The Black Dollar Bank

We found out about this company from our friends of Black Coffee Co.!  When we visited the IG and website of The Black Dollar Bank, we knew we had to be apart of this movement.  Read below to meet the owner of this dope business, see what the black dollar is all about and see some of our black dollars!.

How does the Black Dollar Bank work?

Below is the letter that we gave people when they recieved a black dollar from our company.  Hopefully this helps you understand how The Black Dollar Bank works.


Congratulations on receiving a black dollar!

What is a black dollar?

“The Black Dollar” is symbol of black wealth.  Black businesses can join “the Black Dollar Bank” as either a collector or a distributor of “The Black Dollar”.  Businesses will offer a deal for customers to either receive a black dollar or a deal for customers to spend black dollars.

You received this black dollar because we (Universal Sankofa) are currently a distributor of black dollars and we are giving them to customers who spend $20 or more.   

The purpose of “The Black Dollar” is to also spread awareness of other black businesses.  “The Black Dollar” that you received has the name of another black business. Hopefully as these “Black Dollars” are circulated, our community will be introduced to black businesses that can provide a service or goods for our needs. 

What do I do with the black dollar?

Don’t throw it away!  Keep it and turn it in to a black business that is collecting Black Dollars.  For example, we will eventually become a collector and offer a deal if you spend a black dollar with us (ex:  Turn in a black dollar to Universal Sankofa and get 33% off your total purchase).

Where can I find more info?

IG: @theblackdollarbank

FB: The Black Dollar Bank

Spread the word!

Let’s circulate these black dollars and help spread the awareness of other black businesses.  If you are a black business owner, join the movement! If you know a black business owner, tell them about it!


The Black Dollar Bank

The Black Dollar for our business: Universal Sanofa
More Black Dollars
Nipsey Hussle Black Dollar
The Black Wealth Plaque

So…check out their IG and FB for more info!

IG: @theblackdollarbank

FB: The Black Dollar Bank

Wake/Up Apparel

WAKE UP!!!!  These are the words that open one of our favorite movies, “Do The Right Thing” by Spike Lee.  We are currently living in the age of information and it’s time to wake up! You woke? If so, the messages that this black business provides are for you!  Read below to meet the owner of this dope business and see some of our purchases.

Owner: Chris Burrell

Year started: 2018

Home base: Houston

University alum: Lamar University


What’s the story behind the company name? 

It’s funny that we have became known as Wake Up HOU, but the actual name is Wake/Up Apparel. I came up with the name because so many people are so adamant about being “woke” but I feel like its a constant struggle to stay woke. One has to continue to wake up.  Growth has to continue.  

What is your “why”? 

As simple as it might sound, my “why” with this, as well as in life is…because I felt like it. I’ve never been one to follow, or conform. 

What is favorite and least favorite thing about being an entrepreneur? 

My favorite is the independence to do what you want and be responsible for your own well being. My least favorite is being responsible for handling everything when things don’t go your way!


Universal Sankofa x Wakeup HOU

This is Stacey sippin’ from a Wakeup HOU mug and wearing a Universal Sankofa shirt.  Ain’t nothing like being “Melanated and Motivated” and “Melanated and Educated”.

Chris is a pretty dope graphic artist so we couldn’t pass up this print of the late and great Nipsey Hussle.  We found this print a great home in our office, now we need to spend some coins and get it properly framed!

So…go ahead and check out this dope business and the other items they have to offer.

Website: wakeuphou.com

IG: @wakeuphou

FB: Wake/Up Apparel

Logistic Massage & Bodywork

Nothing is like a good ol’ massage to melt away the stress of the day or ease the strains of working out.  We were first introduced to this brand from a giveaway on Instagram. Then, we realized that we were both part of the the “Unity is Wealth” group, and then we started running into each other while vending at the BLCK Market here in Houston. Sankofa has received several massages from Latrina, the owner of Logistic Massage, and he loves it.  Sankofa does crossfit on a regular basis and needs the benefits that comes along with getting massages (although he doesn’t do it quite enough). So…keep on reading to learn more about this company and what all it offers besides massages.

