Thank you to our readers and content contributors for distributing 4,000 copies of BBG across West Virginia!
You can view the first print edition of BBG online: HERE.
Special thanks to all our Paper People like Martec Washington of Charleston - who delivered BBGs in our delivery bags available for order!
As we plan for our fall print edition, you can expect our newsletter, cartoons, and some live conversations on Twitter Spaces in the in-between. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @Black_ByGod for updates.
One of the best BBG surprises from our print was our readers finding their way into local Black businesses to pick up a copy and Black businesses finding their way to us! So tell us about your favorite Black-owned businesses’ in West Virginia!
Meet WRIGHTOUS WEAR - a Black-owned business by Martinsburg, WV native Mr. Damon Wright.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Damon Wright, and I was born and raised in Martinsburg, WV. I’m a graduate of Shepherd University with a degree in Computer Programming and currently employed with the U.S. Dept. of Justice. I’m also the Chairperson for the Berkeley County Schools Diversity Council, a board member for Community Alternatives to Violence, and volunteer as part of a group that works with local police and community members to make changes within policing. I started my own business in August of 2020 called Wrighteous Wear. It’s a Christian apparel brand focused on providing quality t-shirts, hoodies, and accessories to people who want to have a unique way to share their faith or learn about God.
Why did you choose to go into this business?
I know God had been putting shirt design ideas in my mind for years, but I wasn’t living the right way. I was straddling the fence and playing church. The pandemic, the unrest over the summer, and my steps to live more for Him than for me all factored into why I chose to go into this business. I saw a lack of people really being dedicated to following scripture. Instead, they would follow someone or something to make them feel good about whatever they did rather than what the Word actually says. The popular shirts I would see would have sayings like "Faith," "Love," "Peace," and "God is dope," etc. I would always ask myself, "Faith in what?" "Loving what? "What God?" I also knew that people needed to see and hear a different story. As a Black man, I want to show that the typical Black male is not what the media has tried to portray us. We are educated, hardworking, and family-oriented.
What is your brand about?
My brand is about getting those in and out of the church to stop, think, and choose to live for the God of the Bible over everything. The name of my brand is not just a play on my last name but a call to true righteousness. I believe our world has so many issues because the Church has failed to live up to what the Word says. We have traded convenience for obedience.
How do you come up with ideas for your merchandise?
Great question. The ideas for my shirts have been coming to me for years. Most of them I get through sermons, conversations with people, music, movies, television, and prayer. I’ve had God wake me in the middle of the night, and I can’t sleep until I put a note in my phone. I’ll then sketch out the design, and my designer or I will create something to put on a shirt. I’ll then make some mockups of the designs on the computer and see what others think about it before deciding to spend money on getting the shirts printed.
What designs do you like the most?
I like all my designs, of course, but I think those people seem to be drawn to are my "Your Life Matters" design, "Walking in Christ," and "Unworthy but Chosen." "Your Life Matters to Me and to God" came to me after the protest and controversy over the use of the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and the usual "All Lives Matter" rebuttal.
I knew that if people truly followed scripture, they would show that all lives matter inactions, including laws, treatment, and working toward equity.
But things would not improve as long as the sins of racism and hate were allowed to continue. Very little progress would be made. So I wanted this design to be a conversation starter that would lead to healing in many different areas from race to those dealing with addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.
"Walking in Christ Dead to Sin" design gets heads turning almost every time I wear a shirt or hoodie. People that like the show, the song "Dead Man Walking," or know the scripture will stop, and we’ll have a conversation. "Unworthy but Chosen" came from the title of my brother’s gospel album.
The song itself speaks about those in the Bible that we would deem unworthy, but God chose them to fulfill His purpose. My newest design is B.L.A.C.K. (Boldly Living Accepting Christ as King). This one reemphasizes not only our love for being Black but, more importantly, our love of God and our desire to live for Him.
Where can readers go to hear more from you or make a purchase?
To hear more about my company, you can go to www.wrighteouswear.com, Instagram.com/wrighteous_wear, or on Facebook at facebook.com/wrighteouswear. You can also feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Runner up
Mrs. Golden Delicious 2021
Dr. Elisha Lewis 👑
On June 26, 2021, the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Pageant was held. The Golden Delicious Pageant is a preliminary pageant to Fairs & Festivals and the Mrs. West Virginia America. Sixty contestants were competing in 11 different categories. Of those categories, Dr. Elisha Lewis, a Black woman representing Kanawha County, placed as the 1st Runner up for Mrs. Golden Delicious 2021.
Dr. Lewis is a West Virginia State University professor, an Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member, and a married mother of four children. Dr. Lewis will represent Kanawha County as Mrs. Kanawha County in the Mrs. West Virginia America pageant in August 2021.
News To Know And Some You Wish You Didn’t
Dan Dudley becomes Wellsburg’s first African American mayor.
The battle for voting rights came to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin's backyard this week, as the mustard seed-sized Black population of the state got reinforcements from across the country.
With ongoing blood shortage, Delegate Walker holds blood drive in memory of her late son.
West Virginia infant mortality rates exceed the national rate.
West Virginia is Trading Trump for Tech Workers
The population is fleeing, jobs are disappearing, and coal isn’t coming back. West Virginia’s boldest plan to reverse the slide is bribing white-collar workers to move from out of state - featuring Del. Walker.
Well. And that’s a deep subject.
It’s been almost a year since I launched the first BBG newsletter, and I have now completed my third degree, a Masters in Media Solutions and Innovation from WVU School of Journalism through the Newstart Program.
I am thankful to all the people who have made my education possible and those who offer me and, Black By God, your enduring support.
Nikole Hannah Jones, one of the great journalists of our times, declined tenure at UNC-Chapel Hill and is taking her talents to Howard University, and I am reminded to have the courage to leave when people and places no longer serve us.
Hopefully, you have read Charleston attorney and native Hollis Lewis's article, “A Seat At The Table Can Lead To Being On The Menu.”
His story echoes the need to demand more!
May we all have the boldness never to settle and take our talent and gifts to places that nurture and celebrate our presence.
In this, we know that the opinions and voices of Black West Virgiainas are not monolithic. Instead, Black By God seeks to represent our unique Black Appalachian voices.
Would you please take a moment to fill out our Community Media Needs Assessment?