The BET Experience is not just a place where you can see celebrities playing dodgeball and recording artists perform. While there are many activities for people to get into, BETX showcases Black Business excellence with their variety of vendors who sell their wares throughout the weekend.
Colorways and Toeboxes fans were in for a special treat as the show host Wuzgood ran a pop-up shop throughout the weekend. The network gave her total control over what the shop sold. Along with being a sneaker expert, Wuzgood is a fan of fashion.
“What I wanted to do with it is curate a space where I was giving brands that I wear on a daily basis exposure,” Wuzgood said. “I feel like a lot of people that are into streetwear or into sneakers are all in one space, so that’s always a good energy to be around.”
Other vendors at the BETX are entrepreneurs cultivating a novel style. One apparel brand was Lames and Nerds (Lerds for short), selling a unique line of shirts and hoodies. Brand creator Christopher Powell mentioned how Lames and Nerds started from a comic he began creating. The characters in the comic are featured in the brand.
“I put them in scenes, I started making animations,” Powell said. “I didn’t really see a brand out there that was pushing the corny, awkward, lame guy.”
His characters are a cartoonish pen and pencil, they are featured on many of his shirt designs.
NBA fans could purchase gear of their favorite teams for a good cause that the FISLL booth. The brand was started by former NBA star Allan Houston. Part of the proceeds from his brand goes to The FISLL Project, a mentoring program for youth. FISLL is an acronym standing for faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy, according to brand model and promoter Mariah Reaves.
“We’re selling these pieces of clothing for $20, a percent of that goes to the project to help the adults to have resources and things for the children,” Reaves said. “I love that that they ‘re doing this for our community”
FISLL has a license with the NBA to use logos on the apparel. The brand has also created the uniforms for the BET Experience Celebrity Basketball game in previous years.
Artist Frank Anthony was invited to sell his custom designed Air Force Ones, bags and jackets for a second year in a row. His publicist, Vanessa Luster, sees the BET Experience as a place of opportunity. A line of his custom made Air Forces were a popular item during the weekend.
“It has a rose on it with the wood grain and checkers, which is his specialty,” Luster said. “I was fresh out of school, college, when I met him and so to see him grow and me growing with him, it means everything to me.”
Anthony has been in business for more than two years and is happy to see his social media following grow, according to Luster.
“I pride myself on working with rising talent to be able to take them to the next level in their careers,” Luster said. “It’s empowering to be a person of color representing someone of color on a platform that was made for us.”