Charlotte blogger Erique Berry tackles the rise of black cuisine

WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF ERIQUE BERRY
Food blogger Erique Berry connects readers with black-owned restaurants, recipes and wellness tips via #EatBlkCLT.

Erique Berry is inspired by food from his roots.

She sees cooking as a way to bind communities together. Not only does this provide comfort, but it can have health benefits, especially during the chaos of a pandemic.
Berry began her culinary journey as a daughter, spending hours in the kitchen with her mother preparing Southern-style dishes. As she grew up, her love for food blossomed. Throughout high school, Berry cooked for family reunions and late-night dinners at home.

Berry has many talents, but food has always been a priority. She attended North Carolina A&T State University, where she obtained a degree in applied mathematics. Directly after graduating, she taught mathematics for eight years. When her mother passed away in 2015, Berry was brought back to the kitchen by memories of her past and turned that passion for food into a blog in tribute to her mother.

The site offers recipes and wellness advice. “I think even though people try to characterize southern cuisine as unhealthy, it’s pretty healthy,” she said. “What I want to share with others, especially black women, is how food can actually help mental health because it’s a big part of our mood and how we feel.”

Not only does Berry share her love for food, but she empowers others to do the same. She sees social media as a perfect outlet for promoting a business, but understands that not everyone knows how to use it effectively. Berry, who highlights social media management tips on his website, believes that a good social media strategy has the power to connect a business with more customers, increase the number of viewers on a website. , increase brand loyalty and promote food in a unique way.

“A lot of times businesses and individuals think Instagram or Facebook is just about posting,” she said, “but everything you do on social media has to have a purpose and a direction. You have to ask yourself what you want to inform your audience.

After the pandemic, Berry wanted to give back to the black community. With the help of a few foodie friends and colleagues, the #EatBlkCLT hashtag movement was born. The goal was to attract more customers to businesses and offset some of the financial hardship caused by the pandemic.

“We noticed that there was a lack of digital media for black-owned restaurants,” she said. “We got together and started the hashtag EatBlkCLT as a way for people to support these businesses. People could add a hashtag to their Instagram post about their restaurant experience.

The Eat Blk Charlotte account currently has 14,000 followers and over 7,500 Instagram posts use the hashtag. The movement not only encourages the public to dine at black-owned restaurants, but also tries to support their long-term success.


“In June 2020, we offered workshops to black businesses,” Berry said. “One of the workshops, hosted by Social Media Charlotte, discussed how restaurants can reach audiences through social media. We want to create a space for black kitchen content creators and support them on their journey. ”

Berry wants to see more support for black-owned restaurants in the digital media space in the future.

“From social media to websites to [public relations], it’s important to just get support and resources for businesses, ”she said. “Restaurants can’t always afford a dedicated PR or social media person. We want to offer these workshops to restaurateurs so that they can manage them themselves and fill this gap.

As the director of Eat Blk Charlotte, Berry wants to shed light on black food bloggers, restaurateurs and content creators who don’t always grab the attention of the mainstream media. This is the objective of the initiative: to present their unique creations to a wider audience.

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