“Imagery is powerful … and I just wanted to be able to provide that powerful image for our black entrepreneurs,” says Sabrina “Heymiss Progress” Madison.
Ahead of her Nov. 25 Black Business Expo/The Black Friday Edition, Madison is putting together the “Black in Business Photoshoot” this Sunday, Oct. 30, that will feature over 30 black entrepreneurs from the greater Madison area posing for professional photos. Madison says that they organized this photoshoot because it was something that was very much needed in Madison right now.
“It’s probably because I subscribe to Black Enterprise Magazine and it’s something that I have seen and something that we’ve been thinking about [doing] for the past 2-3 months,” Madison tells Madison365. “As I’m planning the [Black Business] Expo, people are always asking who’s going to be there and what’s going on? When I started to think about it, there weren’t any magazines here that had a presence for black entrepreneurs. I wanted to provide a face – because there is none. There’s nothing. I haven’t opened up anything and seen that before. That’s something that we can provide with this photoshoot. The goal is to provide a face for entrepreneurs.”
Local black entrepreneurs will gather on the third floor of Central Library for the “Black in Business Photoshoot.” Photoshoot attire? Madison says: “Think cocktail dress code meets the black professional after work hours.” Talented photographer Dion Johnson of Action Photography will be taking the photos that will include a giant group shot along with many individual photos. The photos will be used for the Black Friday Black Business Expo event on Nov. 25 (Madison’s birthday!).
“When you open up the program for the Black Business Expo, you will see the group photo picture of all the black entrepreneurs in the centerspread and it will be beautiful,” Madison says. “I think that is quite a positive powerful image to provide. When we did the Black Women’s Leadership Conference [earlier this spring], a lot of the women never had professional photos taken for a headshot, so we will be providing those, too.”
Every year, Black Friday opens up the holiday shopping season and Madison is asking the community to commit to spending a portion of their shopping dollars with black-owned businesses right here in Madison. She notes “when you buy from these businesses, you support financial freedom and agency in the black community.” The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce will be a partner in the Black Friday Black Business Expo, which will take place in the Villager on Park on Madison’s south side. “We have the community room on the side, we have the atrium on the top floor, the lower part below the stairs and that long hallway. So we will have plenty of space. We will have 60-plus vendors this time around. We have a lot of vendors coming back from the last one but we also have tons of new vendors. We have vendors coming from Chicago, Milwaukee, and as far aways as North Carolina,” Madison says.
“A lot of them had fun at the last one and met a lot of people in the community along with other vendors,” Madison adds. “I really like that when I share the businesses on the Facebook event page, people go onto the site and buy stuff.”
Madison said that she is also excited to have confirmed July 22 as the date for the next Black Business Expo that was quite the success earlier this year. “It’s going to be so lit because [Madison College President] Dr. [Jack] Daniels will be there and we are going to have great speakers and breakout sessions. It’s going to be even better than this year’s.”
“Adorable will provide web development and they are building the website for the event. It’s coming together great,” Madison says. “The site that they are putting up will have all of the businesses listed. It’s important for people to be able to access the businesses after the fact. It will live forever. Folks can go and check it out.”
Bria Brown, who does her own videos and has a YouTube channel called “Unapologetically Bria Bea,” will be doing the video for the Expo. “Leading up to the event, she’ll be doing small videos of the business owners at their work or in their homes as they work. We’re excited to have her as the video partner for the event,” Madison says.
More details will emerge as the Black Friday Black Business Expo gets closer, but for now, Madison is concentrating on the “Black in Business Photoshoot” this Sunday.
So far she has 32 black entrepreneurs lined up for the photoshoot. “We have some diversity … so that’s good. I wanted to make sure that we reached out to all kinds of entrepreneurs,” Madison says. “It’s also a networking event. I’ll give them a private invite for them to get together in a couple of weeks, too. I’ve been strategically working to get them together.”
“Black in Business Photoshoot” is a great chance to network, have fun, and look good while getting your pictures taken professionally.
“A photoshoot like this helps to normalize things,” Madison says. “It shouldn’t feel like it’s so set apart. It should really be like, ‘These are entrepreneurs, too. These are folks we can access for business, too.’”