How Beyoncé Helped This Business In The Bronx During The Pandemic

How Beyoncé Helped This Business In The Bronx During The Pandemic

Majora Carter is spearheading a silent movement to revitalize derelict Black neighborhoods to increase employment opportunities for local residents, Finurah reports.

Carter is a real estate developer and owner of Majora Carter Group. She seeks out real estate projects through her company in the South Bronx and throughout the nation that require rehabilitation.

“My consulting practice in corporate settings as well as economic development across the U.S. illuminated some big gaps in the orthodox social justice strategy that many well-meaning activists, philanthropists, and government agency officials subscribe to,” Carter said to NewsBreak.

“Successful companies practice talent retention. People familiar with your in-house culture, training, and ethos are people you can add to and build with. The more successful individuals get incentives to stay and earn leadership positions.”

She continued, “But in low-status communities such as urban ghettos, former factory or mining towns, or Native American reservations, people there most often measure their success by how far they get away from the communities that raised them.”

Putting her creed into action, in 2017, she founded the Boogie Down Grind in the Bronx, a coffee shop and craft beer venue where local celebrities such as hip-hop icons DJ Kool Herc and Fab Five Freedy have patronized. The decor is reminiscent of the genesis of hip-hop and indicative of New York culture, like graffiti, subway car seats and hip-hop memorabilia. The menu also reveres the genre’s pioneers with such items as the Grand Master Frappe, according to NewsBreak.

The Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, had the highest recorded crime in 2021. However, Carter is determined to see other businesses open their doors in the economically disadvantaged South Bronx, Finurah reports.

“Commercial corridors in places like the South Bronx are peppered with health clinics, pharmacies, liquor stores, and so-called community centers,” she said. “Striving, creative, successful, hardworking people from our communities as well as those commuting in look elsewhere to spend their money and are deprived of opportunities to meet each other locally. Education and medical professionals who commute in see the same things, and that’s one reason we have such a high turnover in those positions.”

She added, “It’s what urbanists would call a ‘3rd-space desert’ where positive daily socializing is hard to come by. That’s why we created the Boogie Down Grind. It’s a place where people can express themselves and learn about others so that the community can grow.”

In 2021, Carter received $10,000 from Beyoncé‘s Beygood grant during the pandemic and added outdoor seating resembling a subway car. She also pursued other funding sources as Covid-19 ravaged the country.

“Like many small businesses, we were smacked pretty hard by COVID-19. We were able to use a crowd-sourcing investment platform called to assemble $50,000 from 125 local investors during the spring of 2020. We pay them back as a percentage of revenue, so, unlike a bank loan, we don’t have a fixed monthly payment to make when things are slow — and we pay out more when business is strong. We also took advantage of Federal loan programs,” she said.