‘The Real Black Friday’ set to help Cleveland’s Black owned businesses take on the NBA All-Star weekend
CLEVELAND — The responsibility of life’s purpose can sometimes weigh heavy. Yet for LaRese Purnell, his purpose, which is rooted in his community, seems to have never wavered.
“I started to help to bring awareness to Black-owned businesses…along with that is helping them to create access to tables that sometimes typically Black-owned businesses were not at,” he said.
His purpose came to light seven years ago, which he says, “spiritually that means a year of completion.” It was then, he created “The Real Black Friday.”
“Black Friday was one of the most hashtagged words when it came to retail and people spending money so I just put a spin on it and said we’re going to call it the ‘Real Black Friday,” Purnell explained.
The event is meant to empower minority entrepreneurs like Daisun Lee Santana, who is the coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers Scream dance team and of the Citybreaks barbershop in Tower City.
“I’m also a professional breakdancer that’s why it’s called Citybreaks,” Santana explained.
Santana, a proud Cleveland Latina, says the success of his shop wouldn’t have been possible without overwhelming support.
“What helped me get to where I’m at is my roots in the community,” he said. “They need to shine a light on minority owners…we need resources to succeed but once we have that everyone has their grind everyone has that uniqueness to really become successful.”
Myia Ellington agrees. The Cleveland native owns the newly built children’s school, the Learning Experience, in Westlake.
“My whole life has been a learning experience,” she said. “I came from the projects here…my plate was just really figuring it out on my own.”
Ellington’s school focuses on early education, which has been a dream of hers for as long as she can remember.
“I wanted to start a school that specialized in foreign languages,” she explained. “I could’ve went anywhere in the world but I chose to come back here and really just expand and grow my community.”