While the Black Lives Matter movement persistently calls for justice in the face of police brutality against Black people, many are considering the various ways they can help the movement and be allies to the Black members of their community. Globally, there is a call to support Black-owned businesses, be it a small local business or a large online store dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
In an article by Business Insider, Black business owners discussed what it means to support a Black-owned business. Christina Blacken is the owner of The New Quo, a business specialized in professional communication and development. She explained that by supporting Black-owned businesses, allies are recognizing that these businesses are not less than and that those who run it are in no way less competent or qualified. Other business owners included in the article agreed, and many also discussed how supporting Black-owned businesses helps people recognize the accomplishments of Black members of one’s community, as their successes can often be a result of overcoming greater odds.
Many Black business owners said that support from their communities helps level the playing field and fight against entrepreneurial inequality. The article concluded by discussing several ways in which people can support Black-owned businesses. One course of action outlined how allies can plea for equality between business owners of all races, which would call for a leveling of the playing field for Black-owned businesses.
Jabarha Nichols, the owner of Flagstaff’s Kuttz Barbershop and College, said that the race of a business owner shouldn’t matter when it comes to supporting the business.
“I feel like it shouldn’t matter that Kuttz is a Black-owned business. I feel that the community should support all locally-owned businesses regardless of race or religion,” Nichols said. “If a local business is providing quality services, then the color of the business owner shouldn’t matter. I am going to support them regardless.”
Nichols said he believes Kuttz should be supported because it offers outstanding service and opportunities for members of the Flagstaff community. After attending Universal Barber College in Phoenix, Nichols opened Kuttz to turn his life around. Kuttz not only offers quality cuts by professionals, but also teaches its students a trade that can become their career.
“Our mission here at Kuttz is not to give a man a fish, but to teach him how to fish,” Nichols said.
So, with their community-driven motivations and quality of service, Nichols said Kuttz and other Black-owned businesses should be supported just the same as white-owned businesses.
However, many believe Black-owned businesses should be supported more now than ever over other businesses. The Business Insider article also discussed how supporting Black-owned businesses can resume momentum of a call for justice, be it through showing solidarity and standing by the Black members of our community, or through direct contributions to a movement itself.
Rapper André 3000 released a line of shirts with powerful statements, such as “i pray there’s a god at the end of all this,” and “across cultures, darker people suffer most. why?” While these shirts express sentiments aligned with the current protests, they also contribute to a cause even further. All of the profits André 3000 makes from the shirts are to be donated to The Movement for Black Lives.
Buying from and otherwise supporting businesses that contribute directly to a cause, such as The Movement for Black Lives or the Black Lives Matter movement, can be helpful regardless of the race of who runs the business. Even some major corporations, like Glossier and Airbnb, have donated to organizations focused on combating racial injustices like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Black Lives Matter according to an NBC News article.
Regardless, many call for momentum in the Black Lives Matter movement by continuously supporting Black-owned businesses, even if they aren’t local to Flagstaff. An article by New York Magazine outlines 125 Black-owned businesses people can support online, complete with links and product recommendations for each business.
The article, which is titled “125 Black-Owned Businesses to Support,” also discusses how supporting Black-owned businesses can not only support a community suffering from cruel loss and injustices, but also supports businesses that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All in all, Black business owners seem to agree that their businesses deserve equal, if not more, support than businesses owned by entrepreneurs of other races. Be it through shopping, donating, spreading the word or simply standing beside Black business owners, an even playing field and an equal opportunity for success are necessary.