We need to support more black-owned businesses

Dove and H&M are just a couple of the brands facing backlash for being racially insensitive, given their questionable recent advertisements.  Dove featured an ad that, in a play of editing, depicted a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath, which some took as Dove suggesting that “black” was synonymous with “dirty.”

H&M’s mistake was featuring an African-American child in a sweatshirt that read, “Coolest monkey in the jungle,” which spawned uproar because of the use of the word “monkey” to mean a slur against the community the boy represented.

H&M has since removed the apparel from its shelves, and according to The BBC, eBay has even banned it from being sold on its website.

Shea Moisture, a brand with over 100 years of experience behind its name, had an advert in 2017 that featured white women with silky, straight hair, but the company faced boycotts and backlash because the women in the commercial did not represent the majority of the people who buy the product.

Based on the kinds of natural and curly-oriented products Shea Moisture makes, there’d be no reason for a straight-haired white lady to purchase it, or so goes the logic.  

Each of these corporations have released apologies for their insensitivity, but that hasn’t won back many of the customers they originally offended.

The good news is that it’s still possible to get inexpensive clothing and beauty and body products from trustworthy sources. As it’s Black History Month, we are taking the time to tell you that you, as well as all individuals, should support black-owned businesses.

More and more businesses are being started by minority entrepreneurs — African American entrepreneurs in particular. There have been dramatic changes in the composition of new entrepreneurship since 1996—new business owners are now 40% Asian, black and Latino, compared to 23% two decades ago, according to The Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 startup index.

African American entrepreneurs are more likely to be “necessity-based” business owners, who start businesses out of need, however, black people surprisingly don’t support black-owned businesses, which in turn don’t support the communities where black-owned businesses reside.

There is $850 billion moving through Black consumers’ hands each year, with 90 percent of that amount going to non-black businesses owned and controlled by non-black businesses, according to James Clingman Jr. in a 2010 article titled “Buying Black – the Ebony Experiment.”  That’s a huge amount of revenue that never makes its way to the African-American community.

Unlike other races and cultures — such as Hispanic and Chinese communities, which vigorously support one another’s businesses — black-owned business don’t get the same support within their own community.

This might be because of the stigma associated with African-American products. Some people consider black products low quality and less valuable when compared with products made by another race or a big name brand.

Despite the fact that this is not accurate, the thinking persists both within the African-American community and across all races. There’s also the assumption that there isn’t even any money to be made in black-owned businesses.

Many Black communities are suffering from unemployment, underemployment and many other negative economic indicators that impact their quality of life.

Backing businesses that wholeheartedly support diversity and the black community makes a bigger difference than many people realise. This is not just to suggest that Blacks should only buy from black-owned businesses though.

Rather, not only is it important for black people to support black-owned businesses, it’s important for non-blacks to support black-owned businesses.

Rather than putting money into brands that are already multi-million dollar corporations and inconsiderate of those who financially support them, discover places that actually support persons of color; money speaks volumes, and even your $10 truly has its own significant voice.  

We need to make a conscious shift in thinking and support black-owned businesses because it can create jobs, build up communities and provide economic prosperity. In turn, this can help decrease crime by infusing money into communities, which can then support schools, libraries, community centers and more.

Supporting black businesses allows black families to grow and keeps the big name corporations from stepping in between smaller businesses and constantly apologizing for their “mistakes.”

Not only that, what is good for Black communities, and all communities of color, helps to strengthen the American economy and allows the United States to remain competitive in the global market.

So, we ask you,  in honor of Black History Month — and every month for that matter — to support a black-owned business.


Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash.

1 Comment on "We need to support more black-owned businesses"

  1. You spooks needListen up white people, if the spooks can do it, we can do it too! It’s title we ONLY HIRE WHITE and only SERVE white. From now on, no nig-nogs allows at our title company! We need to fight back and the time is now. They hate us and there’s no reason we should like them!

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