Owner:  Latrina Williams 

Business started:  2014

Home base:  Houston


What are the products and services that you offer?

Logistic Massage is a licensed massage therapist establishment that provides massage therapy services for corporate, sporting, and private events as well as private clients. A few modalities we specialize in is Sports, Injury Recovery, Myofascial, Prenatal, Lymphatic, Thai, and Chair massage. We have self care products consisting of therapy balls and compression tools. We also offer CBD oil and Organic Body Scrubs.

What inspired you to become a massage therapist?

The thing that inspired me to become a massage therapist was the need to understand the body on a mechanical level and the recovery of it.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying aspect of what I do is the benefit and results I see in my clients. 


Universal Sankofa x Logistic Massage

This is us getting a massage the day we hosted a 20/20 Vision Board and Wellness event together with some other dope members of Unity is Wealth.

When you get some time, check out this business and all they have to offer!

Website: https://www.logisticmassagebodywork.com

IG: @logisticmassage

FB: Logistic Massage and Bodywork

Live Good Gang

Life is Good!  This is why we love the meaning behind this business we introduce to you today called, “Live Good Gang”, aka, LGG.  We were introduced to this brand because the owner is a member of “Unity is Wealth” with us. We love this brand because of the positive messages that are embodied on their apparel.  So….keep on reading to learn more about this dope brand, the owner and the purchase we have made from this company.

Owner of LGG: Creighton Dekine (pictured below)

Year Business Started: 2013

College Alum: Middle Georgia State & University alumni, East Georgia  College alumni and Georgia Southern University dropout lol

What is the story behind the business name?

When I started doing music, I wanted to rap and start my own label but I wanted to have the label built on positivity because I could see the negative relativity uprising in rap music. so I gained the idea of Live Good Gang. Once I made the logo and wore my first shirt it, I figured I could make LGG  a brand name, and so, that’s what I started and continue to strive for.

If you had a magic stick, what are 3 things you would change in the world?

Economic education  for poor people, organic food consumption increased, and self love increased.

Favorite Quote

Stand for something or fall for anything.


Universal Sankofa x Live Good Gang

The purchase we made from this company is this fly ass hat with their logo.  Below is an image of the hat and of both us wearing the hat paired with one of our tshirt designs.  

When you get some time, check them out and patronize a black business with a dope message!

Website: http://www.livegoodgang.com

IG: @livegoodgang

FB: Live Good Gang

Meet NCMPRBL

Since we are all time traveling, what better thing to have on your wrist than a timepiece?  Better yet, a timepiece from a dope ass black owned business! Below you will get a chance to meet Dr. McCoy, the owner of NCMPRBL, and learn about some of our purchases from this business.

Owner: Dr. Mario McCoy

Year started: 2019

Home base: Houston

University alum: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Southern California


What’s the story behind the business name? 

It’s different tiers behind it….boxes that had to be checked if you will, First, was being cognizant of who and where our niche demographic is. Coming up with a name that exudes a feeling and a look, while being inspired by creativity and authenticity was paramount. The word “incomparable” embodies that feeling and a look. No matter what life brings you, you have the choice to wake up everyday and feel incomparable. But I knew in my heart of hearts, the word itself was entirely too long. So the next step was phonetics… take out the vowels and make sure it can be pronounced the same. There lies NCMPRBL. Perfect length, has its own identity, resonates with our demographic, and a conversation starter amongst our consumers. As a rapper, I used to always be drawn to the word, said it in songs long before the brand’s birth, so it further confirmed that it was the right move.

Who or what inspired you to start a black owned watch company?  

