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Illustration by Ngadi Smart for Time Out

Black Pound Day

Using economic empowerment to help lift the Black community

So Solid Crew's Swiss launched Black Pound Day on June 27, 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd and the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

Falling on the first Saturday of every month, the day encourages everyone to replace their usual purchases with products from black-owned businesses to support the growth of the UK black economy.

"How can I engage with this in a positive way?î Swiss asked himself. ìI wanted to redirect the energy in our city. Instead of being political activists, people could become economic activists. Emotions come and go, but spending with black businesses can help to rebuild our community."

To celebrate Black Pound Day this November, Time Out ran a special issue sponsored by Google. This was their first ever edition to focus solely on black businesses, voices and change-makers. Google donated 80% of the ad spaces to black-owned businesses to allow them to showcase their creative talents and goods to its London readers.

The special issue was guest-edited by Peckham-born actor Ashley Walters and featured an array of black contributors including Sierra Leonean Studio PI artist Ngadi Smart, who illustrated an article written by June Sarpong.

Ngadi grew up watching June as a presenter on MTV UK and remembers it being ìsuch a comforting feelingî to see a black woman of African descent in British mainstream media.

"In my illustration," says Ngadi, "I tried to include what June expressed about the joyful heyday and multiculturalism of London's 2005 Olympic-bid era, along with symbolism for Black Pride and Black Pound Day. I also wanted to support June's opinion about how engaging with black history and supporting black-owned businesses is essential to the future."

We couldn't agree more.

That's why we've put together a list of some of our favourite black-owned businesses you can support over the festive period - whether it's for any gift buying you've still got to do or just to treat yourself.

Give Black 

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This is how we do it. A little bit of all of us, in a box

Dark Sugars

Handmade chocolate truffles,
pearls and vegan treats.
@darksugars

Prick

London's first boutique dedicated
to cacti and other succulents.
@prickldn

Kemi Telford

Known for its vibrant fabrics and bold
patterns made into fabulous skirts and
dresses to suit all body shapes.
@kemitelford

Soapsmith

The finest handcrafted soaps, bath and body
products with bold and evocative scents
which capture the essence of London.
@soapsmithlondon

Liha Beauty

Beauty products with African roots
and a quintessentially British attitude.
@lihabeauty

You can find more businesses in your
local area for #BlackPoundDay at
blackpoundday.uk

The Art of Solitude is

a powerful photo-essay by London-based fashion and documentary photographer Ejatu Shaw, that featured in The Sunday Times Magazine. Perfectly capturing