Amazon is kicking off Black History Month 2021 with a monthlong celebration that is rooted in our commitment to being a place where Black leaders want to grow their careers, as well as supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Black community.
In 2020, we made—and met—a number of companywide commitments intended to increase representation at all levels across our organization while ensuring that our deep-rooted culture of inclusion is reinforced through learning and action. We doubled the representation of Black senior leadership—directors and vice presidents—by hiring and promoting Black leaders across the business. We have rolled out a new diversity, equity, and inclusion learning requirement for all employees, and we are eliminating non-inclusive tech language, such as blacklist/whitelist and master/slave, from our documentation and software.
Maintaining the trajectory and momentum of this work remains a top priority. In 2021, we are again committing to doubling the representation of Black directors and vice presidents and remain focused on representation through hiring, retention, and growth and development, including promotion of our employees. As a signal of our investment in growing our leaders from within, we're creating developmental opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the tech industry, specifically employees at all levels. These programs range from our $700 million upskilling commitment to pilots such as the Amazon Black Employee Network Executive Leadership Development Program, which includes targeted and specialized training to increase the number of Black leaders at the director level and higher.
Amazon's Black Employee Network launches new scholarship
Access to higher education provides an individual with the tools, knowledge, and strategies to improve their lives and positively impact their community. To help eliminate barriers for Black students and provide access to careers in supply chain and computer science, Amazon's Black Employee Network has established a new scholarship program. The scholarship is geared toward high school seniors who plan to continue their education and pursue a computer science or supply chain–related field of study. Recipients of the scholarship will receive $5,000 per year for four years toward college tuition, plus a connection to industry mentors within the Black Employee Network. Applications are now open, with submissions due by March 4, 2021. Interested students can learn more about the scholarship and apply here.
Join our Black History Month celebration
In addition to our companywide commitments and ongoing partnership with the Black Employee Network, there are a number of ways Amazon is celebrating Black communities throughout February. Here are just a few of the ways you can join us:
- Learn about Black history facts throughout the month by saying, "Alexa, open Black History Facts."
Highlighting Black entrepreneurs
- Meet the Launchers: Customers can discover Black-owned businesses on Amazon Launchpad's Meet the Launchers page. Featured small businesses include Orijin Bees, a doll company that promotes the importance of diversity and unity, as well as Mother's Shea, a family-owned shea butter company founded by a Ghanian-American family whose founder came to the U.S. after escaping a military coup. Amazon Launchpad is a program that helps new brands, entrepreneurs, and startups overcome many of the challenges associated with launching new products so they can focus their attention on new innovations, expansion, and what's next for their business.
- Support small: Amazon is celebrating bold stories of Black entrepreneurship and innovation and helping customers discover and shop Black-owned small businesses. Customers can get to know these entrepreneurs and learn how they celebrate their culture through their products. Featured small businesses include Hairbella, makers of fashionable and functional rain hats that protect various hair styles, lengths, and textures from the rain and humidity, and BLK & Bold, a beverage brand that aims to highlight the quality, prominence, and diversity of coffee grown in regions across Africa.
- Discover Black Makers and artisans: Amazon Handmade is celebrating Black Makers and artisans with a dedicated storefront, making it easy for customers to discover and shop Black-owned handcrafting businesses. Customers can discover hundreds of products made by Black Makers and artisans and learn from four entrepreneurs who share their stories on what inspired them to start their handcrafting businesses. Featured Makers include jewelry designer Tiffany Bobb of T. Victoria; all-natural shea butter creator Shan Williams of My Heart & Soul Essentials; African-inspired statement jewelry and accessory crafter Ellana Turner of Cloth & Cord; and organic, food-grade skincare Maker Lourdes Liz of 16J Organics.
- Opportunities for entrepreneurship: Amazon Small Business Academy provides resources to empower small business owners to successfully partner with Amazon to grow their businesses. Throughout February, the academy will host a number of events, including a webinar on February 16 in partnership with the California Black Chamber of Commerce on how to get started selling on Amazon and the opportunities that ecommerce provides to grow businesses (register here). On February 22, they will host a webinar in partnership with the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Urban League detailing how Midwest entrepreneurs interested in logistics can become a Delivery Service Partner with Amazon to deliver smiles.