A few things. I’ve had a love for watches since I was maybe 5-6 years. I’m about to date myself horribly…My mom used to get me the teenage mutant ninja terrible joints with the Raphael pop up face on it. I wore it until it broke. A plastic watch was my first. Then it was the Michael Jordan quartz watch with the ball that acted as the second dial. The dial was his infamous slam dunk with the gold ropes on his neck and the Jordan 1’s. I always told my mom pre-internet, that I was going to start a watch company and dedicate a watch to her. She thought it was cute, but I held it close to the vest until the opportunity presented itself.  I say opportunity because again as a hip-hop artist, and just growing up in the inner-city, your watch was your statement. Sure your shoes and clothes mattered, but I saw that we as black millennials have slim representation of us and what our culture looks like in the jewelry and watch sector of business. We spend upwards of $60 million a year alone in this field. So in knowing the figures, seeing an opportunity to be one of the faces to represent us, and develop a reputable brand that individuals of our culture and beyond can align their lifestyles with, became a priority.

 What is your favorite book?  Why? 

Great question, It recently became the art and science and respect by J. Prince. I am very honorable and morally driven being. Trust, honor, respect, loyalty, growth and knowledge are pillars for me. I’m always on a quest for growth because honestly I used to care about what people thought about me too much. But respect is never stagnant, its fluid. It moves where and how you move. You can have a high amount of notoriety, but if you don’t show respect, that karma will come back to you. That’s a culture that we keep at NCMPRBL. No one person, even me, is bigger than the brand. I thank y’all for having me. 

Ncmprbl.com 

IG: @bencmprbl

FB: NCMPRBL


SPHINX

Sankofa is the owner of this exquisite watch named “Sphinx”.  The black and gold is such a classic look, and definitely makes you feel like a King!  The watches of NCMPRBL ware designed with stainless steel, they are water resistant and made to advance your wrist with attention to detail and quality.

AMBER CHAKRA

Stacey is the owner of this beautiful bracelet named “Amber Chakra”.  This bracelet is double roped with the tigers eye stone (brown) and lava stone (black).  This bracelet was not chosen by Stacey for just aesthetic looks, both of these stones speak to Stacey for their healing properties.

Lava stone is a grounding stone that enhances creativity and communication, cleanses negativity and strengthens one connection to Mother Earth.  It provides understanding, guidance, courage, strength and stability through times of change. Lava stone is also a wonderful essential oil diffuser.  You can add a few drops of essential oil and enjoy the therapeutic benefits.

Tigers eye is also a grounding stone.  It is a stone of protection that brings personal empowerment, grace, integrity, courage and power.  The wearer also has the power to think clearly, focus the mind, uncloud emotions and think objectively.

We both love our purchases from this company and look forward to adding more pieces to our collection.  Go ahead and check out the NCMPRBL website and advance your wrist.

Why is it important to support black business?

Once upon a time, black people lived in communities filled with black businesses that were thriving.  Streets of the community were filled with black owned banks, dentists, doctors, lawyers, theatres, libraries, restaurants, grocery stores, luxury stores, clothing stores, retail stores, hotels and much more.  Two popular communities like this were located in Durham, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma. These communities are known to us a “Black Wall Street”. The Tulsa race riot of 1921 and desegregation is what lead to the destruction of these thriving communities of black owned businesses.  

To our knowledge, there is not currently anything physically like Black Wall Street today.  Even if we don’t physically create another community like the Black Wall Streets in Tulsa and Durham, we have the ability to help black owned businesses thrive and build generational wealth.  We need to work together to spread the awareness of black owned businesses, shred the idea that black businesses are inferior to others and intentionally work on buying black as much as possible.  We understand it can be hard to buy black all the time, but putting an effort to doing it as much as possible will help lead us in the right direction. If you haven’t seen Killer Mike’s series on Netflix called “Trigger Warning”, you should check it out.  He has an episode where he tries to go a week supporting black owned businesses only.

Maggie Anderson, author of “Our Black Year”, gave some interesting facts in her 2014 Grand Rapids TEDx Talk.  She explained that “a dollar circulates in Asian communities for up to 28 days, in Jewish communities for nearly 20 days, in white communities for 17 days and in Hispanic communities for 7 days. Yet in the Black community, a dollar circulates for only 6 hours”.  This is an astonishing fact when black buying power is over $1 trillion with estimates placing it close to $2 trillion in the 2020 decade.

