Like Issa, I root for everybody black. Whether it’s award shows, interviews at my workplace, watching Family Feud…I want to see us win. Even you, Soundcloud rapper. That applies in my day to day life as well, especially living in Boston with it’s well documented racial history, I buy black when I can and when it’s plausible. Of course there’s the common tropes, “black businesses are unprofessional”, “black people always want a hookup” which turns into a chicken or egg argument…perhaps you are a little too comfortable with black consumers, maybe black consumers are a little too comfortable with you. I think about my barber, who on hand asks I make appointments and adhere to them but when I do he has someone in the chair and he’s on the phone. I have no idea how much my haircut actually costs because whether I give him $25 or $30 he just gonna ask how much I want back. Like, it’s been years and I still don’t know if I’m tipping too much too little or at all. I think about so many podcasts I subscribe to that take months off at a time, Christmas gifts I ordered and just got the other day, restaurants with 50 minute wait times and one of my favorite blogs pretty much being reduced to lists and this is what I watched on TV last night. And as a black person I want to support but as a consumer I’m left unfulfilled. It feels my support isn’t earned, it’s assumed.
Of course, it’s impossible to buy all black all the time. I can’t live off soaps, butters, witty t shirts and crafts. I also can’t afford to not see what Amazon and Wal-Mart are hitting on. Woke Phi Woke Twitter like to sell this narrative that Black people are simply brainwashed into supporting larger companies as if there’s a black owned smartphone on the market. I love us, but I’m not rocking Starbury or Big Baller Brand kicks. Tidal isn’t as easy to navigate as Spotify. These are choices I choose to make as a consumer. That money saved can then be used towards black businesses, it could all be so simple.
I think trust also goes into it; the black businesses that win tend to be in skincare, food and clothing. We trust the black twitter skincare guru more than they do Jergens (or a white dermatologist who might’ve studied black hair and skin for a week). A black owned restaurant, we expect the food to be hitting. But then theres the black owned credit union or consulting firm that doesn’t get that same level of trust. Is it because we are just used to us in certain fields? (or, white people stop reading…. Niggas be scamming, B. Like whichever one of your cousins had you on Facebook embarrassing yourselves with that CashApp scheme, or your Twitter fave hosting dinner parties serving meatballs and texas toast, and of course your WCW selling that detox tea). If I left my employer and went out on my own, I’m still capable of the same work I was doing. Except without the backing of a name brand company with customer service and auditing which engenders trust.
So where do we meet halfway? While studies show millennials support black business much more than previous generations (because we’re better than you) we all should be willing to make little sacrifices to support our own. Capitalism is a whole hoe and it’s hard to avoid the giants but in this digital age, apps and websites like Official Black Wallstreet come in handy helping connect businesses with us. Holla at a black florist this #valentimesday, try to find a black dentist in 2018, bring back Fubu…we all we got.