Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and #CIROCStands feature trailblazing Black Chicagoans

In celebration of Black Excellence Month, CÎROC and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs unveil the newest iteration of their ongoing community-centric platform #CIROCStands.

#CIROCStands is an initiative that supports Black and Brown voices through original video spotlights, visuals and billboards, sharing inspirational true stories of progress, achievement and success.

The next leg of the campaign takes the #CIROCStands mission to Chicago, the windy city known for its entrepreneurial spirit and hometown pride, where it will be amplifying the success stories of four trailblazing Black Chicagoans. Teaming up with former Chicago basketball player Joakim Noah, media personality Angela Yee returns to highlight the bold and ambitious spirit of these local voices, sharing their unique stories in their own words.

“I’m so thrilled that I got the chance to interview these remarkable Chi-town heroes,” says Angela Yee. “They’re making such a profound impact in their communities, providing inspiration to future generations and even this generation. According to NBC News, American Black business owners increased by a staggering 38 percent from Februaury 2020 to August 2021. I think it’s the perfect time to share these stories of Black excellence with our community so that even more people can realize that their dreams are within reach.”

“As someone who’s made Chicago home over the years, I’ve always been proud of how much Chicagoans support their own and continue to build the Black community,” says Joakim Noah. “These community leaders, each of whom has carved out their own individual paths to find success here in Chicago, should inspire others to think creatively, work tirelessly and seize their destinies by establishing their own businesses in their own communities.” 

“The stories of Black Excellence shared by these trailblazers are so incredibly inspiring and uplifting,” said Adrienne Cuschieri, Brand Director of CÎROC. “Through #CIROCStands, we are able to amplify these stories to the world and hope these examples of vision and ambition showcase that Black Excellence is something to be celebrated and acknowledged all year round.” 

“CÎROCStands is not a moment, it is a movement,” says Alaina Long, Vice President, Global Marketing, Combs Enterprises, Spirits. “This program has evolved with the needs of our community, and we are proud to support entrepreneurs and businesses that represent our consumers.”

The #CIROCStands Chicago profiles include:

–          Ian Gonzalez of Last Lap CornerstoreSouthside native and resident owns Last Lap Cornerstore, the first and only Black and LatinX-owned running store on the South Side that’s quickly become a fixture in the community. Through his passion for running, Ian creates accessibility to nutrition and proper running gear for Black and Brown runners. 
–          Danielle Mullen of Semicolon Bookstore & GalleryDanielle is the mastermind behind Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery, Chicago’s largest Black-woman-owned bookstore and gallery. Originally from Florida, she’s made a home in Chicago and uses her passion for books to increase the literacy rate in Chicago, creating a space that nurtures the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge, to share Black stories and Black voices.
–          Midge Welch of Issues Barber and Beauty Salon. Midge grew up around the corner from the salon she now proudly owns in the South Loop, which serves up culture, community, and cuts.  An inspiration for Black women in the community, Midge has dedicated 17+ years to building an experience for Black men and that feels welcoming, while making people feel beautiful through her unique cuts, styles, and conversations.
–          Darris Kelly and Sabrian Sledge of Flee Club ChicagoBest friends Darris and Sabrian own Flee Club, a sneaker and fashion boutique located in the heart of Chicago that specializes in rare shoes and apparel. What started as a side hustle to sell unique, used sneakers is now a brick and mortar and hailed “the best consignment shop in Chicago.” Originally from the West Side, the owners always had an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for their community, making the perfect home for Flee Club right in Chicago, showing that you can overcome trials and find success despite your environment.

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