- Amazon Live: Throughout Black History Month, customers can hear directly from several Black-owned small businesses on Amazon Live. Featured businesses include Puzzle Huddle, Red Bay Coffee Company, Live by Being, Kennedy Ryan, The Cut Buddy, POWERHANDZ, ICONI Leggings, and KaAn's Designs. From February 1 to February 16, customers can connect with these business owners, learn more about their experiences as Black entrepreneurs, shop their products, and hear how they are making history now. Also, on February 3, actress and entrepreneur Tia Mowry and reality TV personality Karamo Brown will be hosting a discussion with some of these small business owners about what it means to be a Black History Maker today.
Supporting Black artists and creators
- Watch engaging content: Prime Video's Amplify Black Voices page will be updated to feature a curated collection of titles to honor Black History Month across four weekly themes (Black Love, Black Joy, Black History Makers, and Black Girl Magic). All titles will celebrate the voices of Black actors, producers, writers, and filmmakers and feature Amazon Originals, licensed titles, and content from IMDb TV, Amazon's free streaming service. In addition, award-winning actress Regina King (who made her feature film directing debut with Amazon Studio's recent release "One Night in Miami...") has curated her favorite Black history–related titles, which are available on Amazon Prime Video throughout the month. Her recommended watchlist includes titles such as "Small Axe" and "Sylvie's Love" (available at no additional cost to Prime Members), as well as titles to rent or buy including "Love and Basketball" and "The Color Purple," among many others.
- Find new playlists and more on Amazon Music: Check out a new slate of content to honor Black History Month, highlighting the lasting and far-reaching impact of Black music pioneers and today's groundbreakers who have defied expectations and racial constructs to create radical and innovative work. Beginning February 5, Amazon Music will host weekly conversations led by Wayno with artists like Earthgang and Masego who have redefined Black artistry. To listen, tune into the Amazon Music Twitch channel at 2 p.m. PST each Friday through the end of the month. Amazon Music listeners can also find an expansive collection of playlists, such as the "The New Black" playlist that shines a light on emerging Black talent and creativity; a new collection of "[RE]DISCOVER" playlists that feature music from influential Black artists; and "PRSM," a brand-new playlist highlighting genre-bending, expectation-defying Black artists coming February 5. In addition, on February 2, Amazon Music will debut the season finale of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Podcast with an episode on the legacy of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," featuring insights on the album from luminaries like Spike Lee, Aaron Neville, Smokey Robinson, Nelson George, and more. Customers can also soon explore a new Amazon Original podcast by artist Adrian Younge and listen to new Amazon Original songs from Mickey Guyton and more. Also, simply say, "Alexa, play Black History Month music," for a brand new, multi-genre listening experience of era-spanning hits from Black artists.
- Read books by Black authors: In a feature called Celebrate Black History Month, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star stores will feature a selection of books that highlight Black authors for both adults and children. Highlighted books for adults include "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X" by Les Payne, "Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019" by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, and "The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation" by Anna Malaika Tubbs. Children's books highlighted include "Sulwe" by Lupita Nyong'o, "The ABCs of Black History" by Rio Cortez, and "Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from the Past and Present" by Jamia Wilson.
- Amazon Logistics will be delivering smiles to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations that empower Black voices and serve Black communities. Through Amazon's NeighborGood program, we have committed to donating $100,000 to a select group of recipients in Atlanta, Georgia; Arlington, Virginia; Houston, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee. Partnering with our local delivery stations and delivery service partners, Amazon will provide in-kind donations of items from Black-owned small businesses and books by Black authors, as well as financial donations that support the company's efforts to invest in education and technology by providing devices to students and families in historically underserved communities.
This Black History Month celebration is the latest in Amazon's ongoing work to support education and racial equality initiatives in communities across the country where its employees live and work. In 2020, Amazon donated $10 million to organizations working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans. Recipients—selected with the help of Amazon's Black Employee Network—include groups focused on combating systemic racism through the legal system as well as those dedicated to expanding educational and economic opportunity for Black communities. Amazon followed this initial donation with an employee match program that resulted in an additional $17 million going to these organizations for a total of $27 million from the Amazon community. You can learn more about Amazon's ongoing efforts in this space on the Diversity and Inclusion page on AboutAmazon.com.
To learn more about these programs and Amazon's ongoing Black History Month celebration, visit our landing page as we celebrate Black entrepreneurship and innovation through the voices of our business partners and employees.