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While it is easy to condemn large retailers; and the negative impact those retailers have locally and globally on the economy, living standards, quality of production, and working conditions; figuring out how to vote with your dollars can be tricky given the ubiquitous nature of the “big box” store.

Shopping with locally owned businesses, artists, artisans, and craftspeople ensures that your hard earned cash circulates our community and ultimately holds a greater positive impact for us all in an economic sense.

Shopping local also has the soft impact of letting the next generation know that they too can create a business in our community that will thrive despite the competition of global corporations, we can also model community to our children by allowing them to witness us supporting and uplifting each other’s endeavors.

We have the power to shift the global economy model back to one of predominantly local commerce one dollar at a time, but do we have knowledge of who our local artists and entrepreneurs are and where to find them?

I would like to introduce you to a few of the artists and proprietors elevating the black community in Tulsa with their passion and dedication in hopes that you will support them, seek out more like them, and possibly strive to match their zeal. Click on the links below to find out more.

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Billie Parker’s Black Wall Street Market sells a variety of locally produced food and goods as well as Afrocentric gear from around the country and world.

Local fashion powerhouse Lisa J creates styles that fit the black aesthetic and body beautifully.

Kieran Boykins creates one of a kind creations from practical items such as sneakers, hoodies, and wallets with his #YikEz merchandise.

The Black Moon artist collective is a group of Tulsa artists of multiple disciplines including painters, graphic artists, photographers, and fashion designers. Currently fashion artist, Erica Hicks, is offering original designs featuring denim renovation and photographer, @nosamyrag (you can find him on Instagram), is offering portraits at AHHA Tulsa Sunday December 2nd by appointment only.

Crystal Rene’s Novel Matrimony offers hand made wire wrapped jewelry.

Black Wall Street Gallery has locally produced art, books, jewelry, and Black Wall Street swag for sale. This Sunday, December 2nd from two to five p.m., Black Wall Street Gallery will also feature a Tea Party fundraiser during which you can have your portrait drawn by a local artist while enjoying tea and finger foods in your Sunday best.

PIASA handmade jewelry features the precious metal work of Sajidah Alsharif  and draws inspiration from themes of the cosmos and the prairie.

If all you want for the holidays is delicious food Chef Taylor’s catering and meal prep is always fulfilling.

This list is far from comprehensive but it is sure to inspire you to think outside of the big box store for your holiday shopping.

Literary Editor

Casey McLerran is the Literary Editor at the Black Wall Street Times. She is a Sooner State transplant from Forest Hills, NY. McLerran arrived in Oklahoma at the age of three shortly after gentrification displaced her and her family out of their home in New York. At first glance, many think they have McLerran figured out. To be frank, she’s a biracial American young woman that unapologetically embraces her half-African identity — a feminist-womanist she is. Her pen operates as her voice as well as her sword. Her accolades include the 2018 Rural Oklahoma Poetry Museum’s Oklahoma Poem Award, a business management degree, and her three beautiful children. Her objective with the Black Wall Street Times is to elevate and amplify the literary art of modern black American culture, pay tribute to African-American literary trailblazers, all while simultaneously linking and introducing children to the world of colorful American writers.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...