean Cosmetics Brand, LAMIK Beauty

Kim Roxie, Owner of Clean Cosmetics Brand, LAMIK Beauty
Kim Roxie

Actually, one of the major retailers that I do business with had a vendor webinar scheduled for June 19th, and I was like ‘wait what?’ And this is a billion dollar company, so I emailed them back and said ‘Is it normal for you to host a webinar on a federal holiday?’ And two hours later, I got an email that went out to everybody with the subject ‘Webinar Date Updated’ explaining that they are moving it due to Juneteenth being an important holiday. That’s how Junettenth influences my business model, making these people understand. And to be honest, I almost let it slide, as they always try to make us feel like we should be grateful to be a part. But no, I’m going to stand up for who we are, and just in that moment I activated change for a huge company. Juneteenth makes me want to work even harder, impact other generations ever more, and feel the strength of those who found out about their freedom late. 


4) Lamonica Orr, Love of Love Law Group

Lamonica Orr, Love of Love Law Group
Lamonica Orr

My team honors it by attending events in our community, taking this day to rest and reflect, and ensuring that our clients know of its importance. We are blessed as Black business owners to be able to elevate our communities. Our Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce has always  done such a wonderful job at creating events around Juneteenth and championing Black businesses. We still want to ensure that Black voices are elevated, and that’s something I’m proud to do. And the history of Juneteenth impacts my life, let alone my business model. The type of integrity that I have, the legacy that I want to live, that is a core of who I am. I am a sixth generation Texan, and a proud Houstonian, so these values definitely show in the way I treat my clients and how I show up for them. 

5) Byron Lundy, Founder of iBrandMedia Company

Byron Lundy, Founder of iBrandMedia Company
Byron Lundy

I am literally living in the legacy of those who came before me. I follow in their footsteps, I feel as an entrepreneur I help carry the banner for my family. And while Houston is a thriving market for Black entrepreneurs, some people across the country are just now understanding what Juneteenth means. But, in collaboration with the rebranding of the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce, I’m carrying on the legacy of representing Black businesses in our city. With all of the history that has been instilled in us, it just gives me the pride to show up for my clients and push them to set an example for the next wave of Black entrepreneurs.


6) Eric Lyons, Partner with Impact Strategy Consultants

Eric Lyons, Partner with Impact Strategy Consultants
Eric Lyons

Throughout the year in the spirit of Juneteenth, we’re very intentional about how we operate as a Black-owned businesses and how we support them. We try to do it in a holistic approach. If there is a company dinner or meeting, we try to utilize Black vendors. Our goal is to return the dollar into the Black community as best as possible. When there’s an opportunity from a workforce development standpoint, we really try to engage students from the local HBCUs to give them business experience. It’s a generational impact. We’re standing on the shoulders of our forefathers, and keeping that spirit of resilience as we approach business challenges. 

7) Mark Allen, Managing Partner of Commercial Real Estate Firm, Onyx Legacy Realty

Mark Allen, Managing Partner of Commercial Real Estate Firm, Onyx Legacy Realty
Mark Allen

We are here in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is the home of Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth who pioneered to make it a national holiday. So Juneteenth is a big deal in this city. For us specifically, we try to uplift Black People in commercial real estate, as we only represent 2 to 3 percent of agents. Juneteenth is a time to remember the ancestors that didn’t have these opportunities, so we pride ourselves in exercising our freedoms in the entrepreneurial space and
expanding that to others. 

8) Chimere Norris, Owner of Creative Agency, Designs by Chimere

Chimere Norris
Chimere Norris

We help our clients, primarily Black-owned businesses, show up and compete in their respective marketplace. The community here that I’ve been a part of since 2012, has been so supportive of one another in the initiatives surrounding Black entrepreneurs. Last year, I was actually fortunate enough to
design the Juneteenth logo for the nonprofit Houston First. I was proud and honored to be a part of  that representation, and learn more about the history of Juneteenth, especially not being from the South. Being a business owner here, it offers an opportunity to recognize the resiliency of the city and the creativity of Black businesses that came before me and overcame so many historical and systemic barriers to build successful enterprises. It encourages my skills, talents, and resources to promote economic growth. 

9) Moncy Hawkins, CEO of Credit Consulting Firm, Fig Restoration

Moncy Hawkins
Moncy Hawkins


I come from a family of Juneteenth advocates, all about empowering and educating the community. In fact, a couple of Black women business founders including myself are building a cohort to help aspiring entrepreneurs  learn to grow and scale their businesses. It makes you feel a part of something important that will impact generations to come, because we’ve come so far from that initial day when freedom was really granted. Juneteenth holds a very significant place in our community, and for my business specifically it shows through education. Being able to equip our people with credit education and financial freedom has allowed so many to break free from limitations.


10) Marcus Davis, Restaurateur at The Breakfast Klub

Marcus Davis
Marcus Davis

We honor Juneteenth by living out the freedom and liberties that our ancestors did not get to experience. Black entrepreneurship is a testament in general to what we’re made of, we’re made of a people that exude resilience. We come from a lineage of people who saw what didn’t exist in the physical but did in the spiritual, and that’s what the entrepreneur does as well. I am confident and courageous in my actions with regard to the history of my people, and Juneteenth is a tremendous part of that. It impacts how I approach my day to day, and how I encounter my customers, with gratitude and an obligation to fulfill their hopes and dreams, and to be an inspiration that it can be done.

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