From a consumer’s standpoint, several apps, hashtags, and initiatives have challenged the public to buy from Black-owned companies. Official Black Wall Street, the “Buy Black” campaign, #BlackoutDay2020, and the #BuyBlack30Challenge created by journalist Dorissa White all represent some of the more popular buy-Black trends. These initiatives are simple reminders that not only highlight the power in the Black dollar, but encourage consumers to be cognizant of where and who they’re investing in.
One successful campaign that has been able to quantify the success of buying Black is #MyBlackReceipt. Founded by Kezia Williams, they’re not only encouraging consumers to shop Black, but to follow through and upload their receipts to keep tally. With an initial goal of investing $100,000 into the Black community, they currently have tracked more than $7 million dollars invested into Black businesses. However, these movements are not new.
“We need to highlight how the success of Black businesses supports our broader economic health and amplify examples of thriving Black businesses.” - David Clunie
In John H. Whitfield’s A Friend to All Mankind: Mrs. Annie Turnbo Malone and Poro College, a book about Annie Turnbo-Malone—beauty entrepreneur and the first Black woman millionaire who took Madame C.J. Walker under her wing—he discusses the financial disparities and solutions in the Black community during the 1920s. In the book, Whitfield details how various campaigns like Negro Trade Week and associations like the National Negro Business League were created and took place in former slave states to “spur interest in entrepreneurship and private enterprise… [and] were able to capitalize on the strength of local economies, essentially ‘hiring and buying Black’ as an insular support against racial segregation and discrimination.” For a quick history lesson on communities that created their own Black wealth during the early 1900s see Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, known then as “Black Wall Street,” and the Rosewood Massacre in Levy County.
Almost 100 years later, studies support the economic buying power of the African American community and the Black dollar. According to Nielsen’s 2015 “The State of the African-American Consumer” report, collectively the Black community was projected to be at $1.1 trillion spending power as well as on the forefront of social trends and media consumption. David Clunie, executive director of the Black Economic Alliance, a coalition of business leaders committed to economic progress and prosperity in the Black community, tells Complex via email ways we can increase the value of the Black dollar and keep it in the Black community.
“We need to highlight how the success of Black businesses supports our broader economic health and amplify examples of thriving Black businesses,” Clunie says. “We must change the perception that dealing with Black companies costs more—either by lowering standards or requiring extra effort to make them successful. The more people from all backgrounds understand the economic importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, the more staying-power the Black dollar will have in the long run.”