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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Hakim Hopkins wants to be clear: His place will always be a bookstore.
Black and Nobel, Hopkins’ shop at Broad and Erie, is weathering industry shifts. Brick-and-mortar black bookstores have become rarities, hit hard by online shopping and e-books. The African American Literature Book Club maintains a directory of black-owned bookstores, by state. Out of the three establishments listed for Pennsylvania, only two remain open: Hakim’s Bookstore and Gift Shop in West Philly, the oldest African American bookstore in the country, and Black and Nobel.
Hakim’s (Hopkins was named after its founder) is open part-time, four days a week. Black and Nobel — the second part of the name, commonly pronounced “Noble,” is really meant to sound like the estimable prize — is open seven days a week. However, books aren’t the only thing sold there.
Inside the store, shoppers can pick up DVDs, wooden sculptures, flags from countries throughout the Black Diaspora, clothing, smoothies and shea butter. The latter two are huge sellers; Black and Nobel manufactures its own sea moss drinks and products with plants imported from Caribbean islands like St. Lucia and Belize.
“Health and wellness keeps us open,” said Hopkins, “but the books are a foundation — everybody knows us as ‘the bookstore.’”
Both are products not readily available anywhere else nearby. “You don’t see that in the hood,” he explained. He offered, for comparison’s sake, the idea of a sushi spot opening on the corridor. “If someone came to Erie Avenue and opened a sushi restaurant, the line would go all the way to the bus stop.
“Because we’re a bookstore, it’s a big deal for people,” he said. “I’ll always sell books, whether it’s slow or fast.”
In an article for Black Perspectives, the blog for the African American Intellectual History Society, University of Baltimore history professor Joshua Clark Davis evaluated the black bookstore as not simply a book retailer, but as a locus for Black Power.
“African American booksellers were much more than small business owners,” Clark wrote. “In the late 1960s and 1970s, a successful black bookstore could bring together the campaigns for black politics, black arts, black studies, black community control, and black economic empowerment into the space of a single business. In so doing, these activist entrepreneurs realized Black Power’s goals for self-determination, and they helped to redefine what black businesses could and should be.”
Hopkins would concur with this argument, but he also thinks the digital age and political climate are changing the customer base. He pointed out that he doesn’t always know what color his online shoppers are. He set up a table at the Women’s March in DC, where he sold health products and tees.
“I sold out of everything, and it wasn’t too many of us there, as far as black people,” he said. “People were buying black culture that weren’t black… I think we’re living in a different time. People are coming together more now than ever.”
Before you enter the bookstore, vendors greet you outside.
Hopkins says online business is key. The store also maintains an active YouTube presence, where it has nearly 40,000 subscribers.
Hopkins stocks books from mostly independent authors and publishers. He felt inspired to go into the business after voracious reading pulled him through a dark period in his life. He doesn’t like to get into what had happened back then: “I try not to go too deep into negativity.” After participating in a six-week career development program at Temple in 2004, he started vending books downtown and built up the business until he eventually opened a storefront in 2007.
Before books, Hopkins wasn’t a stranger to vending. He had sold oils, tees and the like. “We come from that hustle mentality,” he explained. “Me and my team, we’ll be setting up at 9:30 to sell hot soup and products at the Gucci Mane show.”
Hopkins said he wasn’t unnerved by industry trends. “I’m not bitter at all. I helped develop a lot of talent and artists,” he said. “I can’t be scared, I have to be sturdy.”
He said the store’s evolution has been a natural one: “You don’t need to have a book everyday, but you do need to wash your body everyday, hopefully two or three times a day.”
Inside, it’s not unusual to hear Hopkins having long discussions with customers. The bookstore as a place to hang out and politic — Hopkins loves that. “It’s kind of dying breed, but we’re holding on to it,” he said. “So people can feel human and not nano, not technology. That’s where the world is going. That’s where the world is. We do a mix of both.”
The web domain WeShipToPrisons.com redirects to Black and Nobel’s website. The store, thanks in part to its eye-grabbing signage, has become known for this service. In October 2015, Hopkins told Philly Voice that he was shipping 50 packages to prisons daily. He couldn’t put his finger on a figure when we checked with him. “Every week it varies,” he said.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
Brand Like A Boss
This episode on REVIVE is entitled “Brand like a Boss” we will discuss how to monetize your social media, different ways to market yourself and your business, and more!
Ashley Williams: Ashebrand is the result of when business and design combine forces to become one. Ashely and Brandon two siblings have been working hard to become a figure in their communities and attain their dreams in the jobs they work in. Ashely has been in the communications field for a long time, getting her degree in communications and her previous experience working in various radio stations, it only made sense for her to push towards a career in PR,Branding and Marketing . Ashely has a vision to turn Philadelphia into a huge market of entrepreneurs that she will lead. Likewise, Brandon has been dealing in graphic design since high school and has a wealth of experience working with small businesses. The two eventually formed a team together in order to help small businesses get off the ground as soon as possible with the help from a growing business who understands your troubles and decisions that must be made in order to reach the level of success you want to reach.