So how can we circulate our dollars in our community longer?

  1. BLACK BUSINESS DIRECTORIES

We need to be able to find various types of business when we are in need of products and services.  Here in Texas, we have the Texas Black Pages. We believe that all states need a black business directory.

  1. MARKETPLACES

We need to provide locations that offer various types of products and services.  Here in Texas, there are several marketplaces that offer vending spaces to black owned business.

Black Texas Pop-up Markets – Houston, Texas on the 4th Saturday of the month

BLCK Market – Houston, Texas every 1st Friday and 2nd Saturday

Buy Black Marketplace – Houston, Texas every 1st and 3rd Saturday

Melanated Marketplace – Austin, Texas and done quarterly

  1. ONLINE MARKETPLACES

As we see many brick and mortar stores closing, we can definitely tell that shopping has been trending towards online.  Providing online marketplaces for black business to sell and showcase their products to a global marketplace is key!

Here are two global marketplaces that we digging!

The Kickback – a melanin powered streaming service that provides people the ability to share music, visual content, and purchase from black owned businesses.

WeBuyBlack – the largest marketplace for black owned business

4. BUY BLACK

If you can buy it from a black business, do it!  We need to invest in our communities and help each other grow.  We are all we got!


As always, we’d love to hear your comments and thoughts.  What else do you think we can do to help circulate the dollar in our communities more?

What does Universal Sankofa mean?

So…If you read our last blog post you should now know what “Sankofa” means.  If not, go back and read the previous blog post called “What is Sankofa”.

Now let’s get into the meaning of our business name “Universal Sankofa”.  Our business name and logo has multiple layers to it, some more complex than others.  

Layer 1 of the business name

Every element found in the human body is also found in stardust.  The building blocks of everything here on Earth can be found in star dust all across the universe.  The building blocks of humans, animals, plants, rocks, water, our food, even the electronic device you are reading this blog on.  It is not a far fetch to believe that we are part of something way bigger. So, when we say Universal Sankofa, it’s not just about going back to your African roots, it’s about going back to your Universal roots.  It is important to know that we are connected to the Universe and be in tune with the Universe as a whole, as one.

Layer 2 of the business name 

This one is pretty simple. It’s a combination of the nicknames of the owners.  As you know from reading the previous blog, Sankofa is not a birth name, it is a name that was adopted from a calling and connection to the principle of Sankofa.  

There are a group of friends and family who call Stacey “Uni”.  She was given this name by a friend who said she was very unique and had universal thoughts.  Uni is the Universal part of Universal Sankofa.

Essentially the business name also represents both of our names.

Layer 1 of the logo

As we know the Universe is infinite, we don’t know where it begins or where it ends.  Therefore, we chose to use the infinity symbol to represent the “Universal” part of the name.  The heart symbol is the adinkra symbol for Sankofa.

Layer 2 of the logo

The logo can also be interpreted as “Eternal Love”.  


So, there you have it.  Our business name and logo is not one dimensional.  It is something with meaning, thoughts and intentions behind it.

We hope this gives you a deeper understanding of who we are and what we stand for as a brand.

~Love is infinite

Staying Afloat During School Attacks

Greetings family!  We are back with a treat!  Baba Kentu of “Djedi Learning” has put together an informative video called “Staying Afloat During School Attacks”.  This video is great for anyone with loved ones who attend school. Some of the topics discussed by Baba Kentu include patterns of school shootings and how to protect yourself.

The other cool thing about this video is that Baba Kentu does an unboxing of one of our products.  If you have ever ordered multiple products from us, you know that the unboxing experience can be different based on what you order and how much you order.  This unboxing experience will show the experience of ordering a shirt from us.

So…Check out the video, follow the various social media sites and stay abreast of the wonderful information Baba Kentu has to share.  We would love to hear your thoughts as well! So come on back and tell us what you learned, or if you have any other questions, suggestions or comments.  

As you may or may not know, co-owner of Universal Sankofa, Stacey, is an educator.  So we will be back soon with a follow up blog about our thoughts about the video as well.  

