There are certain times when it becomes cool to support black owned businesses. We know, Juneteenth, Black History Month, and increasingly Black Friday. For us at Buy Black Main Street it is more than specific times of year, it is a lifestyle. If these were just treated as times when a Black Owned Business could market themselves, it wouldn’t be a negative thing. However, after and during these occasions, a lot of you treat black businesses with a lack of respect.
Black owned businesses don’t need your pity. They don’t ask for it. What they want is your support, not for you to as an individual behave so flippantly toward your own people. Phrases like “this is black history month and I want to support black owned businesses this month” need to be removed from your vernacular. Black businesses are not just for special occasions. Too many people treat Black Owned Businesses like the corporations that we complain about.
There are plenty of reasons and ways to buy Black all year. We have plenty of examples and companies here. Our goal is to make it easy for you to buy black. It shouldn’t be a moral sacrifice to buy from black owned businesses and businesses don’t expect that of you. What they do ask is that you act in good faith as a customer. It has to become a part of your life for it to have any real and true impact. Buying black needs to be a lifestyle change.
Businesses have to go along with this back and forth in a way that is unfortunate. They have to take the opportunity to get some spotlight while they can. It results in them using up a lot of time responding to threads and requests, many of which aren’t even genuine. They are just ways for individuals to get some engagement and traffic. At this point, some may be reading and asking “how do you know these posts aren’t genuine”. To me, it’s easy to see because actions speak volumes. If these requests were genuine, the poster would use the same energy to let the world know they have ordered from a brand. At the very least they would let us know when you receive the item. They would be leaving reviews. Even more importantly, they aren’t becoming repeat customers. How are they supposed to grow?
If we are going to continue to grow the black community’s influence and cycle the black dollar more, it takes all of us. The village has to be involved and it cannot be based upon the marketed holidays and time periods. But you also have to respect those who are putting their time and lives on the line and taking the risks. Stop lording power over them and put forth real support and don’t be performative.
Juneteenth is coming up soon, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until you support Black Owned Businesses. While it is a good time to try even more businesses as there will be some deals going on, we have to be better consumers. What business owners ask for you to do is fairly simple. Make a purchase, leave a review and tell your friends. Let’s take the time and actually give them the things that help them the most.