Brown Girl Jane, a CBD-based beauty and wellness brand, set out to do something radical: Create space for Black women in cannabis, and stake their rightful claim in an industry that has long over-criminalised its use in Black and brown communities. But for co-founders Malaika Jones Kebede, Nia Jones, and Tai Beauchamp, that was just the start.
As the world faced a reckoning with systemic racism this year under the Black Lives Matter movement, the brand announced the "Brown Girl Swap," an initiative that asked consumers to commit to replacing at least five of their go-to products with brands owned by Black women. Shortly after, Brown Girl Jane partnered with Shea Moisture to expand their initiative and work together to host a free virtual summit that will serve as a business boot camp and networking space for aspiring entrepreneurs. And this week, a major superstar signed on to speak at the much-anticipated event.
Halle Berry — yes, the Halle Berry — is joining Brown Girl Jane's first-ever #BrownGirlSwap Black Beauty and Wellness Summit as the event's headliner. “We are supporting the next generation of beauty and wellness leaders and they are Black women," Berry announced in the press release.
The award-winning actress, director, and brand founder will be speaking alongside an impressive group of women, including singer-songwriter Jill Scott, The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler, and Unilever COO Esi Eggleston Bracey. The two-day virtual event will be open to anyone online and is taking place on 25th and 26th September. As if it wasn't already intriguing enough, attendance is free, and all registrants will receive a post-event 20% discount code for their next Brown Girl Jane purchase.
Brown Girl Jane's co-founders hope the event provides resources and education to Black female entrepreneurs, who currently receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. "Access to expertise and community have long been out of reach for most Black-owned businesses," Kebede wrote in a press statement. "We created a new type of conference, targeting areas that have traditionally impaired Black businesses, removing roadblocks to enable countless female entrepreneurs for generations to come." Jones adds, "Black Americans spent over $1 Trillion in 2019, and we will no longer be bystanders. This summit is the support these entrepreneurs need and is leading this massive industry shift."
As for Berry's participation in the summit, the actress and Re-Spin co-founder will be offering insights based on her own entrepreneurial projects — and discussing the roadblocks and naysayers even she faced in developing her own brand. "I've always dared to think for myself, march to the beat of my own drum," Berry says in an exclusive clip of the conversation, which the brand shared with Refinery29. "Over the years, people have always said, 'Oh, she's going the wrong way.' But I've always known that I'm just going my own way. Many times, I've been paving a way that hadn't been paved for me before. That's what a pioneer is."
To hear more from Berry and all the other panelists at BROWN GIRL Jane's #BrownGirlSwap Black Beauty & Wellness Summit, powered by SheaMoisture with sponsorship from BET, register here.