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My favorite childhood memories with the fam are from our holiday get-togethers.

My dad, mom, sister and I would load up our Jeep Cherokee and head to Canton, Miss., where the roots of my family tree (which is more like a family orchard the way we keep multiplying) are located. Our aunties and uncles would link up with us at my grandma’s. Within minutes, her home would fill up with love and laugher.

Cousins walked in with their new Thanksgiving threads or with their new boos/baes. Some of us kids helped out with dinner in small ways, like washing and cutting greens. Now that I am older, I’m sure my aunts and uncles appreciated the help. This Facebook post about what all is included on the menu at a Black Thanksgiving dinner had me hyperventilating in laughter because it was definitely accurate.

My Thanksgiving this year is more low key. My fiancé and I cooked for Friendsgiving, a tradition my best friend started that we are continuing despite his death. While the gathering was MUCH smaller than it was at my grandma’s home, the amount of love was still the same.

Whether your spent time with your blood family or your chosen fam, I hope you got enough love to carry you through the rest of the year. May this edition of Black Joy add to your merriment. As we promised in last week’s newsletter, we’ve published our directory of southern Black businesses for your Black Friday shopping needs. But first, a story to comfort your souls.

As always, consider sharing this newsletter to folks who wouldn’t mind another helping of some holiday cheer!

— Starr

From homless to Tik Tok famous 

Jerry Houston, a 19-year-old Georgia native, has gone viral on Tik Tok for servin’ up piping hot meals from his dorm.

Houston, a freshman hospitality management major at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, has fed both his college peers and the homeless with his delectable yet budget-friendly dishes. His hundreds of thousands of Instagram and Tik Tok followers drool over his culinary skills as Houston whips up a savory seafood boil with Ramen noodlesPhilly cheesesteak eggrolls and other hearty meals.

While this mostly self-taught chef is treated like a celebrity on campus, Houston keeps it humble because he was once homeless during his junior year of high school. He didn’t come from a supportive household while growing up in Savannah, Ga. In fact, his father verbally abused him, told him that he wouldn’t make it past high school and left him homeless.

Houston is now the popular man on campus who is making sure folks get fed. Currently he is trying to speak into existence his blue check – the mark of a social media influencer. Houston said he doesn’t want to be a private chef, but he wants to help others make their food better.

 

“I want people to see me as ‘Jerry the Influencer,’” Houston said. “I want people to think like, ‘Baby, a month ago, I didn’t know how to make God knows what. But now, with the help of (Jerry), I’m able to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.’”

If you’re a foodie, you should check out our story of how Houston hustled for his own happiness and success. Since it is Thanksgiving after all, y’all know I had to ask Houston what he is grateful for. His answer:

“I’m thankful for each and every individual who’s cheering me on,” he said. “I don’t consider people to be my fans. They’re my social media family, even the people who are viewing me from other parts of the world. I’m grateful for those people because they are the ones who motivate me and push me to get up every day and have a new purpose and a new goal in mind.”

Blackity Black Friday sale!

Take out your purses and wallets, y’all! It’s time to have some fun while spending some funds in our community.

From hair care products to crystal healing, you’re sure to fill your stockings with these Black-owned items after shopping from our Blackity Black Friday directory! Shout out to all the Southern and Black entrepreneurs who participated.

Here are few deals that caught my eye:

Gaddis told VoyageATL his brand’s dedication to God sets his business apart from the rest of the industry.

“I hold onto our company slogan, ‘Faith is Timeless,’ every single day. It takes timeless faith to accomplish your goals and dreams,” Gaddis said.

Use the code “BF30” to knock $30 off any Victory Brand Co.’s watches. Sale ends on Nov. 29th.

  • Kuhrizmuh, LLC (Huntsville, Ala.): Strut into your next holiday party with all the pizazz and charism after shopping at Kuhrizmuh, a women’s boutique catering to sizes small to 4XL.

    Owner Ashley Lawhorn came up with a Mean Girls-themed commercial to show off all her trendy looks. I couldn’t help but to smile at all the Black girl magic in the video. Stay fashionable without breaking the bank by hoping on Kuhrizmuh’s “Fetch Friday” deals, which is 25 percent off all shoes and buy-one-get-one free on all bottoms.

Stay merry and keep spreading the Black joy! See ya’ next time!