Black Brilliantly: Kohl’s Celebrates Black History Month


By Michelle A. Banks, Kohl’s Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Think about a time you saw yourself reflected in a person or place you didn't expect. Those feelings of pride and confidence stick with you, motivating you to dream bigger. That’s why at Kohl’s, we’re focused on enhancing the customer experience to include products and moments that resonate with all our shoppers. 

As we observe Black History Month and acknowledge the Black community’s profound impact on global culture, we’ve partnered with Erin K. Robinson, Emmy-nominated co-owner and co-founder of Brooklyn Dolly, to design the apparel, accessories and home goods in our “Black/Brilliantly” collection for Black History Month. Erin’s imagination is inspired by travel, color, texture, the feminine shape, and the many shades and coifs of Brooklyn. Erin’s first assortment arrives just in time for Black History Month, and I am thrilled to share that our partnership extends beyond February. I can’t wait to see more of her designs later this year. Take a look at her incredible work below.

In addition to our celebratory collection, we’ve added new Black-owned and -founded brands to our capsule assortment this year, including Dominique Renee, Black Paper Party and Blk & Bold, in addition to products that our customers have been loving, such as Glow By Daye and Mixed Chicks.

Be the change you want to see

As I reflect on this month and celebrate the achievements of our Black ancestors who paved the way for us to chase our dreams, I want us to be proud of our roots and show up as our authentic selves – unequivocally, brilliantly Black – each and every day. To spotlight the importance of authenticity throughout the year, I am excited to highlight a few of our Kohl's associates during cultural months of celebration like this to share personal stories and perspectives.

Kicking off with Black History Month, I was able to catch up with a few of our Black Professionals BRG members, hear their stories and amplify the knowledge of Black leaders. 

Nic Amos, Senior Product Manager Fraud and Consumer Privacy

Why is it important to celebrate Black History Month, and how can we show up for the Black community?

In addition to celebrations, I love to foster career development and mentorship for Black people. I give back to my community by cultivating a mentorship culture, creating programs for various organizations, and interview coaching. By actively engaging in mentorship, we can help Black individuals navigate their career paths, provide guidance, and offer valuable insights. Additionally, I offer interview coaching and assistance that can help bridge gaps and ensure equal opportunities for Black individuals as they grow their career development journey.

What does it mean to show up authentically in the workplace?

Showing up authentically as a Black woman in the workplace means embracing my unique experiences, perspectives, and skills. It's about breaking barriers by confidently sharing my voice and contributing to innovation. This may involve challenging preconceptions and biases and instead celebrating the diverse perspectives and contributions that can drive meaningful change. It also means creating a space where others feel seen, heard, and valued. Ultimately, showing up authentically in the workplace requires courage, self-awareness, and a commitment to dismantling systemic barriers for oneself and others.

Lisa Blalock, Credit Talent Development Designer

What makes you proud of your heritage?

One of my degrees is in history. Growing up, I spent a lot of time learning about Black history, including inventions, reading biographies about those who could overcome so many struggles and still persevere, and seeing our cultural influence spread globally, which makes me proud to be Black. I am amazed that Black people are trendsetters and always have been. Our music, art, food and fashion birth many things we see in this world. I love it and embrace all of it. 

What is one of your favorite nonprofit partners to volunteer with during Black History Month that focuses on supporting the Black community?

I do a lot of work at local churches during Black History Month. People hear a saying around my church: "We must resolve to be involved!" I do work there in hopes that it will impact the city of Milwaukee in a positive light. As a member of the BP BRG, specifically in the Community Pillar, I understand the importance of doing whatever I can to make Milwaukee a great place for all of us. I'm excited because the BP BRG has so much we want to do beyond Black History Month with non-profits in the Black community. For example, we're proud to work with the Greater Milwaukee Urban League.

I want to thank Nic and Lisa for sharing their perspectives. The common thread they spoke to around Community is so important, and building equitable communities will help drive meaningful long-term change. In celebration of this month and Kohl’s broader commitment to driving economic empowerment within BIPOC communities, I’m proud to share that we’ve donated $100,000 to the National Urban League to support its mission to advance economic empowerment, health equity, education, jobs, and housing opportunities and ensure the protection of civil rights for marginalized communities across America. 

Celebrating the Black community sparks emotional connections that drive well-being and belonging. I invite you to make your memories and join us as we use this month to reimagine the possibilities ahead.

Michelle A. Banks