I’m AJ, I’m the cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer of MULTI, and I’m a proud Ghanaian-American Texan (born and raised!). In reflecting on what this day means to me, I feel a lot of things.
I feel confusion on ownership, pain regarding historical significance, and a whole plethora of nuances that contribute to the Black diasporic experience. However, overall, I can’t help but feel like the compass of Juneteenth always points back to joy. Therefore, in thinking about how I want to represent Juneteenth as a holiday through MULTI, I want it to be akin to how we have collectively begun to repurpose Black History Month as Black Futures Month: a redirection towards what it means to live Black joy.
When we were first building MULTI, my cofounders and I spoke a lot about how to accurately represent the three of our collective interests and identities while redefining the wellness industry. I thought a lot about what it means for Blackness, specifically my positioning in the diaspora, to be represented in what we are building. Furthermore, as someone that doesn’t intrinsically believe in capitalist institutions, I struggled a lot with the idea of building a business through intertwining ideas and customs previously used by my people. However, I also heavily considered how much joy and connection that I feel when I use wellness products inspired by ingredients, customs, and ideas inspired by Blackness. It’s weird to think of feeling a connection to something so arbitrary like shea butter, but I know that my great grandmother’s daily usage of shea butter - a material that she and her family grew on their own farm and distributed - was a feature of a wellness routine that brought her joy. Therefore, as a formulator and the scientific eye of MULTI, incorporating these ingredients and practices into what we do on a daily basis is a way of honoring culture, and at the end of the day, community.
To all my Black readers, I encourage you to give yourself rest today and tomorrow, regardless of whether your job allows you to. I encourage you to actually do the things that allow you to feel well. When we say “feel good, do good” at MULTI, it’s not just some catchy slogan - it’s what we genuinely want for our community. I fundamentally don’t believe that any corporation is the solution to freedom, but we hope that we can at least help you feel a little better in the process.
So with that said, happy Juneteenth, and get some rest.
All the best,
Chief Scientific Officer & Cofounder of MULTI ☻