By Brea Mitchell, Staff Writer
The Black & Brown Entrepreneurs (BBE) Open Air Market is a community space on Saturday afternoons for shopping, music, and food. Black and brown entrepreneurs showcase their businesses and talents, and community members have the opportunity to support them. Art, jewelry, clothing, food, and more– it can all be found in the parking lot of Inglewood’s Century Community Charter School. And it all began with Founder DaVenar Johnson and Creative Partner Kayla Salisbury- both are teachers at the school.
Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic changed every aspect of the world as we knew it, sixth-grade math teacher, DaVenar Johnson, and eighth-grade art teacher, Kayla Salisbury, began to tend to their side projects.
Johnson had been operating her online boutique, but by November 2020, she started to game plan on how to sell her accessories in person, and how to also include other Black and brown business owners throughout the community while doing so.
“I asked my principal if I could use this space, and I was originally thinking, ‘Oh, we could try to have, like, ten vendors– a few people that we know.’ And it ended up being, like, thirty,” Johnson recalls.
By February of 2021, attendees were asking Johnson and Salisbury when the next BBE Open Air Market would be. So far there’s been a total of three, with more to come.
Even as we begin to re-enter a sense of normal life as pandemic restrictions continue to ease, the Black & Brown Entrepreneurs Open Air Market still plans to be a reoccurring event. The Inglewood community can consider this one of the good things born during a turbulent year.