Nadiyah Young: Nadiyah Young is the founder and CEO of Forever Young Scholars (FYS). Forever Young Scholars is a youth development organization focusing on empowering, engaging, and providing our youth with meaningful mentorship, quality education, and resources needed to succeed.
D’Narius Lewis: D’Narius Lewis is a motivational speaker, speaking coach and author, real estate investor. D’Narius’ straight-from-the-heart, high-energy, passionate message motivates and engages all audiences to step into their greatness, providing them with the motivation to take the next step toward living their dream. D’Narius Lewis rose from homelessness to social media influencer; from community activist to community leader. D’Narius is also the author of two successful books, “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” and “The Criminals Of A Personality”.
YOU CAN CATCH REVIVE EVERY SUNDAY 11 AM-1 PM & EVERY WEDNESDAY 8 PM-10 PM!!!
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832 & follow on Twitter and Facebook @REVIVE_POC !
WE NEED YOU ALL TO BE APART OF THE CONVERSATION!!Post Views: 158
By Elliot Booker — 1 year ago
In my Freedom’s Journal columns on February 24 and March 3 here in The Philadelphia Tribune, I exposed the lies about President George Washington’s supposed wooden teeth and Thomas Jefferson’s supposed innocently romantic love affair with Sally Hemings.
Washington’s teeth were actually yanked from the mouths of our enslaved ancestors and Jefferson actually raped Sally repeatedly while she was just a child.
In response to both columns, white racists went certifiably crazy (I mean crazier) and denied and yelled and screamed and hollered and insulted. They also trolled on social media. Unfortunately for them, they’re gonna need a straight-jacket after reading this.
This week’s topic is about the twelve United States presidents who enslaved Black men, women, boys, and girls. And before you crazy racists start talking nonsense about those so-called “great” patriots simply being “men of their times,” you need to know that the anti-slavery movement amongst good white folks began in the 1730s and spread throughout the Thirteen Colonies as a result of the abolitionist activities during the First Great Awakening, which was early America’s Christian revival movement. Furthermore, the anti-slavery gospel of the Second Great Awakening was all over the nation from around 1790 through the 1850s.
America is and always has been a Christian country, right? Therefore, if the Christian revivalists weren’t men (and women) of that slaveholding time, why weren’t those twelve presidents who led this Christian country?
Beyond the religious abolitionist movement, the secular abolitionist movement was in full effect in the 1830s, thanks to the likes of the great newspaper publisher William Lloyd Garrison. Presidents knew how to read, right?
By the way, John Adams, the second president (from 1797-1801) and his son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president (from 1825-1829), never enslaved anybody. And they certainly were men of their times. Maybe they knew slavery was, is, and forever will be evil and inhumane.
Here are the evil and inhumane 12 slaveholding presidents listed from bad to worse to worst:
12. Martin Van Buren, the eighth president, enslaved 1 but not during his presidency. By the way, that 1 escaped.
11. Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president, enslaved 5 but not during his presidency. In office from 1869-1877, he was the last slaveholding president.
10. Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth president, enslaved 8 but not during his presidency. However, when he was Military Governor of Tennessee, he persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to remove that state from those subject to “Honest Abe’s” Emancipation Proclamation.
9. William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, enslaved 11 but not during his presidency. However, as Governor of the Indiana Territory, he petitioned Congress to make slavery legal there. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful.
8. James K. Polk, the eleventh president, enslaved 25 and held many of them during his presidency. He also stole much of Mexico from the Mexicans during the 1846-1848 war in which those Brown people were robbed of California and almost all of today’s Southwest.
7. John Tyler, the tenth president, enslaved 70 and held many of them during his presidency. He was a states’ rights bigot and a jingoist flag-waver who robbed Mexico of Texas in 1845.
6. James Monroe, the fifth president, enslaved 75 and held many of them during his presidency. He hated Blacks so much that he wanted them sent back to Africa. That’s why he supported the racist American Colonization Society, robbed West Africans of a large piece of coastal land in 1821, and created a colony that later became Liberia. The Liberian state of Monrovia is named after that racist thug.
5. James Madison, the fourth president, enslaved approximately 100-125 and did so during his presidency. He’s the very same guy who proposed the Constitution’s Three-Fifths Clause.
4. Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president, enslaved approximately 150 and held many of them during his presidency. During his run for president in 1849, he campaigned on and bragged about his wholesale slaughter of Brown people when he was a Major General in the Mexican-American War. And white folks in America elected him.
3. Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, enslaved 150-200 and held many of them during his presidency. By the way, Jackson, nicknamed “Indian Killer”- whom fake President Donald Trump describes as his all-time favorite- wasn’t just a brutal slaveholder. He was also a genocidal monster who was responsible for the slaughter of approximately 30,000-50,000 Red men, women, and children. Moreover, he signed the horrific Indian Removal Act of 1830 that robbed the indigenous people of 25 million acres of fertile land and doomed them and their descendants to reservation ghettos.
2. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, enslaved 267 and held many of them during his presidency. For more info about this child rapist, read my March 3 column
1. George Washington, the first president, enslaved 316 and held many of them during his presidency. For more info about the man whose teeth were “yanked from the heads of his slaves,” read my February 24 column.Post Views: 313