Photo Credit: Princess "Franny" Francois
New Greenbook "Support BLACK Periodt" Features Huge Collection Of Black-Owned US Businesses
Princess “Franny” Francois is a world traveler and non-profit executive director. Born and bred in Brooklyn, she is a first-generation American with Haitian and Indian roots. She is also the author of Support BLACK Periodt: A Greenbook to Eliminate Your Ifs, Ands, or Buts. The most comprehensive listing of Black US businesses, the book is a must-have for any African-American traveler.
Franny was inspired to write the book by many things, the first being the appearance of various lists of Black-owned businesses during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. However, she noticed something essential was missing from these lists: how to use these resources.
“People did not know what to do with the overwhelming amount of existing resources,” says Franny. “As a result, I thought to myself, why not create an updated greenbook that not only centralizes these resources but also educates others on how to use them? That is how I decided to develop a framework that is easy to remember and incorporates personal narratives, history, and research.”
Franny also wanted to consolidate the overflow of resources to make it easier for people to keep track of them and use them.
“Sometimes, I have found that it takes hours to sift through thousands of comments from Black travel groups to find the one piece of information you need. I wanted to save people time but organizing this book in a way that makes it easy to access this information. This information comes from years of experience: years of traveling, years of searching, years of asking, and years of curating information.”
Moreover, realizing the huge desire for travelers–both Black and non-Black–to go beyond buying from Black-owned businesses, Franny aimed to inspire.
“Over the last year, I have been able to inspire thousands of my followers to think more about how to support the Black community. I noticed that my most popular posts were around supporting Black-owned businesses or learning untold Black narratives. 2020 has made me rethink and shift how I spend my time and money daily, and I want others to do the same.”
Because Black people are still underrepresented in travel, museums, and national parks, Franny wanted to amplify underrepresented voices and elevate Black creators who she has had the pleasure of meeting, either in real life or in the social media space.
“These are people who are working so hard to bring dope content to others, who are running businesses that deserve more profits, and who are sharing our narratives. This published book is the ultimate amplification, featuring thousands of Black businesses, landmarks, tours, locations, and creators you should support.”
In her book, Franny intentionally selected 16 different industries of businesses where there is an underrepresentation of Black business owners: restaurants, ice cream, coffee, tea, wine, businesses, museums, national parks, heritage tours, heritage trails, bookstores, perspectives, advocacy, visual arts, theater, and festivals.
“For example, out of 11,000+ wineries based in the United States for wine, less than 1 percent are Black-owned or have a Black winemaker: less than 110 wineries TOTAL. This is despite the stats that indicate 25% of African Americans drink wine, and African Americans are 12% more likely to shop for wine online than white consumers.”
Some of the other businesses included are coffee shops, teahouses, bookstores, museums, guided heritage tours, and art galleries with a focus on Black-owned businesses versus businesses that feature Black art or Black history.
“As a result, I actually tap into many resources from Travel Noire. For example, I highlight all of Travel Noire’s ‘Spend a Day in Black-Owned [X City]‘ in the Black businesses chapter of the book.”
The book also contains hundreds of Black museums, both well-known and lesser-known. Some of those listed include:
- The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI
- The APEX Museum (African-American Panoramic Experience Museum) in Atlanta, GA
- The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery in Minneapolis, MN
- Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, MD
- The National Blues Museum in St. Louis, MO
“Black Festivals is one of my favorite chapters because we often focus on the pain and suffering related to Black history and not enough time to elevate Black joy. Festivals are a perfect place for that. I feature a range of types, from Black wine festivals to Caribbean carnivals to Southern trap festivals.”
When it comes to festivals, the book truly has something for everyone, including:
- West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY
- Nomadness Fest (in various locations)
- Blacktoberfest in Atlanta, GA, and Durham, NC
- Honolulu African American Film Festival in Honolulu, HI
- Cowboys of Color Rodeo in Oklahoma City, OK
A history nerd and a Black history lover, Franny says it was essential for her to list historical sites that people do not think of when thinking of Black history, such as National park sites and Black heritage trails. You will find everything from more common sites such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, GA, and African American Burial Ground National Monument in NYC to less common sites such as Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Xenia, OH and Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, AL.
“Black history is literally everywhere. You cannot truly support the Black community if you do not understand our history. There is a lot of history that is not typically in textbooks because I wanted to point out that our history does not begin with slavery and end with the Civil Rights movement or Black Lives Matter movement. We literally built this country and have had a notable impact on so many industries. For example, did you know that ice cream is what it is today because of four Black pioneers rooted in Philadelphia, one of whom has Haitian roots? Probably not. That is just a taste–literally and figuratively–of the Black history that is used throughout the book.”
The entire book is built around a five-step framework to eliminate any excuses or reservations a person may have regarding supporting Black business. The framework is captured in an easy-to-remember acronym that lays out 5-actionable steps that encourage and inspire readers to support the Black community: Buy Black, Learn Black, Amplify Black, Celebrate Black, Knowingly (which spells BLACK).
“It is in that particular order as the easiest action is to buy from a Black-owned business, while the real work begins once you start to Amplify Black and Celebrate Black. The chapters of the book fall in one of the sections of this framework. As a result, readers can pick and choose which chapter is their best entry point for engaging in a specific step of the framework. I inspire readers by giving clear personal examples of how I have used the framework. I am also pivoting my Instagram and blog to become platforms where you will see the framework in action. For each location I showcase, I will use the framework as the lens with which I share information.”
“Knowledge is at the center. Once you are aware of the history behind these industries, once you are aware of the statistics stacked against them, and once you are aware of the resilience that it took for these industries to be thriving, you will want to find every way to make sure you are supporting these Black businesses–no ifs, ands, or buts. Hence, the first step to eliminating those excuses is acknowledging that you have these excuses. Then take the time to educate yourself by reading this book cover to cover! You will find yourself going on a personal, introspective journey equipped with resources to make a change. From there, carry out the steps of the framework.”
As the most comprehensive list of Black-owned businesses in the United States, Support BLACK Periodt is a must-have for Black travelers. It is intentionally organized to make it easy to find Black businesses based on your interest and then organized further by state. Readers can get a dose of history, tips and tricks, and resources in one place. This resource will help you build a Black-owned itinerary for any location you visit, from New York and Atlanta’s eclectic Black cultural hotspots to the small yet thriving communities in Maine, Hawaii, and beyond.
“While I want this book to serve as a collective resource for Black-owned businesses, I do not use it solely for that. Take the time to read the content of the book. I highly recommend reading it in the order it is written because there is an intentionality in how it is organized. The easiest action, in my opinion, is buying Black. This requires shifting what businesses you purchase from for your everyday items. It also requires just taking a few extra seconds to pause and think, ‘Can I buy this from a Black-owned spot?’ The hardest part is doing so Knowingly and with intention.”
“I am hoping this also leads to a community sharing more resources by tagging me on Instagram @franny_the_traveler or using the hashtag #supportblackperiodt so people can see where others go when using the book! I already had someone tag me on a comment they made to a person they connected with online because it was mentioned in the book. I want to build on that power of connection. It allows readers to support other Black people in authentic ways as I just described.”
Franny also plans to release an accompanying journal that will help readers truly reflect and digest the book and also serve as a great tool for planning travels.
“One day, I would also love to release an international resource where it is just a curation of resources from around the world, as I have been able to find Black history tours, for example, in the least expected places, such as Scotland! I want people to realize that Support BLACK Periodt is a daily movement, a USA movement, and even a global movement!”