Black people who visit Martha’s Vineyard every summer know there’s one person to ask about Black businesses on the island.
“Because I live on the island year-round and grew up here, people often seek me out based on stuff I do in the community for Black-owned resources on the island,” India Rose told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “So I’d get messages from a lot of people I didn’t even know that would ask if I knew a Black-owned landscaping company or Black-owned restaurant?”
Sideline 2023 Events Calendar
In addition to the physical directory, Rose, a mother of two, also owns Sideline, a motivational sportswear brand and community gathering space for events, pop-ups, and networking opportunities.
“Sideline is a motivational sportswear and streetwear brand inspired by me being a sideline mom,” Rose told Black Enterprise. “My son is a junior at the University of Rhode Island on the football team, and one of my biggest accomplishments is being a mom and attending my children’s events; I was the sideline mom, and the echos and the cheers, that’s what Sideline means.”
In the five years it’s existed, the directory has provided a way for Black visitors to spend their money with Black people, and last year Rose partnered with producer Sean “Diddy” Combs and his Ciroc vodka brand.
Rose told Black Enterprise that when she started the directory, she had no idea it would receive this much attention. She admitted she had some fears about it.
“When I announced it, I didn’t know whether it would be embraced, particularly by the locals,” Rose said. “I wondered if there would be backlash, would people ask why are you separating businesses or highlighting Black-owned businesses instead of just a business? Luckily it didn’t; I didn’t have to deal with the negativity from people who wouldn’t support this platform.”
Last month, Rose celebrated the fifth anniversary of the directory as Black-owned businesses from the guide participated in a pop-up marketplace. The celebration also included music from DJ Smooth B, Rose’s husband. However, Rose isn’t resting on the success of the directory. She’s always trying to improve the directory and is already working on next year’s edition.
“For next year, the biggest change is adding articles, just some additional highlights,” said Rose. “Right now, it’s laid out as a resource, but the plan for next year is also to highlight some of the businesses, just sort of a journalistic component of adding some articles and highlighting some of the businesses.”
Source: Black Enterprise