How he's making a difference:
Creative Director at BlaCkOWned™ Outerwear/ Owner at blaCk Coffee / Community Activator
Years in the region:
30 years (spent 2 in New Orleans 2009-11)
Means Cameron is a native born Cincinnatian. At a young age, he got his first taste of entrepreneurship as the neighborhood’s Candy Man. Soon after, Means realized that he could make more money selling shoes and clothing to people who wanted to dress the way he did. The shoe business ran dry quick, but the fashion side of things followed Means to Miami University where he studied marketing. It was at Miami University (Ohio), where Cameron got a better understanding of consumerism and engaging customers. It was also at Miami University where Cameron gained a larger following for his art, pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and became The First African American to receive Homecoming Honors at the Predominately white institution.
Today, Means is Owner Operator of the clothing brand BlaCkOWned™ Outerwear. Since its launch in 2011, the brand has been recognized as Brand of The Year (Atlanta, GA, Ingrushi), Top 3 Cincinnati Men’s Boutiques (Cincinnati Magazine) and has had the day November 16th proclaimed as ‘BlaCk OWned Day’ in the city of Cincinnati. Means and his team are using the growing notoriety to create a brand that transcends race, generation and location. This same concept is the bases of Cameron’s new venture blaCk Coffee Lounge, which is a local ‘culture shop’ serving great coffee. One of his favorite quotes is “behind every great business owner is a better cup of coffee”. Through his contributions as an entrepreneur it is Means’ goal to inspire the community to move as a unit and to serve one another.
Love most about the region:
I love that I am in the middle of the change in Cincinnati where more young people are getting involved.
Energized after a long week by:
Being in the studio recording good music. I live the week through, then at the end of the week I am able to tell the story through the music.
Favorite Cincinnati-unique offering:
I love the Cincinnati skyline. When you cross into Cincinnati on the Kentucky side and you see the big Cincinnati sign. It’s unique. As soon as you get here, we’re letting you know where you are at in a really cool way.
Being able to create something that will live longer than I will. That I went for it. I rarely understood the word “no”. I am able to leave behind something that my relatives can be excited about, something that will live longer than I will. Bring something to the table that people will consume, be excited about, and take as their own and represent.
Advice for emerging African American leaders:
Be relentless. Nothing comes easy. You will hear a lot of “no’s” but it’s all about becoming the best you. Figure out a way to get the project done. Your job is to advance the culture, and you can’t give up.
Cincinnati as a “future city” means:
Cincinnati is on its way of becoming a major city. There is so much growth from highways to new businesses. I would love to see a connection between the previous generation and our generation. Once we find the middle ground, this city will become a booming city.