Everyone loves Disneyland right? Well, it looks like it just got a little more Black.
On the first day of Black History Month, Post 21, the first Black-owned business at Downtown Disney District in Los Angeles, California, reopened on Feb. 1 after taking a break in January to reset the retail stand after Christmas, according to the Orange County Register.
The family duo behind the business is mother Juana Williams and daughter Blair Paysinger who started Post 21 to sell products as a tribute to the struggles and perseverance of Black business in American history.
From the Orange County Register:
The Post 21 premise: A comprehensive marketplace focused on design-forward apparel, decor, art, jewelry and beauty products made by Black creatives and businesses. The goal of Williams and Paysinger: Turn their favorite products made by Black craftspeople from exciting discoveries into household names — all while filling an untapped consumer gap and backing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.
“Our whole purpose is to advance Black businesses,” said Williams, 59, who handles the business side of the shop. “We’re bringing all the Black businesses that we work with along with us so they have the Disney opportunity as well.”
Downtown Disney sought out Post 21 as the massive entertainment giant strives to introduce more diversity and inclusivity into its theme parks, workforce and company culture.
“It was just such a unique story,” Downtown Disney property manager Robert Clunie said. “Their story was one of the things that attracted us to them.”
According to the Orange County Register, Post 21 takes its name from the historic Black Wall Street area in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which on May 31, 1921, was destroyed by a White mob in what is called the Tulsa Race Massacre. The destruction resulted in more than 1,000 homes being burned and hundreds more being looted.
They also opened their online shop on June 1, 2020, 99 years to the day of the Tulsa Race Massacre and almost a year later on Black Friday, they opened its Downtown Disney kiosk which is across the street from the World of Disney Shop.
“We thought we’d just do a website, start slow, learn the business and then eventually grow,” Williams said, according to the Orange County Register. “But instead it kind of exploded and here we are today.”
More from the Orange County Register:
“We wanted to capitalize on the holiday shopping and attempt to change the concept of Black Friday,” said Paysinger, 32, who handles the creative side of the business. “Most people think of Black Friday as shopping for a discount. We were thinking of it as shopping intentionally with Black businesses.”
The mother and daughter duo both grew up being surrounded by Black entrepreneurs that prioritized fostering the Black community.
Juana Williams, Blair Paysinger’s mother, was raised in Los Angeles and worked in her father’s stores being surrounded by Black professionals that were important to the Black community. They always supported Black-owned restaurants, dry cleaners and other businesses in the neighborhood, according to the Orange County Register.
“My father owned three businesses on one block in Los Angeles — a corner market, a laundromat and a gas station,” Williams said, according to the Orange County Register. “He started his own business and then he helped all of his brothers do the same thing so that they all could be financially stable.”
Now years later, Williams is doing the same thing her father did, just with her daughter.
This content was originally published here.