One of my favorite stores in Washington, D.C., is Nubian Hueman, located in the Anacostia Arts Center, a multi-use arts space in the Anacostia neighborhood of the city. Nubian Hueman is a retail space that exemplifies Black excellence; the stores—there are currently two retail locations, the D.C. location and another in Baltimore—are filled with items curated from Black artists, vendors, and entrepreneurs from around the United States of America, as well as countries in Africa. I’ve personally outfitted my closet with items from the store.

That execution of Black excellence is the vision of the store’s creator, owner and lead curator, Anika Hobbs. Anika took her degree from Syracuse University and subsequent years of professional experience with one of the nation’s leading-retail fashion brands and turned into a finely crafted cultural space in the heart of D.C.’s Black community.

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We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Anika (well, we Zoom’d it) about how she came up with the idea of her store, how she fills the shelves—something I was personally very interested in learning; the variety of items is truly impressive—and what the growth of her business has been like. And considering that she’s a Black small business owner that caters specifically too and for the Black community, I was especially curious what that looks like right now. Buying Black seems to be more popular than ever so I was curious if she’s noticed that as a retailer that specializes in Blackness. As a consumer, it was interesting to hear a professional in the space point out how consciously the customers and consumers approach the lifestyle of living and buying Black. That was both uplifting and inspiring to me. As a person who does try to live as much of a Black life as possible, that affirmation gave me hope for our community.

So check out the video and discussion about Nubian Hueman and its owner, Anika Hobbs, and catch some gems about being a Black small-business owner and entrepreneur who has successfully figured out a way to actively be a part of the culture while creating a space that helps amplify and uplift other Black businesses. That’s how we mind our Black business.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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