The Black and Brown-owned businesses enriching Berlin’s cultural landscape

Put your money where your mouth is, or so the saying goes. As we hear of corporate employees relying on food stamps while their billionaire boss sky-rockets out of the stratosphere, and Brandy Melville being accused of a culture of racism and body-shaming, it’s more apparent than ever that our money—and where we choose to spend it—matters.

“When it comes to their contribution to the economic wealth of the country, Black and Brown businesses are so often undervalued,” says Femi Oyewole of Black Brown Berlin—the platform responsible for a growing directory of Black- and Brown-owned and -allied businesses in the German capital. “They play a major role in building the multi-ethnic identity Berlin likes to claim.” Conceived to “shine the spotlight on Black and Brown excellence across Berlin and beyond,” Black Brown Berlin aims to break down barriers and empower Berlin’s diasporic communities by amplifying them. Its business map is a rolodex spanning every industry from gastronomy to healthcare, making it easier to shop consciously.

BBB’s directory is a vital effort to close the racial financing gap that unfairly favours white (male) business owners. A recent study backed by the Deutsche Post Foundation found that Black business owners were “less likely to receive bank loans, more likely to refrain from applying because they expect denial, and more likely to report that lack of finance reduces their profitability.” A US report showed that Black-owned companies are shutting down twice as fast as other businesses. Another suggested that as many as 80% of Black-owned businesses fail in the first 18 months, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. For many, the forced closures brought about by the pandemic were the straws that broke the camel’s back.

In an effort to illuminate the crucial contributions of Black and Brown-owned businesses to Berlin’s cultural landscape, INDIE met the owners of Black Brown Berlin’s favourite spots in the city—across the fields of art, culture, food and beauty. Photographer NTI captures four different business owners, styled in Uniqlo’s new AW21 collection, and water-repellent and windproof RDS-certified seamless down jackets—the perfect addition to any casual working wardrobe.

Melion Abraha

Cocoon Hairshop

Potsdamer Str. 193, and Hauptstraße 30, 10827

Barbara Saltman

YA-MAN Caribbean Soul Food

Gotzkowskystraße 17, 10555

Louna Sbou


Lucy-Lameck-Straße 32, 12049

Elizabeth Kang

Kang Contemporary

Lindenstraße 90, 10969 

Business Curation BLACK BROWN BERLIN
Photography NTI
Photo Assistance LUCA SCHNELL
Styling Assistance ALEXANDRA ROS
Production PIA AHLERT
Production Assistance ZOË FROST
On-Set Consultant CHANEL KNIGHT

Paid partnership with Uniqlo.

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