"We started as an online resource that we felt was missing from the internet," Gordy Giwa said. "It's hyperlocal service journalism. There were places that were being overlooked and we started Black Owned Brooklyn so we could celebrate the creativity, the ingenuity and excellence of black businesses that people don't know about but should know about and make it easier to support them."
The purpose is really threefold. Black Owned Brooklyn gives visibility to businesses that are in the midst of gentrifying neighborhoods, helps people make conscious decisions to support them and thus the community, and offers a different perspective of the black experience, Alan and Gordy Giwa say.
"I think black people are interested in putting their dollars toward black businesses, which in turn will have a communitywide impact -- there's a likelihood their dollars are going back into the community," Alan said. "It's about supporting the community around you and the large part of the community of business owners in Brooklyn is black."
In addition, more and more white people are reading Black Owned Brooklyn, Gordy Giwa said.
"They are thinking critically about the impact of their presence in the waves of gentrification occurring in the borough and wanting to make conscious decisions about where they're shopping."
And portraying images of blackness, unity and entrepreneurship offers an alternative narrative to the black experience, Alan added.
"The portraits are really important," Gordy Giwa added. "I think they're showing the diversity of black people -- showing different genders, ages, cultural backgrounds and people from the LGBTQ community -- all types, standing proudly, looking directly at the camera looking amazing."
Having the support of the community has especially touched Williams at Rituals and Ceremony. Customers have told her they're happy to see a young, black person with her own business. Plus, they've even offered a hand in helping her.
"This community is really supportive -- they tell me 'I have an accountant' and have advice to share that I can utilize," she said. "It's important to speak verbally and with your dollars as well by continuing to support black businesses. It's good to have diversity in any field or genre and good to have a different perspective and point of view. We need to keep these spaces and businesses open."