Enjoy!

What is Sankofa?

SANKOFA

/san koh fah/

Before we go into the meaning of our business name, Universal Sankofa, we first want to break down the meaning of “Sankofa”.

So….what is Sankofa?  Sankofa is a word in the Twi language from the Akan tribe in Ghana.  Sankofa translates to “Go back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take).  Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind”.

Essentially, Sankofa means that you must know your past to know where you are going;  Let the past guide our future; every experience in life should leave you wiser.

Sankofa also has two visual portrayals (see below).  One is a stylized heart shape and the other is a bird with its head turned backwards with its feet facing forward while carrying a precious egg in its mouth.  These visual portrayals of Sankofa are referred to as Adinkra symbols. Adinkra symbols are visual symbols with philosophical and historical significance. There are at least 122 Adinkra symbols originating from the Asantes of Ghana.  These adinkra symbols were originally printed on cloth for Asante royals to wear to important ceremonies. Today, the symbols have global importance and are found on fences, furniture, clothing, sculptures, home goods and much more!

There is also a great movie called “Sankofa”.  We both saw this movie and it was life changing and moving for us.  This was one of the first movies that gave us the drive to recognize, respect and return to our ancestral roots spiritually, physically and mentally.  It was also one of the main motivating factors that influenced Sankofa, co-owner of Universal Sankofa, to adopt the name “Sankofa”. Although we have not made the journey to the motherland, it is on our list and we are working on manifesting that journey.    

Sankofa the movie was made in 1993 and is a captivating historical account of the Maafa, the African Holocaust.  It gives a good look at the loss of African consciousness, loss of identity and the connections between the people of African descent across the world.  If you haven’t seen this movie, please take the time to do some research on how you can view or purchase it (see movie cover below).

In our next blog post, we will discuss the meaning of our business name, Universal Sankofa.

So…how do you see the principle of Sankofa being important to our people?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Universal Sankofa Blog

Hey world!  It’s the Universal Sankofa husband and wife team, Sankofa & Stacey.  This is going to be our first real attempt at blogging. Way back around 2012, Stacey attempted to blog about vegan cooking and gardening.  I think she attempted maybe 6 posts at the most and let if fall to the wayside. We are back, and we are here to share our experiences of being black, married, and in business together!  We hope you enjoy this journey with us! We will be sprinkling content around all of the platforms we are on (Facebook Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and here)!

Why Blogging?

“If you learn, teach. If you get, give.”

Maya Angelou

We have decided to blog to share our experiences and the things we have learned over the years.  We love the quote by Maya Angelou that says, “If you learn, teach. If you get, give.” This blog will be our way of giving back and teaching others.  We are both world learners, we love learning and believe in a holistic approach to learning. We are open minded to all walks of life and spiritual understanding.  We love to take what speaks to us most and live our lives accordingly. On this blog you will see discussions about current events, topics and issues in the black community, discussions about marriage, discussions about running a black owned business, our experiences and love for supporting other black owned businesses, and much more!

How often?

We are not going to commit to a set schedule with posting new blogs.  We both have full time jobs, have hobbies to keep us in shape and well, and running our business.  We promise not to keep you all waiting too long. We have plans on posting content for the blog several times a month, just not on a set schedule.

Who should read?

We are writing and speaking to our brothers and sisters of the African diaspora.  Living in America and being black is not easy. We are here to discuss the ways we navigate through this jungle and keep ourselves healthy and well, while supporting and uplifting others who are in this struggle with us.

What now?

We encourage you to be involved as little or as much as you feel comfortable with.  Comment on our posts! We would love to engage with you. We are open and encourage comments that both agree and disagree with our point of views.  This is a place for open and healthy discussion. Feel free to email us if you have any questions, suggestions, complaints or want to be featured on our blog. 

We are excited about this new journey and look forward to sharing our stories with you!    Make sure to subscribe to the blog so you can get updates when new posts are made!

Love is infinite…

~Universal Sankofa