“Black American Entrepreneurs Thrive in Mexico, Fueled by Cultural Influence and Business Opportunities”

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Mexico, known for its vibrant expat communities, has become a home for a growing number of Black Americans seeking a new life abroad. While popular expat neighborhoods may give the impression that foreigners in Mexico are predominantly white, there is a diverse population of Black individuals from various countries residing in the country, with Black Americans being the largest group.

Recent media coverage by outlets such as USA Today and Bloomberg has shed light on the migration of young Black Americans to Mexico and other countries, often highlighting the impact of racism in the United States as a motivating factor. Amber Blackmon, an expat interviewed by Insider, explained her decision to leave the U.S., saying, “As a Black American, I didn’t feel safe in the U.S. anymore, so I left the country for Mérida, Mexico.”

While racial issues are mentioned by these entrepreneurs, their stories illustrate that their decision to migrate is multifaceted. Similar to other expat communities, Black entrepreneurs consider factors such as economics, culture, lifestyle, and business opportunities when choosing their new home.

Tiara Darnell, the owner of Blaxicocina, a Black-owned soul food restaurant in Mexico City’s Colonia Narvarte, exemplifies the fusion of Black American culture and their physical presence in Mexico. Inspired by the home-cooked soul food of her Washington, D.C.-based family, Darnell’s restaurant began as cooking events in her apartment and quickly gained popularity. Now located in a beautiful site off Las Americas Park, Blaxicocina proudly showcases its Black American cultural space through murals and a menu featuring classic dishes like fried chicken and collard greens, alongside innovative creations like Buffalo wings with al pastor sauce. While conceptually straddling two cultures, Blaxicocina is a fully Mexican formal business. However, many of Darnell’s colleagues leverage online work to enjoy the advantages of being binational, legally registering their business in the U.S. while residing in Mexico.

William “Bud” Lee, an experienced entrepreneur, ventured to Tulum during the pandemic and recognized an underserved niche in the yacht cruise industry. This led him to launch Yacht Club Company, which quickly gained popularity and media attention. Lee’s exploration continued in Mexico City, where he found new inspiration for his next venture, World City Tours. Unlike generic AirBnB experiences, Lee aims to create intelligent tours in collaboration with local experts, offering a deeper appreciation of the city’s offerings beyond the typical focus on tacos and alcohol.

App developer Mark Bishop developed Join Joyfully, an app providing immediate access to encouragement and advice from trained “uplifters” who specialize in providing reassurance and support. Bishop’s corporate and entrepreneurial experiences, combined with his Afro Roots DNA project, which emphasized the importance of belonging, inspired him to create this uplifting platform. Living in Mexico City, Bishop discovered unique perspectives from Mexican uplifters, technical professionals, and fellow entrepreneurs that influenced the development of his app.

Brian Gerrard, the founder of Hyyer, plays a crucial role in connecting Latin American professionals with employment opportunities in the United States. After selling his possessions in 2019, Gerrard embarked on a journey that led him to Mexico and other Latin American countries. Recognizing the abundance of talented professionals in the region with limited opportunities at home, Gerrard established connections to bridge the gap. Through Hyyer, he aims to place 100,000 Latin American professionals in U.S. companies by 2030.

These Black American entrepreneurs not only share racial identity but also exhibit similar traits such as youth, digital proficiency, and a willingness to embrace risk, developed through previous entrepreneurial experiences and extensive travel. Mexico has captured their hearts, offering new inspiration, business prospects, and a sense of privilege as Americans in a foreign country. While acknowledging their privileged status, they are also mindful of the impact they have on the local community and strive to engage and include it in their ventures, avoiding perpetuating negative stereotypes or displacing local residents.

Mexico has emerged as a welcoming destination for Black American entrepreneurs, offering a supportive environment for their cultural expression, personal growth, and business success. The stories of Tiara Darnell, William “Bud” Lee, Mark Bishop, and Brian J. Gerrard exemplify the range of experiences and opportunities that have led them to thrive in Mexico.