Business & Finance | June 29th, 2020

Black-Owned Businesses Have Seen a Surge in Support

By: Kamryn Marshall
Black-Owned Businesses Have Seen a Surge in Support

Protests for racial justice have continued to rise in cities all over the world, intensifying the urge to support Black-owned businesses. In the days following the death of George Floyd, the renewed interest to pivot purchasing power saturated social media. Users shared their favorite businesses on timelines to make it easier for consumers to find Black-owned businesses in every realm. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the prevalence of police brutality and racial injustice in America. Many believe rectifying the racial wage gap and the intersection between racism and capitalism is a stride in the right direction. This eagerness to put money into Black businesses is to potentially increase the reserves of wealth within the Black community.  

“If you want to support a Black-owned business, I think that it is necessary for you to understand why you are not supporting Black-owned businesses originally,” said Ciara Herring, the founder of From The Rib. “That will help you become a lot more passionate about doing so.”

The Cleveland native founded From The Rib as a small Black-owned business conglomerate that allows Black entrepreneurs to expand and promote their businesses on a central website. The website consists of holistic products ranging from herbs to hair care. Herring says the mission of From The Rib is to cultivate an economic backing for Black-owned businesses to establish a state of holistic wellness for the Black community. 

“I feel like we are not often taught business but we understand the idea of failing,” said Herring. “I think helping the black community truly start to understand not just wellness but to teach the entrepreneurs that are on this site what global and international business looks like. To be able to look outside of our community and this nation to really start to optimize our ideas and goals.”

The effort of African Americans to achieve wealth has a long history of disruption. Most notably, historians look to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 that devastated the economic infrastructure of a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Okla. Under attack by a mob of white residents, the affluent Greenwood District of the city, which was home to Black Wall Street and many Black-owned businesses, was set ablaze. 

This left many African Americans in turmoil as they found themselves homeless, without jobs and in fear for their lives. These historical ramifications remain apparent as generational wealth is passed down to serve as the foundation for the family’s accumulation of more wealth. Many African Americans believe if they cannot alter the wage gap now, it will take longer for wealth to evenly disperse within their community. 

In a report by Guidant Financial, today’s climate reports 33 percent of Black entrepreneurs note that they are very confident about small businesses. Even with this optimism, cash flow is the biggest threat faced by black business owners and often gives them no other option but to cease their operations. This is why the increased urge to support black businesses in this current political climate has caused a great impact on Black businesses, especially smaller ones. 

Grace Irvin-Dillard owns Touched by Grace Body Care, a company that hand makes body products from natural herbs and oils. Irvin-Dillard opened her business to help build the confidence of the people in her community and is now experiencing a great increase in sales following the impact of COVID-19 and protests for racial injustice.

“There is a lot of black unity right now and we are seeing that all these companies don’t really care about us,” said Irvin-Dillard. “If we want to make the black community wealthy and if we want to do stuff for ourselves, we have to do it ourselves.”

Social media is a great tool to support Black business owners though to truly contribute these entrepreneurs need monetary support to stay afloat. Racial equality within the wealth gap can be amplified as the Black dollar starts to circulate within their communities.