Black Expo ‘93 supports entrepreneurs

By Ayana Nickerson

The Center for Black Studies hosted its second annual Black Expo in an effort to support black businesses and organizations.

Black business owners came to the Duke Ellington Ballroom Sunday and Monday in order to display merchandise from places as far away as Acworth, Ga.

Patrons were able to browse through a wide variety of products that ranged from gospel music to authentic African artifacts.

Adeeba Enterprises, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of the many vendors at the expo. At this table, patrons were able to purchase black dolls imported from Senegal, Africa and handmade Afro-centric jewelry.

Janice Gambel, owner of Adeeba Enterprises, said, “This expo shows that God is really with us. It makes you feel good to see your people growing in this society. I hope this inspires more black people to open up businesses or at least support the ones that are out here.”

The African Student Union had a booth at the expo that contained authentic artifacts from Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria and Mali.

Visitors had the opportunity to investigate a large selection of black books that ranged from literary classics to children’s books.

Byron Johnson, owner of Black Titles Bookstore in Aurora said, “I came here for the advertising. I like to bring a large selection of books with me so people will know that we do have a wide variety to choose from.”

One booth displayed unique African clothing, custom designed by Emmanuel Walker of African Fashions by Emmanuel, located in Columbus, Ohio.

Fine Arts By Todd II, located in Acworth, Ga., had a table displaying contemporay black art.

Brill Barrett, an NIU business student, displayed his custom designed leather beeper cases in a booth at the expo.

In addition, NIU student Mario Ramos showed off his hand-made and painted African statues.

“It all started out as a hobby,” Ramos said. “This is actually the first time we have brought our talent to the public.”

Many vendors took part in their first Black Expo at NIU. Most were very pleased with the setup of the expo, however there was concern regarding the number of patrons in attendance.

Black Expo ’93 was sponsored by the Center for Black Studies, the NIU Black Choir, the Black Student Union, the Organization of Black Business Students, Cooperative Education and the Student Association Minority Relations Committee.