It's time to set the table. Red Rice & Beans Diaspora Bookstore (RRB) is a virtual bookstore that aims to showcase the power of people-centered literary and cultural production by promoting small Black businesses and publishing presses to our global community of readers. Our goal is to satisfy the intellectual and social appetites of our community by serving the freshest literary content and nourishing goods from the African Diaspora. We want to offer books and sideline items from small, Black-owned businesses globally. We will operate as a 100% virtual store before opening a physical shop and cafe in the future.
This bookstore was founded by two Black women from the South. KG was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and Vanessa is from Jacksonville, Florida. We’ve both lived on all parts of the east coast of the United States and now we are striving to take our influence elsewhere. What better way than through African Diaspora literature and goods?!
Why RRB? Why now?
"As a child, my mother brought me to local libraries for storytelling hours. [Much love to Mama Minter, Plaza Midwood and Beatties Ford Road libraries]. I was captivated by stories from West Africa, the American South, and other African diasporic cultures. I wanted to be as clever as Brer Rabbit and as cunning as Anansi the Spider. I can still recall being completely amazed by the ways in which a story is constructed, the rhythm of the words, and the power of the mind to create and process fiction. My mother set the course and I willingly bought into her belief that one can access a global community through books. Naturally, I had to become a librarian after that!
My hope is for RRB to become a proactive response to the exclusion, discrimination, and anti-Blackness found in social space, academic spaces and their intersections. My wildest dream is for our bookstore, in its own way, to improve and create access to the publishing industry and more broadly knowledge infrastructures by focusing on small presses globally. It is an opportunity to support those collectively working to bring in new voices, create new structures, and craft new visions for our Black, Africana literary and cultural production."
"I’m preoccupied with time now more than ever. A teacher and historian by trade, I’m often juggling managing my own time and chronicling the past. I guess you can say that past time is my pastime. So when I started reflecting on the question “Why now?” to start this virtual bookstore that centers Black people and Black business, I can’t help but think, “Why not now?”
I often say to my students and myself, “There’s no wrong time to seek justice and joy.” It’s a principle I live out in both my professional and personal lives. This bookstore, with its mission, vision, and design, and being able to run it with my best friend is the perfect combination of both those pursuits--justice and joy by championing the African Diaspora."
For the sake of transparency, we want you to know where your donations are going. The expenses below are estimates based on conversations with our valuable partners.
Books & Non-book Merchandise from small, independent Black presses and small Black business (7 small presses and 4 small businesses)= $10,000. We have some great partners from New Jersey to Nigeria ready to give the free people the bookstore they've been hungering for.
Original Merchandise from a Black-owned company=$1,500 We are dedicated to providing a virtual book buying experience for our customers in the initial stage of our company. This may mean partnering with companies that have the capacity to support drop-shipping or other cost-effective services now. We have identified an ideal company that does not yet provide this service and hope to transition to working with them in the near future.
Fees, Fees for ABA membership and insurance coverage= $1,000.
GoFundMe takes a tip for her services. While the platform fee is free, a standard transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation allows for credit card processing and safe transfer of funds. We left a small cushion to make this happen.
Our goal is to open our doors and serve the freshest literature and nourishing goods from our menu by December 2020.
Other Ways You Can Help Set The Table
Easy, spread the word.
Use GoFundMe's share tools, use the hashtag #rrbbookstore #youreinvited and tag us! We're on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @rrb_bookstore. Call up the fam and say "You're invited! Let's support RRB Bookstore!" Tell them they have the chance to bring new global voices to our own table.