DETROIT – Through a program at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, young entrepreneurs were encouraged to use art and fashion to express their thoughts around social justice reform.
The organization’s Industry Club released its custom collection for Black History Month.
Fifteen-year-old Jayla and 13-year-old McKenzy are making waves not only in their schools but also the fashion industry. The teens and BGCSM members are involved in the Reimagine Black Wall Street collection - apparel that’s open for sale to the public.
“Right now going on, we have a pop up shop where people can come and buy our T-shirts and hoodies,” McKenzy said.
Each design has to do with the many social injustices faced by African-Americans on a daily basis.
“The title of it is ‘Unapologetically Black’ and me and my older sister Madison Wilson designed it together. We really just wanted anyone who are designed to feel confident in their own skin,” McKenzy said.
The Boys and Girls Club has played a part in bringing the creativity to light. In a recent ceremony, several industry moguls like Ruthie Davis were virtually able to share their stories with the kids, anticipating they would be inspired to keep on going.
“Having something you created or something that’s your baby that you worked on, that you developed, that’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Davis said.
“I felt really honored just to have been in my presence and just really excited that they wanted to talk to me about running my own business and hear my experiences,” McKenzy said.
With the lessons learned, the hope is that these kids will have major successes of their own.
“I make bonnets, durags, hairbands and I’m starting to make clothes,” Jayla said, mentioning that she has two businesses.
“I want to turn this design into my own business and call it ‘Unapologetically Black’ with my older sister, Maddie, and throughout this program they really taught me all the skills I need,” McKenzy said.
And already there are some very big expectations.
“I can’t wait to see the next millionaire/billionaire come out of this very group,” said David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan.