In an effort to connect black-owned businesses in Milwaukee and Madison, the Heymiss Progress Business Expo and Job Fair returned to Madison late July, this year featuring a University of Wisconsin student’s clothing line which drew headlines for its controversial message.

Sabrina Madison, creator of the Heymiss Progress brand, cited the lack of black-owned businesses in Madison as one of the motivating factors for organizing the Expo and Job Fair.

“I grew up in Milwaukee, and I could walk into any number of stores owned by black folks there,” Madison said. “I couldn’t do that in Madison and it bothered me to no end.”

Events such as the Expo, Madison said, will be essential for black business owners and consumers in the area.

White community simultaneously fears, desires black culture, guest speaker saysAs an end to a three-day lecture series, Shanara Reid-Brinkley, a visiting professor from the University of Pittsburgh, held an Read…

The Expo serves to bring together resources and connections so black business owners can advertise their products at a place where hundreds of other business owners, consumers and investors will also be gathered, Madison said.

“The reason I put [the Expo] together is because there has to be a space for black entrepreneurs to test out their products and get them in front of potential consumers,” Madison said.

One of those entrepreneurs is UW junior Eneale Pickett.

Pickett received national attention last year with the creation of his clothing line, “Insert Apparel,” particularly for one sweatshirt which reads “All White People Are Racist.”

Alice Vagun/The Badger Herald

UW student receives death threats after debuting new clothing lineEditor’s note: This article contains racially charged language that might be offensive to readers.  University of Wisconsin sophomore and First Read…

Pickett’s clothing addresses issues pertaining to social justice, such as racism, sexism, homophobia and police brutality.

“The goal with my clothing is to speak truth to power and oppressive systems without even having to open your mouth because people can read it on your attire,” Pickett said.

Pickett hopes his clothing line helps push people from conversation about racism to taking action to correct it.

Black youth continue to struggle getting white people to listen to them, guest speaker saysIn an effort to illuminate the experience of the black community in America, visiting scholar Shanara Reid-Brinkley, a professor from the Read…

Pickett has received notable backlash, even death threats, from people across the country. Many of the attacks against him were racially motivated, which Pickett said just proves the very same point he’s trying to make through his clothing line.

Pickett said attacks against him have died down in recent months, although he still encounters “someone ignorant every now and then.”

Going forward, Pickett has plans to further expand his clothing line and address more important issues.

“My next line is going to be called ‘No Justice’ and it’s going to focus on the judicial system in the United States,” Pickett said.

Pickett said to expect the clothing line to come out in the fall.

Students, faculty, alumni come together to celebrate opening of Black Cultural CenterUniversity of Wisconsin students, faculty and alumni gathered together to celebrate the grand opening of the Black Cultural Center Wednesday. After Read…

As for the Heymiss Progress brand, Madison said she has her own plans for the future.

Madison said she will be opening the Heymiss Center for Progress and Entrepreneurship, a home for black business owners and entrepreneurs in the Madison area to work together and bring resources to the same space.

“This way, entrepreneurs will have a less difficult time accessing resources,” Madison said.