'Black Women Get Us Higher,' Says L.A. Cannabis Dispensary

Bold BIPOC message from Gorilla Rx

Nearly 200 cannabis dispensaries call Los Angeles home, but only one, Gorilla Rx Wellness, is owned and operated by Black women. And they'll "get us higher," according to a bold campaign from Media.Monks agency Decoded.

The work takes a hyper-local approach to introduce Gorilla Rx's recently launched flagship store on South Crenshaw Boulevard. Along with cheeky reference to the shop's merchandise, "Black Women Get Us Higher" serves as a mantra of empowerment for the community.

Components include this 78-by-25-foot mural designed and painted by local artist Fabian A. Perez at the corner of Crenshaw and 43rd Street: 

And eye-catching placements decorate the dispensary's South Central neighborhood:

Such elements drive foot traffic to the shop, while a QR code unlocks a microsite that tells Gorilla Rx's story.

"We needed the campaign to manifest as part of the local community," Decoded strategy chief Valerie Nguyen tells Muse. "While we'd love to have made a beautiful film, that feels like it would be serving the agency's interests more than the business at this moment. As many global and national brands are trying to figure out how to add value to communities, it was refreshing and exciting to work with a brand that was conceived as truly community-first from the beginning."

Decoded developed the work as part of its BIPOC small-business accelerator program, which awards companies $20,000 in media costs and other services.

"At its core, this campaign is conceived as a rallying cry to uplift, support and drive more business to Black women, who aren't given proper credit for their impact on the cannabis industry and culture," Nguyen says.

In crafting the campaign, Decoded drew inspiration from the uplifting and relentlessly badass spirit of Gorilla Rx founder Kika Keith. An activist, mother of three and serial entrepreneur, Keith also helms the Life Development Group and the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association, dedicated to grassroots advocacy and racial justice.

"She has big aspirations not only for her business, but for her entire community and the cannabis industry at large," Nguyen says. "Her brand was worth amplifying and her convictions were contagious. May we only be so lucky to find many more clients like her."

Of late, several efforts have thrust BIPOC businesses into the spotlight. These include Google's #BlackOwnedFriday project, a digital-storefront initiative from MassMutual and The New York Times, and Vans' profiles of Black-owned music shops. In February, Vimeo and Mailchimp engaged Black filmmakers to tell stirring stories of minority-run SMBs worldwide as they struggle to survive amid the pandemic.

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