For a long time, I've always wanted to have my own business. My friends and family know that I've been talking about a clothing company for a very long time. Well, now it is here and I couldn't be happier.
I went through several names and settled on Kandake & Barca because I wanted something that would sound unique and would naturally make people wonder what it meant. I needed a name that had historical value with a modern impulse. A name that I knew no one else would have.
The name references two historical African figures who resisted an equal, and in some cases, greater power than their own. A man and a woman, Kandake (or Queen) Amanirenas and Hannibal Barca of Meroitic Kush and Carthage respectively. It's a testament to not only what we are capable of, but how even when the odds are stacked against you - you can overcome them.
I've been hearing about the need to build black businesses over the past few years and I want Kandake & Barca to be representative of that discussion.
So I got some people together, we set up a photo shoot and got people in the community involved to help my dream become reality. If you are living a life that you aren't happy with and you're in a place you'd rather not be, it makes no sense to continue doing the same thing. I understand people have choices to make, and I made mine when I started this wonderful company.
So what types of items do we have to offer and what might you be able to expect in the future? Well for starters we have a range of thought-provoking and powerful designs on shirts and hats that speak to issues we currently face in the black community as well as nods to the past.
This shirt is a crop top, but we have a longer version that fits just as well as this one would on you (we also have a version for men). The shirt calls for a defunding of the prison-industrial complex, a divestment from all of the elements by which mass incarceration is perpetuated for the ultimate goal of abolishing what has become a new form of slavery. Of course, we couldn't write all of that on a shirt, so we had to word it in a way to get that point across.
The destruction of Black Wall Street should be mandatory learning for all black people, especially those who are the youngest among us. The struggle of Black Wall Street, much like the stories of Hannibal and Kandake Amanirenas, is a story about overcoming incredible odds that have been stacked against you. Ultimately, it was burned to the ground because it represented economic progress for the black community and some folks didn't like that. False accusations were thrown around, and a violent lynch mob was formed around a lot of lies and plain old hatred. Over the course of one day, what was once one of the most prosperous districts for black Americans pre-Civil Rights was no more. Learn the story and make sure you never forget it either.
Another popular shirt has been the Kandake & Barca nerd t-shirt since everything doesn't have to go hard. Some messages should be subtle and not as obvious. This is a nice shirt that appeals to a growing group of black nerds out there but would look just as well on non-Blacks as well. Variation is key, so that's what I wanted to go for when thinking of designs to use.
These are just SOME of our designs at Kandake & Barca. We will also be selling basic necessity items such as socks and under garments. I will be adding a lot of accessories to the store as well so that you can buy items that will go with the shirts we have.
This isn't including the black art niche that we want to dip our toes into, but you have to start somewhere and I wanted to get the company off the ground first and maybe down the line expand into that niche.