Diaspora

Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival showcases Black businesses – The Miami Times

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Black-owned businesses from Miami-Dade County came together last weekend at the second annual Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival to promote Black prosperity during Black Business Month.
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A line forms outside Zoeman Get it and Go to get a taste of some Haitian food.
Zoeman Get it and Go owner Nancy Guerrier with her food truck crew.
Little Creations by J owner Jessie Little speaking with a customer.
Jessie Little, owner of Little Creations by J, helping a customer look for jewelry specific to Zodiac signs.
Juice 4 Your Soul founders Jimmy Andre and Dainishia King at their fresh juice stand.
Jimmy Andre serving Juice 4 Your Soul customers, while Dainishia King arranges the display.

A line forms outside Zoeman Get it and Go to get a taste of some Haitian food.
Black-owned businesses from Miami-Dade County came together last weekend at the second annual Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival to promote Black prosperity during Black Business Month.
For local Black businesses and entrepreneurs like Nancy Guerrier, the festival gives her the opportunity to share her culture with her community.
Guerrier has fond memories of being in the kitchen with her father as a young girl. Now she cooks and serves authentic Haitian food from her food truck, Zoeman Get it and Go, at pop-up festivals to express the love for her culture with others.
Zoeman Get it and Go owner Nancy Guerrier with her food truck crew.
The Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival launched in 2019 and has returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The festival hosted around 50 vendors selling a range of food from the African diaspora and a variety of handcrafted items. The festival was created by SocialExchange founders Alexis Brown and Joel Franklin with a purpose to circulate more wealth within the Black community.
The event gives business owners the chance to let their community know what they have to offer, and the services they provide.
“It’s been a long journey, but God finally opened open the door for me,” said Guerrier. “This is what I have to give back to the community so they can see how authentic Haitian food tastes, with real flavors and fresh ingredients. I make this food with love.”
One of the inspirations for her food truck was her father, who taught her everything she knows about cooking.
“My father’s face is on the truck. He’s been my biggest inspiration when it comes to food and feeding everyone,” said Guerrier. “Food brings people together.”
Guerrier’s truck is the type of small business Miami-Dade County wants to empower with its new “Support Black-Owned Business 305” campaign. The campaign coincides Black Business Month to highlight the Black community consciously supporting other Black business owners.
Guerrier launched Zoeman Get it and Go earlier this year in April at Miami Dade College, and is still learning about the food truck industry as her business progresses. But she has big plans for its future.
“I want to expand with multiple food trucks around Florida,” said Guerrier. “People need to know more about Haitian food, particularly because there is a stigma in the Haitian community about Haitian customer service. It isn’t the best and I want to change that.”
Little Creations by J owner Jessie Little speaking with a customer.
The Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival gave a glimpse into the more than 50,000 Black-owned businesses Miami has to offer. According to the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust, these businesses generate more than $2.3 billion.
Jessie Little, founder of handcrafted jewelry business Little Creations by J, began contributing to this thriving local economy in June of this year. But Little started 20 years ago making jewelry as a hobby for her family and friends.
“I started doing this on the side,” she said. “But after COVID-19, I had a lot more time on my hands to create more and especially do more pop-up events like this one.”
Little, a full-time fourth grade math teacher at Dania Elementary, attends pop-up festivals to let more people know what she creates, rather than maintain a brick-and-mortar storefront that she feels would take up most of her time.
Jessie Little, owner of Little Creations by J, helping a customer look for jewelry specific to Zodiac signs.
“I don’t think I would get a storefront right now with the bills I already pay,” said Little. “Honestly, these pop-up events and private parties that I do are amazing. I’m good with this.”
Little’s festival tent allows her to be more engaged with her customers regardless of the weather.
“The one thing I don’t like sometimes is how hot and humid it is,” she said. “But business is good since I meet more nice people, but also because my business allows me to be as creative as I want.”
Little and Guerrier thrive at these festivals, but that isn’t the case for a lot of other Black businesses. Most Black entrepreneurs have a difficult time getting started or lack the funding to invest in promotion, according to an October 2020 McKinsey study.
Juice 4 Your Soul founders Jimmy Andre and Dainishia King at their fresh juice stand.
Jimmy Andre and Dainishia King, founders of Juice 4 Your Soul, have prospered in the four years since they started their business.
Andre and King left their comfortable corporate jobs in insurance and human resources to establish Juice 4 Your Soul to bring healthier food options to their community.
“It started off with an idea we had about wanting to bring neighborhood awareness and help with being healthy,” said Andre. “We want to change the misconceptions people have about what is healthy and show them the benefits of getting it from the source.”
Jimmy Andre serving Juice 4 Your Soul customers, while Dainishia King arranges the display.
Andre and King dedicate their time to buying, cleaning and bottling all their pressed juices themselves.
“It takes more time for us in a week to make Juice 4 Your Soul than working a regular nine to five,” said Andre. “It’s an all-day thing but it’s all to help people understand what is and isn’t good for them.”
Andre and King strive to reach out to all Miami-Dade County, much like Guerrier and Little. Collectively they’re informing the face of Black business in an evolving landscape.
“I want to make a difference for the younger generation of Haitians that are coming up in the culinary arts so they can know our food tastes good,” said Guerrier. “Not only that, so we can embrace anyone that comes, and we show them love and respect. I want to be that inspiration.”
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