Black In Business

Mesh Lakhani shares the story of three Black entrepreneurs during the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement: Kris Shelby, Chris Montana, and Yelitsa Jean-Charles.

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In this special episode, we delve into systemic racism in the United States from an economic lens and bring you three stories from Black entrepreneurs during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the midst of COVID-19. Featuring Kris Shelby of Atlanta's Attom Shop, Chris and Shanelle Montana of Minneapolis's Du Nord Craft Spirits, and Yelitsa Jean-Charles of Detroit's Healthy Roots Dolls.

After George Floyd's killing, we felt the need to take action and have our voices heard. We spent months working on an episode exploring and explaining systemic racism from an economic lens. Our goal is to not only give these founders and their stories a platform, but to provide education on the business challenges they had to overcome as Black people in America. 

To learn more and support these businesses, visit the Attom Shop GoFundMe and the Du Nord Recovery Fund. For more Talk Money episodes and bonus content, visit our website.

This episode features:

  • Kris Shelby of Attom Shop, the first Black-owned luxury retail store located in the upscale shopping complex, Shops at Buckhead, in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Chris and Shanelle Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis. Chris is the very first Black owner of a microdistillery in America.
  • Yelitsa Jean Charles of Detroit's Healthy Roots Dolls, one of the first start-up toy companies that creates dolls with diverse skin tones and hair textures to reinforce positive self-perceptions among young girls.


[0:40] Why today’s episode is different

[2:35] Today’s topic: Black in Business

[3:20] Meet Kris Shelby of Atlanta's Attom Shop

[7:00] Community complexes: The first Black-owned business in an upscale shopping complex attracts community and ire.

[7:51] Meet Chris and Shanelle Montana of Minneapolis's Du Nord Craft Spirits

[9:30] Networking while black: How a homogenous community changed the mission 

[10:30] Starting a business while black: Ignorance is the obstacle

[14:20] Meet Yelitsa Jean-Charles of Detroit's Healthy Roots Dolls

[16:12] Attacking representation’s roots: Why Yelitsa began to focus on children’s media and toys 

[18:38] Then everything changed: George Floyd is murdered by police in Minneapolis 

[21:10] “We gotta start working”: What a business owes its community and its people 

[26:20] Demonstrations in Atlanta: As Attom Shop approaches its fourth anniversary, looters and cops approach the store.

[33:29] The system is unfair: Why we can’t talk about black businesses without talking about the systems unfairly affecting black people

[37:30] Protecting small businesses: Where insurance falls short and how you can help

[42:40] Not all money is good money: How brands are failing to live up to their values. 

[44:20] Undervaluing the black dollar: Why investors are constantly playing catch up to Black entrepreneurs

[47:40] Rebuilding Minneapolis 

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