FUBU Market highlights Black creators

Meredith Abdelnour, Arcade Editor

two women holding a sign that reads "the fubu market"
Co-founders Jailaih Gowdy and Alexis Smith at the FUBU market. (Jailaih Gowdy)

The For Us By Us market was started by Jailaih Gowdy and Alexis Smith, to make finding and supporting Black-owned businesses easier for consumers. The market, which started in fall 2020, is designed to support economic circulation and wellness within the Black community. Black-owned businesses account for 40% of small businesses in New Orleans, yet they make up just 2% of total sales receipts. The FUBU Market seeks to change that by providing a space for Black business owners to grow their businesses, which is especially important when the pandemic is hitting Black-owned businesses harder than their white counterparts. 

The idea for the FUBU market was sparked last summer during an onslaught of protests for the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. “[I] definitely wanted to get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement but didn’t feel comfortable protesting during COVID,” Gowdy said. “So [I] came up with this alternative because I’m so passionate about health and wellness.” 

The market features a variety of vendors, but all are Black-owned and focus on the importance of health and wellness in Black communities. Some of the vendors are fitness trainers or gyms, while others sell nutritious foods or natural products such as body lotions and soaps. They also partner with community resources such as Urgent Care Eleven, a Black-owned health clinic in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. 

Gowdy describes the market as a “Black grocery store” and makes sure all of the vendors support the vision of Black health and wellness. “It’s always this huge conversation of, you know, Black communities being food deserts … so it’s definitely our mission to create this space where businesses can come out that do healthier food options.”

The atmosphere of the FUBU market is lively and exciting, and the passion of the creators is easy to see. The FUBU market offers not only groceries but a sense of joy and community that’s difficult to find these days. “It’s something that’s super super super needed,” Gowdy said. “We’ve had a huge huge huge response … there’s nothing really like this.” 

The FUBU Market happens on the last Saturday of every month. Join them this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.