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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards


Finalist in Social Activism


RetailWhileBlack founder Marissa Kearney is working to improve the retail experience for Black-owned businesses and African American shoppers.While shopping at a local Target during a time of racial unrest and reckoning, Marissa was surprised and encouraged by the discovery of Black Santa figurines, an item that has long been considered a symbol of Black empowerment and representation. The term “Living While Black” and the racial profiling associated with it has contributed to the frustrations of a community and often end in tragedy. Marissa decided something needed to change and from that point she was motivated to change the negative stereotypes associated with “while Black” shopping experiences and share the joy of representation with the world. Inclusive shopping expert Marissa Kearney is an influential content creator, using her platform to highlight Black-owned and Black-founded brands while bridging a gap between retailers and consumers. Through her Instagram and Tik Tok pages, TargetWhileBlack and RetailWhileBlack, with over 550k followers, Marissa frequently features big-box retailers, including Target, JCPenney, HomeGoods, Walmart to improve the shopping experience through content that carefully tells the stories of Black- owned and founded businesses. 

Strategy and Execution

In 2020 she began creating content that amplified Black-owned and founded businesses while giving a glimpse of a different Black shopping experience. Her advocacy, entertaining perspective, and informative content has made her one of the industry’s most sought-after influencers in the shopping education industry. Kearney has built a digital and multi-platform social media community that showcases the quality of Black-owned businesses and the customers that gravitate to their brands. She meticulously reviews their products and offers insight into the company’s respective journeys onto the endcaps of big-box retailers. Adding storefronts on Amazon and Etsy, which serve as a directory for purchasing Black-owned brands online, to her ever-expanding portfolio, Kearney’s advocacy, entertaining perspective, alongside informative content has made her one of the industry’s most sought-after influencers in the shopping education industry. Marissa's mission is to change the perception of shopping ‘while Black’ by creating a close-knit and supportive community of consumers, brands, and retailers working together for representation and inclusivity. 


Her desire to reimagine the stigma “while Black” carries has heightened visibility for many brands, increasing the value businesses have for Black consumers. Marissa continues to construct more inclusive shopping experiences while elevating the image of Black-owned and founded businesses and the perception of Black consumers in her own creative way.  Marissa has promoted Honey Pot, Scotch Porter, Be Rooted and many more Black brands found in retailers like Ulta, Macy's, Nordstorm, Publix, Whole Foods and Target. Her advocacy, entertaining perspective, and informative content have made her one of the industry’s most sought-after influencers in the shopping education industry. TargetWhileBlack and RetailWhileBlack’s unique, entertaining, and authentic content has led to Marissa forming partnerships with some of the largest brands in the world. Sprite, Beauty Bakery, Green Top Gifts, and Black Paper Party are just a few of the companies that have lined up to work with the influential content creator. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

First and Last PR, RetailWhileBlack


Entry Credits