Let me just rock with it for a minute… Sips Tea
The question I want us to all ponder is, where will you be when the dust settles? Will your voices still be as loud? Will you still be hashtaging #SupportBlackBusiness ? Will this overwhelming support for Black people and Black businesses still be here when we reach the other side?
As a Black person and business owner, the past few weeks have been exhausting. While I have become more motivated than ever, I’m tired. During this time I have been filled with mixed emotions of sorrow, anger, and somehow optimism. I’ve been in the streets marching and protesting, while still having a full time job and a business to run.
This past week, the support I’ve received for my business has been overwhelming. My entire inventory sold out, I gained 1,000 new followers on Instagram, and have been included on countless “Black Owned Business” lists. While I’m joyful and appreciative of the support, I still have to wonder, where were you before?
This new “trend” of supporting Black owned businesses leaves me with many questions and a subtle side eye. Black businesses have always been here. Providing quality products and excellent services for generations. And yet the lack of promotion and overall support through the years, in comparison to white businesses is beyond troubling.
But, we’ve been here before. Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and countless others. There has always seemed to be in increased support for Black businesses when one of our own is murdered by police. But when the smoke clears, so does the support.
So, here we are yet again. Protesting the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbury, and many others. Again, here you are to support our businesses for the moment. But I ask again, how long will you be here? Supporting Black own businesses is not a fad or a trend. Systemic racism doesn’t end and begin with police brutality, but is wide spread in the economy.
For generations, Black businesses have battled the highest interest rates, red lining, lack of resources, and lack of promotion. Getting a business off the ground is not for the weak, and we as Black businesses constantly prevail without outside support. There are 2.6 million registered Black businesses in the United States. These businesses generated $150 billion of the $2.07 trillion made by US corporations in 2018. While these numbers are rising, we’ve had to scratch and fight for every bit of it and still have a long way to go.
It’s a shame that it takes Black men and women dying for you to feel moved to support us. But since you’re here now…Will you continue to support Black businesses? Will it be a part of your everyday life or just during Black History Month? Will you ignore that your Board of Trustees and all of your senior positions are all white? Will you continue to not be bothered that there are only 1 or 2 Black business (if that) at your farmers markets or city-wide festivities? When you come through our doors, will you keep coming back?
What will you do? How will you do it? All I ask, is that whatever you do, you do it genuinely. Be loud for us for years to come, as you are today. Support us not because it’s popular. Support us because we, as Black owned businesses, are excellent and deserve to be supported