A friend asked an important question the other day- she wanted to know how we can tell that a business was Black owned. On the surface that may seem like an obvious question but it is a really important one to our business model. And surprisingly, it isn’t often easy to distinguish whether a business is Black owned or not. Here are a few tips we thought we’d share on how we determine if a business is indeed Black owned and the reasons why it is important to us.
- Go beyond the pictures.
The dual pandemics of the virus and racism shone a light on a lot of inequities in our culture. And for a time, many people, including ourselves were asking the question: What can I do? Many companies put out statements regarding their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. An offspring of these statements of support seemed to be a concerted effort to diversify their online presence. IG pages and hashtags immediately seemed to have a more melanated vibe. Awesome for the models. But not a good way to judge the hue of ownership.
As time has marched on though, the feeds are becoming less diverse. We see you.
- Scroll the social media pages.
Many owners have introduced and re-introduced themselves online at some point. As new business owners ourselves- we have done it. It helps personalize our social media presence but it also helps us build our website and page. Many websites also have an ABOUT page or a blog. These also offer insight. Many businesses also have it proudly written in their bios. “Black Owned.” The visuals and the words are super helpful.
- What’s in a Name?
As many people recently learned from hair care products – not every company with an African name is from the Diaspora. Marketing, honey. Marketing.
- Why reinvent the wheel?
Others have done the research for you. There are tons of newsletters, shopping guides and articles that help. Google “Black owned candle companies” and prepare to be overwhelmed. Shoppe Black has a great newsletter with info about all types of companies.
- No stupid questions.
If all else fails- just ask: Is this company Black owned? I know it feels awkward and even rude to be so blunt. But if you want to know then ask. It is your coin, spend them as you please and where it matters to you. Times have changed, you are shopping with purpose. Ask. (Disclaimer: There are instances of individuals claiming melanated ancestry to benefit from the work and trauma of people of color but we hope truth responds to your question.)
Now, I have a feeling some folks are wondering Why shop Black? Isn’t that raci…. Ummm, please let us not go there. A few reasons why we choose to shop Black and share Black and give Black:
- Remember the dual pandemic we spoke of earlier? The former hit small businesses really hard. And when America sneezes, Black folk get pneumonia. Black Businesses were hit especially hard. However, the crazy thing about the latter is that people all over decided to try and fix that problem by shopping Black. But guess what? Many people suffer from situational amnesia and as time marches on so has many people’s shopping dollars. Let’s keep our focus and our purses where they are needed most.
- We have found that many Black owned companies are socially conscious. They sell with purpose and support the environment, social justice organizations, their families. All righteous causes and we want to uplift the righteous causes.
- George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Sean Bell, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Brown, Elijah McRae, Philando Castile and so many more...
And notice our words: We Shop Black we do not support Black Businesses. We support charity, we shop at Macy’s. See the difference? We really do shop at Macy’s- they have been consistent with their stated support of Black Lives Matter.
Hope this was helpful. Stay Blessed, Kenola’s Kin.