Martell Cognac and marketing maven Karen Civil are personifying the essence of #BlackGirlMagic in celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
Together, they created 115 trunks highlighting products created by Black women. The exclusive trunks are filled with some of Civil’s favorite lifestyle brands and were delivered to a select group of women of color blazing trails in their respective fields.
Each trunk includes a bottle of Martell and items like the CONTOURsition Notebook pallet from The Crayon Case, a beauty brand founded by Supa Cent, the makeup guru who made $1 million in 90 minutes. It also featured a box of coffee and a gold mug from Cool Coffee Clique made by The Mane Choice founder Courtney Adeleye; rose herbal infused oil from Herlistic owned by Ronne Brown; towels and accessories from LABeautyologist owned by Nayamka Roberts-Smith; Eunique Jones Gibson’s popular trivia game CultureTags; and a bottle of Brown Girl Jane lotion created by Tai Beauchamp, Malaika Jones, and Nia Jones.
Not only does the trunk spotlight Black women businesses, Civil noted that Martell paid for all of the featured items. “They understood the importance of highlighting female-owned Black businesses, [and] not just the popular ones, but new ones that we should also shed a light on,” said the social media and digital marketing strategist.
The entrepreneur also revealed that she was not pressured into choosing influencers with large follower counts to receive the trunks. “It was just about who these women were—individuals who I felt were influencers in their own way, continuing to push culture, just exuding Black girl magic.”
In addition to the trunks, Martell and Civil launched a conversation series on Clubhouse, the wildly popular, invite-only audio app, to amplify Black businesswomen. During the series, titled “Make HER Statement, Bold Conversations Hosted by Karen Civil,” Supa Cent, hair mogul Ming Lee, and cookware creator PremaDonna shared business tips and insights.
Influence and Impact
Civil says working with companies like Martell is not about money. Rather, with more than 735,000 followers on Instagram and a million on Clubhouse, Civil is leveraging her influence to make an impact.
“It’s not just about you giving me a check. How does this help or amplify my community? How does this create opportunity for other people? How do I get to work with other Black women? How do I get to showcase them?”
She admits that she’s even turned down opportunities to partner with other brands that were not aligned with her values.
“With the social uprise that we had last year, a lot of companies have tried to throw money at me for various things, and I’m like ‘this is not really benefiting women. This is not really benefiting Black people. This is not really benefiting our culture,’” she said. “I’m at a place where it’s important for me to amplify my philanthropy efforts, and other creatives, especially Black women,” added the STEM advocate.
More Than A Trend
Civil, who launched KarenCivil.com back in 2008 as a blog that gave readers an insider look into the hip-hop industry, believes Black women are finally receiving the recognition they deserve.
“Black women are never a trend. We’re here to stay,” she says.“We’re not even a part of culture, we are culture. So, it’s at a point now where these companies understand the importance of partnering with us.”
Throughout her decorated career, Civil has spearheaded marketing campaigns for major brands like Beats by Dre and Universal Music Group and worked with celebrities like Lil Wayne, rapper and entrepreneur YG, and Hillary Clinton. She also helped late rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle open the first smart-store, the Marathon Clothing, back in 2018.
Earlier this year, Civil and her best friend, hair entrepreneur Ming Lee, launched the “Girl, I Guess” podcast on the Joe Budden Podcast Network. On the show, Civil and Lee speak with cultural influencers about business, love, and life. Just like many of her ventures, the podcast centers the voices of Black women.
“We already knew we were important. They are just now realizing it. And it’s good [that they are] giving us our flowers, but we were blossoming anyway.”