By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

by Jamaica Ponder

CHICAGO (CBS) — Jeremy Joyce has made it his mission to spread joy through food and advocacy. With Black People Eats, a company he started to fill the gap in publicity and media attention received by Black restaurants, Joyce hosts annual events to celebrate Chicago’s vibrant array of Black-owned establishments.

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For the full month of October, Black People Eats is hosting their second annual “Blaktober,” a food festival including over 50 Black-owned restaurants spread over the city and surrounding areas.

“Black People Eats was really started because Black people did not have a voice.” Joyce said. “And if they did, it was on mute. I wanted to un-mute the microphone and give them ample opportunity from a media perspective. Because Black restaurants are not really promoted in mainstream media unless they’re in white neighborhoods.”

When he decided to start Black People Eats, Joyce saw a distinct lack of media coverage around Black-owned restaurants, and wanted to help level the playing field. With an Instagram hosting over 157,000 followers, Black People Eats introduces an otherwise untapped audience to Black-owned businesses across Chicago.

Many Black restaurateurs credit Joyce for bringing long lines with new customers to their businesses

“Jeremy has actually been with us the day before the grand opening. He came in, he did a video, and because of him, we literally had a line out the door. So, I always credit him with our success.” said Kristen Ashley, owner of Cleo’s Southern Cuisine.

Due to COVID-19, the festival has had to remain virtual, with restaurants creating their own special menu options and discounted pricing in partnership with Blaktober. Participation is free of cost for restaurants, and they’re able to curate their specials in-house.

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“Why not create something that’s absolutely free for the restaurants? And all they have to do is either curate a special [menu item] or curate a special price so people can afford to come.” Joyce said.

Black People Eats aims to host an in-person Blaktober festival in the years to come, highlighting not just Black-owned restaurants in Chicago but from around the world. Until then, the festival will be running through the month of October. You can find participating establishments on the official Blaktober Instagram page.

Read more about Blaktober on Black People Eats’ official website.

 

 

 

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff