The Power of the Black Dollar
By Phillip Hounshell, III
The holidays are upon us once again. For most of us that means shopping, family, vacations, food and plenty of good times. This year, legendary soul singer, Patti Labelle, released her famous sweet potato pie, which is a traditional holiday dessert for many people in the Black community. After trying the pie a social media blogger was compelled to make a video letting the world know how he felt about this treat. The video went viral and inspired people around the country to try the pie and give their reviews. Over the past few weeks, the pie is almost constantly sold out. With a primarily African-American consumer base, Ms. Patti’s pies have grossed a reported $2.3 million in the past week since that video was released. That’s powerful!
Another custom in our community is Black Friday shopping. Every year after eating a big Thanksgiving dinner we make our way to different stores, malls, and shopping centers where prices are drastically marked down to dramatically drive up sales and profits for big businesses. Over the past few years, with racial tension high in America, there have been plenty of people calling for a boycott on the spending spree until a balance is met. Those campaigns have reportedly led to a dramatic drop in profits for big businesses due to those who participated.
The goal in withholding funds during this time is not to put anyone out of business or even to make impoverished people suffer. The best explanation of why it is important to try to uplift and support Black-owned business comes from former Roc-a-Fella CEO, Damon Dash. A Jewish man told him, “We call you (black people) liquid money. The same way that water falls out of a man’s hands, money typically seeps out of a black person’s hands the same way. Your community gets money and immediately gives it all away to the people who aren’t black. We see that as a huge opportunity.”
Banding together and supporting different black-owned businesses and organizations can help our families and communities in so many ways. The fact that other groups of people are seeing the power we have should be enough of a sign for us to begin to actively uplift our own people financially.
Within recent years, black business has begun to grow exponentially. Dealings in all different areas of business have picked up, and they are beginning to stick around. In our own community, here in Rochester, there have been numerous magazines, photographers, restaurants, non-profit organizations and a variety of businesses that have come about. Perceptions are beginning to change for the better. With the current momentum, the power of the black dollar can be recognized and made more powerful by those that are spending rather than the outside recipients.
This holiday season if we support a black-owned business and pass the word when we get good service or products, we can make a difference in multiple lives by doing nothing more than usual.