BLACME CEO and founder TeShayla Coates says her clothing line is much more than just that – it’s a movement and a revolution in itself. “The word ‘black’ itself is used as a negative term to mean an absence of light and good things. With the educational movement that is BLACME, we’re reclaiming the word and using it to mean something all positive,” says Coates.
Coates, who also owns the digital marketing agency Coates Communications, launched BLACME on Sept. 16. Products currently available on the site include graphic tees and hoodies as well as drinkware, jewelry, luggage accessories and makeup pouches.
Every item in the BLACME collection is
printed with a pro-black, encouraging message so wearers can stand proud in
their heritage. Coates says that she created the line as a response to what she
calls the “African American identity crisis.”
She says, “The media portrays Africa as this horrible diseased place, so we feel like we don’t fit in there, but we don’t fit in in America, either. 2019 marks 400 years exactly since the first Africans were brought to America. Slavery is over, but we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to how we’re seen in this country.”
Coates says she
draws strength and encouragement from her Christian faith. “BLACME is an online
presence right now, but I’d love to take it global and educate the diaspora at
large.” For the
brand’s second phase, Coates hopes to introduce dresses and legwear and expand
BLACME’s presence to include speaking engagements, and increase activism.