Home » From soap in bathroom to dress code: The Fifteen Percent Pledge Gala champions Black brands and Black designers

From soap in bathroom to dress code: The Fifteen Percent Pledge Gala champions Black brands and Black designers

by The Grio

Just 24 hours before music’s biggest night, Black fashion and Black brands had their own major evening. The Fifteen Percent Pledge, from the mind of Brother Versailles Creative Director Aurora James, hosted its second annual gala.

From the food and wine to the Buttah body hand soap and lotion in the bathrooms and even the Black designer dress code, guests championed, celebrated and awarded Black brands, according to a post-event release. 

During the evening, which included star-studded attendees and Bethann Hardison (Pioneer Award) rousing acceptance speech, nearly $300,000 in grants went to Black founders. 

William Jones and Ericka Chambers, the sibling founders of Puzzles of Color, received a $20,000 grant. Designer Sergio Hudson received $35,000. Christina Funke Tegbe of 54 Thrones skincare, won the very first Achievement Award, a staggering $200,000 from Shop with Google. 

While accepting her prize, Tegbe reportedly took the crowd to church, asking attendees to turn to their neighbor and repeat after her, “I am because we are.”  

Also during the evening, guests could vote to select an additional founder to receive a prize of $20,000. Saturday’s crowd voted for Desiree Verdejo of Hyper Skin. As a surprise, Brandon Blackwood awarded the second runner-up, Busayo Olupono’s fashion brand Busayo, an additional $20,000.  

The Fifteen Percent Pledge has come a long way since its inception as a James Instagram post that went viral in 2020. 

“In a little over two years together, the brands and retailers that have taken The Fifteen Percent pledge have created over $12 billion in pipeline opportunities for Black-owned businesses,” Emma Grede, co-founder and CEO of Good American and founding partner of Skims, reportedly said during her welcoming remarks.

James launched the nonprofit with the intention of getting the commerce world to pledge to embrace and bolster Black…

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