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Small-business owners took over Greenwood Avenue on Thursday.

The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival kicked off a weekend of celebration and education with the Buy Black Community Ribbon Cutting at the Greenwood and Archer Stage. Festival organizers honored new Black-owned businesses through an event that allowed the entrepreneurs to cut their own green ribbons on stage.

“Specifically a green ribbon to represent Greenwood and in light of the ruling from yesterday and the dismissal from Oklahoma’s Supreme Court,” said Kim Roxie, a local entrepreneur. “It feels like some type of celebration for us,” adding that, at the same time, the event’s organizers have sorrowful hearts.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit seeking damages from Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre and alleged subsequent exploitation of the city’s historically Black Greenwood District as a continuing public nuisance.

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Roxie, who founded Lamik Beauty, a Black-owned clean makeup brand, moved to Tulsa from Houston to grow her business.

“I decided to expand my business here because I was so tied to the history here as an entrepreneur,” Roxie said. “I’ve got my strength here.”

Roxie was invited to emcee the Buy Black Community Ribbon Cutting after she won the 2024 Entrepreneur of the Year award through the Greenwood Women’s Business Center.

She described the steady flow of entrepreneurs who joined her on stage as a “marathon of entrepreneurs.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Roxie said.

One of the first entrepreneurs Roxie welcomed to the stage was Curzella Friday Jackson, owner of Creatively Curzella, a Tulsa business that sells body scrubs and more.

Jackson reflected on her life struggles after walking the stage and cutting the ribbon. She said she went through two marriages and that after feeling like she had nothing left, she remembered that she always had her hands.

She got creative and began making body butters, scrubs and other products. It helped her pay off her house and get back on her feet.

“That little bit that I had — I took it, and I made it happen,” Jackson said.

The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival began with the help of an entrepreneur.

The late Sherry Gamble Smith helped start the festival, and her daughters, Lauren Corbitt-Evans and Lindsey Evans, now organize the event.

Roxie said entrepreneurs can find resources and advice at the Greenwood Women’s Business Center, the Black Economic Expo at the Greenwood Cultural Center from June 14-16 and the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce.

The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival is far from over. Tamar Braxton headlines the Saturday festival.

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bella.casey@tulsaworld.com