“Growing up, I was told that I had two strikes against me,’” said Jacksonville native Tallia Amari Lee, “being a woman and being Black.”
The 24-year-old has seen the city through both ups and downs. It’s from these experiences that she has found the motivation to use her platform as a means to express herself, her beliefs and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lee believes she’s experienced just about all the Bold City has to offer. She grew up with the love of a large family and mingled with people from all walks of life, but that doesn’t mean she was blind to the challenges that stem from systematic racism in America. “I think that [my experiences] have made me into the well-rounded, cultured woman that I am.”
However, these challenges never interfered with her becoming a fearless entrepreneur. Today, Lee refers to herself as an “entrepreneurial creative,” having built an entire lifestyle brand combining her personality and many passions.
“The idea for my brand honestly just came to me. That’s how many of my businesses and brands start out; they’re all extensions of me,” Lee said. “I never do anything aimlessly, and I treat everything like a personal project. It gets overwhelming but it allows me to get in depth and put passion into them.”
These passions have included creating a website called “All things me, Tallia Lee,” where she sells t-shirts, shares photos and designs, takes gift balloon orders, posts events, and books makeup sessions and photoshoots. Of her collections, she recently re-released a t-shirt design that reads “It’s a beautiful day to be Black,” following the death of George Floyd.
“I am my brand. So I feel it’s an obligation to speak up and educate those that need it,” Lee said. “I just felt that I wanted to create a way to remind my Black family all over the world of their greatness, while making a noteworthy statement to society.”
She says the release of her “It’s a beautiful day to be Black shirt” was met with some outrage surrounding “how the statement would be perceived if it were switched.” However, Lee said that she didn’t care due to the reality of how much Black Americans endure each day, and because “it is always a beautiful day to be Black.”
“The relaunch was used to generate funds for Black-progressive efforts and initiatives in the country. I wanted to use my platform to raise money and be an aide,” Lee said. “The feedback has been phenomenal, and I exceeded 300 orders very quickly.”
Grateful for every purchase, Lee plans to share her design with other bloggers and influencers across the country. So far, even Jacksonville Jaguars player Leonard Fournette has been spotting sporting his own “It’s a beautiful day to be Black” t-shirt. “I hope that black people feel good while wearing [the shirt], and I hope the message becomes just as deeply embedded into the minds of racists, as racism once was,” Lee emphasized. “Being a Black, female business owner means everything [to me].”
When asked what advice she would give to other black female entrepreneurs hoping to use their business as a means for positive change, Lee says she would tell them to “Just go for it, honey.”
“My advice is to enlighten and educate, not only yourselves but those around you. Hold others accountable, and do your part, whatever that consists of,” Lee said. “Unify, be genuine and thorough in your dealings, listen and be a positive contributor, but don’t ever be silent.”