Melanin Markets Manchester returns this May for huge celebration of black-owned businesses

This May, Melanin Markets will take over the Royal Exchange Theatre, celebrating and showcasing black-owned businesses in the UK. Following the success of its Christmas-themed event last year at Contact Theatre, Melanin Markets Manchester returns on Sunday, May 8 on an even bigger scale.

Visitors can expect vibrant music, food, drink, art, homeware, clothing and much more as the popular event takes over The Great Hall. Last year saw 42 black-owned businesses showcasing their products and services, with over 1,000 people in attendance and £25,000 made.

Melanin Markets Manchester was created by professional arts sector workers, Bianca Danielle and Kelly Morgan. They both feel passionately that art and culture is for everyone regardless of class, age or race, so they have created Melanin Markets as a way to actively engage with their community and bring them into the center of these spaces, hoping to break down barriers.

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Bianca Danielle, co-founder and producer of Melanin Markets said: “We created Melanin Markets to celebrate and promote black-owned business vibrantly and unapologetically. We purposefully choose to host our event, within unorthodox spaces not usually frequented by the black community.

“We want to normalize seeing and spending with black businesses whilst breaking down systemic discrimination and inequality.”

Kelly Morgan, co-founder and producer of Melanin Markets adds: In 2020, Manchester marched in support of the Black Lives Matters movement, acknowledging the need for change and action in all areas of society. The Black Pound Day initiative plays an extremely important role in creating opportunities for the Black community to gain a stronger standing economically.

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“Black-owned businesses in the UK face a variety of challenges such as underrepresentation, limited access to start-up funds, and barriers accessing wider markets. Recent reports have shown that 88 per cent of black-owned businesses have been self-funded and quite relevant to this figure studies have shown that black-owned businesses are five times more likely to be rejected for loans and grants.

“These figures highlight the need for change so that black businesses are able to imagine, update and succeed fairly in the UK. And so in alignment with the Black Pound Day movement which aims to address the economic inequalities and imbalances affecting black businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK and global diasporic communities – Melanin Markets Manchester celebrates and promotes black-owned business vibrantly within unorthodox spaces not usually frequented by the black community – with the aim to normalize seeing and spending with black businesses.”

The event, which is free to attend and inclusive to everyone, does not require tickets. There will be over 50 stores, as well as interactivity, live music and performers.

Vendors will be selling a wide variety of products from health foods to cultural clothing for adults and children, as well as accessories, jewelery and homeware. Vendors including Educap Yourself, who design mugs with men and women with afro hair and empowering quotes printed on them, will also be there on the day.

Food and drink will also be on offer from sellers including vegan African food business Gwafuvegan, Indo-Caribbean fusion band Soka and Miss Jackson’s Drinks Company – a heritage brand continuing their families’ Jamaican heritage through rum and sorrel spirits.

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There’s no need to book, just simply turn up. Melanin Markets takes place on Sunday, May 8, 12-5pm.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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