Gift Guide: Home Decor From Black-Owned Brands

Small but mighty accents to enrich your space

The History of the Firehouse Pole

During the 19th century, firefighters in the United States had two ways to make their way from their beds to their horse and buggy: “spiral staircase—installed to keep wayward horses from wandering upstairs—or through a tube chute.” That was until the ingenious David Kenyon installed a pole at Chicago’s all-Black firefighter Company 21 firehouse. Kenyon had seen a colleague use a “wooden pole normally used …

Raw Recycled Plastic Denim Trucker Jacket

$300

Cut and sewn in NYC, this NICOLE ZÏZI STUDIO jacket resembles the classic boxy denim trucker, but is crafted from 19% recycled PET and 81% cotton. Bright blue buttons also add contemporary flair. Each jacket is made to order by employees who are paid a fair wage to work in safe spaces. It’s available from XS to XXL and intended for wear by all genders.

Buy

Link About It

Stories from around the web that we think you should read

Don’t Back Down! Art Initiative

With 100% of their proceeds directed to Inner-City Arts, The Okra Project and Equal Justice Initiative, the new artistic initiative Don’t Back Down! sells limited edition prints by emerging and beloved artists including Jamel Shabazz and Brad Elterman. Customers will find well-known images (like some of  David Corrio’s work) and those they’ve never seen before; everything is imbued with beauty, charm and value. Each artwork …

NYC’s Community Fridges

An untitled collective of individuals from across NYC are maintaining a network of “community fridges”—essentially shared food banks that provide groceries to those facing food insecurity while also reducing waste. Neighbors drop off extra groceries, pizza shops contribute unused dough, florists offer leftover buds, and some local chefs (like Harlem’s Melba Wilson, for example) are even making dishes specifically for these fridges. Founder Thadeaus Umpster …

This “Smart Mask” Can Translate Japanese Into Eight Languages

Japanese start-up Donut Robotics has elevated the face mask category by creating a “smart” version capable of translating and transmitting messages from Japanese into eight other languages. The “c-mask” (made from plastic and worn over a regular cloth mask) connects to an app on your phone or tablet “that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.” While the …

Zephyr’s Double-Decker Airplane Seats Let Passengers Lie Flat

Named the Zephyr Seat, US-based start-up Zephyr Aerospace’s new patent-pending design lets customers in economy class lie flat, courtesy of a double-decker bunk that saves space and creates more formal dividers between travelers. Telescopic stairs provide access to the top level, which sits in line with the seat below. The layout results in both passengers being able to find multiple sitting and sleeping options—all without …

Interview: Travel Content Creator, Activist + Resource Jeff Jenkins

A launch member of the Black Travel Alliance and founder of Chubby Diaries, tells us about inclusion on flights and in faraway destinations

Buy Guide

The latest additions to our shoppable directory

Artist Togs Apron

$72

Available in 11 different colorways, these 100% cotton denim aprons from Big Bud Press are designed, sewn and dyed in Los Angeles. The inclusion of 42-inch straps and an adjustable neck strap allow each to fit people of all sizes. With big pockets for paintbrushes, markers, tools or even cooking utensils, the utilitarian design promises to be both practical and durable.

Buy

Marble Body Brush

$88

Gilded’s patented handmade marble brush (available in black or white) features natural fiber bristles intended for dry brushing your skin. Dry brushing removes dead cells, enhances blood flow and smoothes skin effectively. This elegant brush should be used once or twice weekly to help with radiance and suppleness. Gilded founder Blair Armstrong started the company in order to provide products for the body that are just …

Buy

Pebble Incense Holder

$29

Maison Balzac’s “Le Galet,” aka the Pebble incense holder, straddles playful and sophisticated design. Now available in white, the minimal vessel is also made in pink, amber and black, and holds one standard stick at a time. Crafted from 100% borosilicate glass, the appealing organic shape complements all styles of decor.

Buy

Refillable All-Surface Cleaner

$20

Veles’ all-surface cleaner uses food waste-derived water as its base. Dubbed “resource negative,” this cleaner also employs an alcohol—a naturally occurring ethanol formed from fermentation. Its other ingredients also adhere to the brand’s eco-friendly mission, and ultimately reduce the footprint of its user. Safe for ceramics, glass, fiberglass, chrome, painted metal, stainless steel, plastic and acrylic, the cleaner should be patch-tested for marble, wood and …

Buy

Steve Arrington: Keep Dreamin’

Following the release of the blissful “The Joys of Love” in May, funk legend Steve Arrington announces his first album in 11 years and debuts “Keep Dreamin’,” a positive tune with glamorous accents. The album, Down to the Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions (due 18 September via Stones Throw Records) took at least 10 years to make, according to Arrington, who says, “No matter what, no …

Haich Ber Na: By Floras

London-based recording artist Haich Ber Na explores a new sonic realm on “By Floras.” Glitchy and intergalactic yet delicate, the track mixes elements from Ber Na’s 2019 EP, Everywhere’s Home, but proves much more pop-oriented. The song incorporates many of the celestial elements he’d teased with previous releases, while lyrically he addresses an ever-growing distance between himself and a friend.

Lute: Life

Dreamville Records rapper Lute’s “Life” is the second single from his forthcoming album, which is set to release later this year. The song addresses Black Lives Matter protests, scenes from his hometown of Charlotte (where a mass shooting killed three and injured dozens) and the death of his cousin, who was shot the month prior. There’s little superfluity on “Life” and Lute (aka Luther Nicholson) …

Tunde Adebimpe: ReelFeel

Part synth-pop dance jam, part protest song, and altogether undeniably from TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, “ReelFeel” rides on the singer’s enchanting falsetto. Chrome Sparks produced the Bandcamp-exclusive single and the platform waived its fees on 3 July so that a portion of the proceeds could go to the Audre Lorde Project, a non-profit for lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two-Spirit, trans and gender non-conforming People …

Word of Mouth: Provincetown, Massachusetts

Reliable spots from Cape Cod's historic queer oasis

Tei Shi: Goodbye

Lush and spacey, “Goodbye” by Tei Shi (aka Valerie Teicher) appears on the singer/songwriter/producer’s EP Die 4 Ur Love—following last year’s La Linda. It’s mellow and graceful, while remaining a tenacious break-up song with no-nonsense lyrics like “Thought I’d let you know you’re so boring / Also I’m sick of your shit.” Moreover, it’s an ode to finding freedom and self-worth and Teicher’s vocals float …

Eddie Chacon: My Mind is Out Of Its Mind

From his upcoming album, Pleasure, Joy and Happiness, Eddie Chacon’s “My Mind is Out Of Its Mind” feels at once nostalgic and current—with a hint of ’80s smooth soul/jazz/pop, coupled with contemporary flourishes. The meditative, self-reflective song—produced by the brilliant John Carroll Kirby—proves Chacon’s immense songwriting ability. The music industry veteran started his first band when he was 12 years old, and was half of the …

Imports

A recent story in the New York Times points out that the hottest gadgets originate in Japan and take many months to make it over to the States, if at all. Duh. The most useful parts of this article, however, are the links to www.dynamism.com and www.japan-direct.com. Both sites specialize in distributing the latest and greatest from Japan.

More cool T-Shirts…

Pin Stripe Track Suit

From today’s DailyCandy: Today Puma unveils its pin-striped tracksuit. Supply is limited: only 345 worldwide. Priced to move, as they say on the trading floor. Made from traditional wool-suit fabric, each comes with standard pant details (satin lining, pin tucks down the leg, button closure on the back pocket). The blousy zip-up jacket, however, may have a cute little watch pocket but is far from …