Written by Mike Powell
Black Wall Street is a term originally used to describe the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the most successful and wealthiest African American communities in the United States during the early 20th century. It was destroyed by terrorist acts of white residents leading to the Tulsa race riot of 1921. Recently Black Wall Street USA and other groups have adopted the term as a means of promoting economic empowerment.
The area of Indian School road and 15th Avenue may not fully qualify as Black Wall Street, but the existence of six black owned businesses in close proximity bears recognition. Those businesses include, Natural Chicks Salon, Exclusive Barber Shop, Tim’s Convenience Store, Blasted Tattoo and Art Lounge, and T shop. We will focus the one of the newest arrival to the area, Authentic Essence.
Authentic Essence offers a variety of products and services consisting of essential oils in uncut concentrations, natural soap, incense, original women’s fashions, and jewelry. A unique element of the shop is the Braid, Lock, and Twist Bar where those who braid, twist, and lock hair can rent space as needed and meet their client’s in a professional environment. This business paradigm is the idea of owner Tina Eaves who is already a successful small business owner. She has owned and operated Alterations and Creations, which is currently located at 3rd Avenue and Roosevelt, for 25 years. Eaves stated, “I wanted to give women who could not afford to open their own salon a place to apply their skill in a clean comfortable atmosphere free from the distractions of using their home.”
In the spirit of Black Wall Street, this concept allows small business to give micro businesses the opportunity to grow and develop. Eaves added, “It can be difficult for African Americans to obtain leases in retail space and even harder to [get] business loans, until they have been established. At Authentic Essence they can grow their business and clientele without facing the “red tape.” Taking the concept a step further, Eaves plans to allow artist and or photographers to display their works in her store on a consignment basics.
Authentic Essence will host its Customer Appreciation Opening on Friday October 30, 5:00 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to tour the facilities and while they last receive a free gift bag. While in the vicinity you can also visit the other businesses on the bourgeoning Black Wall Street.