Holding her headphones to her ear, 9½-year old Kaliyah Leavell of Hopkinsville sways to her favorite song, “Candy Girl” by New Edition, as she adjusts the controls on the sound mixer.
The young DJ Dizzy K practices often to perfect her craft in a DJ business she inherited from her older brother.
“I do practice,” she said. “One time, I didn’t practice and I messed up.”
Kaliyah has DJ’d local children’s birthday parties and an ice cream social. She hopes to expand into more kid-friendly events like gender-reveal baby showers, and after-school and church activities.
To network in the community, Kaliyah will be one of more than 30 local vendors at the first Black Business Showcase in Hopkinsville. The inaugural event is slated for 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8 at The Place 2 B, 1405 Walnut St.
“It’s good for her to be out there, not only for exposure, but (for) the idea of her partnering with other businesses and being around a lot of like-minded people,” said her father, Joe Leavell. “She gets to grow and learn from them, as well as share the same stages with them. The best thing about this event and what we’re looking forward to is showing that kids can come together and have a good time.”
Taylor McCarley and her Hopkinsville native husband Brad are organizing the event to celebrate the ingenuity and perseverance of black merchants. The couple owns McCarleys Masterpiece mobile paint party business based in Lexington.
“It’s about putting local black businesses on a pedestal, promoting unity and togetherness with the community,” Taylor McCarley said. “Bringing those goods and services to the community that are of that culture.”
McCarley said they selected Aug. 8 to recognize Emancipation Day in western Kentucky, when historically residents first heard about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
“We wanted to pay tribute to African-American heritage and culture on that day,” McCarley said.
The showcase is a community event for adults and children highlighting a variety of merchandise including jewelry, candles, hair accessories and products, T-shirt designs, food and beverages, and more. Live music, games and giveaways will be a part of the event as well.
McCarley said these businesses may offer products that citizens may not find in larger, brick-and-mortar chain stores.
“Oftentimes people go to stores and can’t find things that fit their needs,” she said. “This showcase is to make available products (and) things I can’t find in local stores.”
One of the showcase entrepreneurs will be Jasmyne Daniels of Hopkinsville. Daniels owns Jazzeddout Case Bar, which offers customized phone cases, pop sockets and many different phone accessories.
“Anything that has to do with an electronic device, we try to make it unique,” she said, quoting her business motto, “What you want. How you want it.”
“You can get pictures, your favorite quotes, scriptures. I can do just about anything,” she added.
Daniels has been employed by a well-known cellular wireless service provider since she was 17. She noticed that customers desired more personalized cases for their cell phones, so she decided to make that option available to the public.
“Being on the front line of this industry inspired my business,” she said.
The majority of Daniels’ business is online at www.jazzeddoutcasebar.com, but she plans to offer product demonstrations on Aug. 8.
“This showcase, even though it’s a black-owned business showcase, it’s not just for the black community,” she said. “I think the support will be massive. It means a lot to me because it is my hometown. Jazzeddout Case Bar started here, and the support they have given me has been amazing. When people actually come and see what I do, I think they’ll like it.”
Daniels said she wants her business to be a legacy for her son.
“I don’t see myself working for someone else for the rest of my life,” she said. “My son, he’s 11. He’s definitely the driving force of my business. I want to pass something down to him besides debt.”
Like Daniels, young Kaliyah hopes that the Black Business Showcase will grow her clientele. Kaliyah also has long-term goals for her business.
“I want to be a basketball player, and I want to keep on DJ-ing,” she said. “My goals are to when I grow up, to take care of my family with the money that I have. I will continue to hope I have bigger things to do.”