Black History Month and Beyond: BHS Agents On Being Black Entrepreneurs

Updated: Sep 15

Black history is American history. We honor all the Black Americans throughout history who have persevered through immense adversity, contributing rich ideas and leadership that have benefited us all.

We also recognize those who continue to carry the torch, including all of the Black entrepreneurs here at Brown Harris Stevens. Here are some of their thoughts on Black History Month and being a Black entrepreneur.

Let's continue to celebrate and support Black individuals and communities year-round.

Jevon Gratineau

Black History Month is a time to reflect and refocus on the strides made, but also the next steps needed to advance our culture and the world at large—to stay the course not only for this month but for the entirety of my life.

As a Black entrepreneur, I’m most proud of my volunteer service to my community. I’m proud to have helped others like myself expand their careers.

Kris Sylvester

For me, Black History Month is not just about the 28 days allotted to us. I personally make it a habit to celebrate our amazing history continually throughout the year. With that said, I, my fiancee, and my teenage daughter do make a point during February to educate ourselves more about the wonderful things that African Americans have contributed to not only this country, but around the world.

I'm most proud of the fact that, because of my global travels and my work in real estate as a broker and investor, I'm able to show young Black men and women that are directly or indirectly in my life that if they work hard and are not afraid to dream big, the world can be their oyster.

Kathleen McClearn

Black History Month gives me the opportunity to honor and remember those courageous Black Americans that have come before me and paved a way for me to achieve success and the

American Dream. It is a time set aside to glorify the achievements and contributions Black Americans

have made to our country in spite of the tremendously difficult path it took to get where we are now. It is important for all Americans to learn about the contributions and cultural influence Black people have had on American culture and the world.

I am super proud to be part of the real estate industry as a person of color and I work hard to achieve success not only for myself and my family but as a representative of Black Americans in this industry. I look to serve clients to the best of my ability and ensure that they are treated fairly and equally to achieve maximum success in buying and selling their homes.

Isaiah Ajala

Black people/people of African descent have a deep and rich history which cannot be taught or learned in one month. However, Black History Month gives us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our great history for many people who are unaware.

I get my kids involved by learning about Black heroes from all over the world.

I’m extremely proud of the progress Black entrepreneurs have made over the years. There has been a system of suppression on Black business and Black entrepreneurs in this country and all over the world and to see us rise and make way is truly encouraging.

Dina Foster-Osbourne

It’s time to celebrate the rich contributions of African Americans. Our history is American history! The ancestors paved the way for me to be who I am today, and my parents instilled in me the many contributions of African Americans that never made it into history books.

I celebrate this month by supporting the many facets of Black culture: dance, art, theatre, poetry, books, and of course, music. As a classical performing artist and church musician, all of my concerts include music written or composed by African Americans and the “Negro” Spiritual, a reminder of the atrocities of slavery—seeking freedom from the oppressor. Just a reminder from whence we came.

As a Black entrepreneur, it means continuing the legacy of my father and his siblings who successfully owned and operated their own businesses. The legacy continues.

Scottie Cabrera

Black History Month means being proud of who I am and where I come from. It also means carrying the torch for my ancestors and for the generations to come. I celebrate Black history every day by continuing to strive in excellence as a young entrepreneur and business owner.

As an entrepreneur I am most proud of my persistence and resilience; I just keep going no matter the obstacles in my way.

Tanthony Raeshawn

Black History Month means to me: strength, resilience, and beauty. I celebrate by letting my sons know their strengths and worthiness by enriching them with the knowledge of our history and the

strength of our Black culture—helping them to understand how deep and rich our culture is.

We celebrate by listening to music, enjoying dance and fashion, visiting museums, and learning the history of the ones that paved the way for us as Black Americans and the ones that have made recent history.

As a Black Entrepreneur I am most proud of this new chapter as a real estate agent and author which allows me to combine all my entrepreneurial skills and talents to add value.

I am even more proud that I have been an example of strength and resilience in the eyes of my sons.

Darnell Thornton

Black History Month reminds and reveals the many triumphs and achievements made my many

African Americans and those of the African diaspora. It’s a reminder that my ancestors did contribute heavily in an array of fields throughout history.

As a Black entrepreneur, you become an ambassador for the Black community. I think it’s important to take the opportunity to talk about what I do with those of all ages. This allows me to inspire others to do the same or to take the step towards ownership in business and in their personal life. Real estate is a very important topic in most Brooklyn communities, so I always get to chat with many about what’s going on in their community and how we can partner to help it grow and benefit everyone.

Raqiba “Lela” Bourne

Black History is American history. From the arts to technology to politics to business to sports and everything in between, for me the impact of Black history is seen, felt, and heard. From the traffic light to refrigeration, the GPS system, and the modern-day computer, the list of Black contributions is ongoing.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs since the late 1800s. I am thankful to be able to serve my customers and to provide them with products and services that are beneficial. I love being an entrepreneur.

Support Black entrepreneurs and communities in the NYC area year-round by patronizing Black-owned businesses.