The back-to-back murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling shook us to the core. Emotions ranged from helplessness to hope to fear to anger and there was a widespread question of what can one do to change the system. In the Black Lives Matter movement where opinions are varied and conflicting there seemed to be an overwhelmingly consensus to move our dollars.
In the words of the prophet Tunechi “The money is da motive, f*** with da money it get ugly as coyote.”
Lil’ Wayne may be a lot of things but wrong he was not in that line. Money holds power and it cannot be ignored. The Montgomery boycott was successful largely in part to the economic effect it had on the bus companies. According to a recent study by Neilson African-Americans will have a projected buying power of $1.4 trillion by 2020. Add to that the fact that black culture is the epicenter of “cool” there is no reason why we cannot shift our dollars and mindsets to support companies that support us. Support including politically, socially, economically and more.
Know where your dollars go. What brands are in your home now? You might have Brawny paper towels or Angel Soft toilet paper and these brands are under the umbrella of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately owned companies in the US. The Koch brothers, the current owners, are known for their conservative political stances. Your dollars have unknowingly been supporting a huge conglomerate that may not be in line with your personal values.
Do you see the issue?
Yes? Great, now to the afore mentioned solution. Buy black. It’s that’s simple. And don’t just buy black because it’s owned by a black person. Spend some time researching. What do the owners do for their local community? Where do they source their wholesale materials? What kind of people do they employ? All these are questions we should ask anytime we exchange our money for goods or services.
There are several websites and apps that provide lists of black owned business, from everyday necessities to automotive shops and everything in between. To get started you can check out Black Wall Street’s business directory (they have dozens of categories including black owned beauty supplies, thank me later) or the Purchase Black app when you’re on the go.
In addition to buying black there are several black owned banks for you to access for personal and business accounts. You can view a list of minority owned banks here, banks with the code 1 are black owned. Thousands of people have already opened accounts with Citizens Trust Bank, including celebrities like Solange Knowles, Usher and rapper Killer Mike. With the new #BankBlack move the bank has received nearly $1 million in deposits- talk about change!
It is important to note that you must be willing to implement these changes for the long term.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back: these changes are for the long term. Simply purchasing one household item from a minority owned business will not do it, permanently shifting your dollars from one to the other is needed to feel the effect.
It may seem small but these actions will make a difference, especially if enough people do it. Are you planning on buying black? What are some your favorite black owned businesses? Let us know!