It’s Black History Month, a time to look back on the achievements and the history of people from the black community. Here in the U.K., some of our top musicians are making waves through business ventures in music or even other industries. We’re going to focus on some of the most notable ones and the impact they’ve had.
#Merky Books (Stormzy)
In collaboration with Penguin, Stormzy launched this imprint to allow writers to tell their stories from all walks of life. Since its formation in 2018, they have given a place to publish for many new young writers including Jade LB’s ‘Keisha the S**t‘ and Hafsa Zayyan’s ‘We Are All Birds of Uganda.’ Even big names like Malorie Blackman and Derek Owusu have been part of this award-winning imprint, showing its credibility. The New Writers Prize gives people like Zayyan a platform to put their material out there and show why this imprint is so important. Stormzy has shown once again he’s all about giving back, as he did with his Scholarship for Black Students at Cambridge.
Crep Protect (J2K)
Working in tandem with Imran, Nohman, and Rizwan Ahmed, J2K helped take Crep Protect to the place it is today. The brand founded in 2012, is now the go-to for keeping your shoes fresh and clean. While he’s left the co-director role and is now just a major shareholder, the brand continues to be a roaring success working with everyone from JD to DJ Khaled. With the company exporting to 52 countries, Crep Protect has certainly been a profitable venture for J2K and kept many a shoe clean.
nala’s baby (Krept)
Created following the birth of his son, in collaboration with Sasha Ellese, the product is not usual for a rapper. The brand is a natural and vegan skincare range for babies, that includes butter, lotion, and shampoo. The product while relatively new has already sold very well at Boots and is available in most of their stores. Krept and Sasha have not only made a profitable business, but also one that will be of key importance to many new parents.
Boy Better Know (JME)
Boy Better Know is one of the most well-known collectives in the U.K. Rap scene and is owned and run by JME. The label has been responsible for the iconic ‘Too Many Men‘ and some of the best U.K. projects of the 2010’s such as Skepta’s ‘Konnichiwa‘ and JME’s ‘Integrity>’ to name a few. Not only selling great music, the company also sells clothing and even briefly a 3G network. This business has been involved in multiple ventures, showing the business mindset of Jamie Adenuga.
JINSING Records (Jin Jin)
This boutique label, management, and publishing company was created by renowned songwriter Jin Jin. Having collaborated with the likes of Roll Deep, RAYE, and Craig David, she’s now created her own label to help upcoming artists. Including producer T1OTB and Manchester rapper Hxxdz, there’s plenty of young talent on this label. With her experience as an A&R at Parlophone and her publishing company Raggamuffin, Jin Jin is sure to help these artists get to the next level.
RAPS (Tinie Tempah)
RAPS is a fried-chicken delivery service created by Tinie Tempah with Kitchen Ventures. The brand was created as a trip down memory lane for the chicken shops Tinie used to visit as a kid. It offers wRaps, Chicken Tenders, and Wings, giving you an alternative to the likes of Nandos. The store is based in Willows Rooftop Bar on Oxford Street or you can order on Deliveroo. It’s certainly a different path for one of the most successful U.K. rappers, showing his creative outlook.
Girls I Rate (Carla Marie Williams)
Girls I Rate was created by successful songwriter Carla Marie Williams, to give females the opportunities they may not get from the male-dominated industry. Launched in 2016, the project has been supported by the likes of Nao, Snoochie Shy, and Frisco among others. The #GETHEARD Future Hitmaker competition gives musicians the opportunity to have their music heard, and win money and a spot on BBC Music Introducing. The platform also is on The Beat London Radio and YouTube, sells merch and gives opportunities to learn through its focused learning weekenders. Through this new brand, Carla Marie Williams has allowed the next generation of women to make a name for themselves.
CBDL (Big Narstie)
Big Narstie has turned one of his passions into a business, with his new CBDL brand. The CBD market is relatively new in the U.K., but Narstie has took advantage. Products include Gummies, Coffee, and Patches that give you CBD relief when in pain. Narstie has brought into a newish market, building upon his already successful merchandise and the first Jamaican restaurant in Tenerife.