Audra Robinson, a resident of Brooklyn Park, has been growing a business that strives to empower Black girls. After working in the retail marketing industry she created Rocky Robinson, an animated character and brand, to fill a void in the market.
“I saw a gap and opportunity to create a brand that was unmistakably a Black girl, with deep skin tones, highly texturized hair,” Robinson explained in an interview with FOX 9 in June. “When you walk down the aisles, you don’t see brands that really are authentic and speak to that consumer.”
The brand’s Facebook page states, “Rocky Robinson was created to encourage Black girls to love themselves from the inside out and to foster a love of reading, education and self respect.” The message goes beyond the product. Her website features games, tips for young girls and blog posts that feature positive role models.
The message of positivity permeates every level of the brand. From the website to the label, words of encouragement are prominently featured. Promoting these messages is very important to Robinson, as she strives to help girls be proud of and love who they are.
“At the root of Black culture is a force to love yourself,” Robinson explained. “From the 70’s ‘I’m Black And I’m Proud’ and ‘Black Power’ proclamations, to today’s ‘Black Girl Magic’ and ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we had to create those anthems and movements for ourselves, as we couldn’t look to media, entertainment, et cetera to reinforce who we are. Even today, there continues to be a lack of positive images that reflect our beauty, are culturally relevant and show the many things Black people are. We are not monolithic, we have many experiences within our community and those narratives need to be told.”
The brand allows Robinson to give back to the community and support people in need. Currently, there is a product in its store to allow patrons to donate directly to youth affected by COVID-19, and by uprisings and displacement from the recent protests following the murder of George Floyd.
“From the very beginning, my goal was to create a brand that has a heart and mission; to help girls see the possibilities for their lives, and to give back to help put black girls through college and support programs that provide better outcomes for Black girls.”