This writing is dedicated to all of the black entrepreneurs who feel marginalized because their business isn’t “black” enough. You have probably seen those direct or indirect posts on social media. So much for “Unity in the Community”.
In a time of racial tension, the black community has resurged the sentiment that black people should only consume black-owned products. “We should be supporting each other!” With a few stipulations, of course…..
This latest wave had me revisiting the “crabs in a barrel” phrase because that’s exactly who we are. We claim to “love” and “support” our “brothers and sisters”, but we are also picking and choosing who is worthy of support within our community. We are congratulating on the forefront, but engaging in sabotaging behavior behind the scenes.
“Crabs in a barrel”
It’s no secret that I sell jewelry pieces under the name “GlamSc8pe”. I started “GlamSc8pe” as a way to earn extra money for my family. My short-term mission is to be able to help my husband pay off our debts so that we can find better housing and a better school system for our children. We have three children who have special needs. Two of those three children are severely autistic. We currently live in an area that has very little resources and money. This means that my children are not able to get all of the resources and help that they need.
My supplier for “GlamSc8pe” is Paparazzi Accessories. Paparazzi Accessories is not “black-owned”. This fact doesn’t qualify me as a “black-owned business”. That is, according to numerous black people on several social media platforms. This is just one scenario that I have seen scrutinized and deemed unworthy.
Before I get into some things, I just want everyone to know that you are not entitled to support for your business. I don’t care who you are. People are going to spend their dollar wherever they want to spend it.
Are you really buying from a “black-owned” business? Yes, you are creating a transaction from a black face, but did you check the pipeline? Do you know the suppliers? Did you know the supplier’s suppliers? Do you know where some of the revenue is really going?
Every business has at least one supplier. I don’t care if they create their own products or are selling products that they purchased. Unless someone is selling their own piss water, they have suppliers. If that direct supplier is black, do you think they checked who the supplier’s supplier is? Everyone is using something that is not black-owned to run their business. How does that make them different from me? I, a Black woman, purchased something that I profit from. Isn’t that called “Business”?
Where did you get your seed money to start your business? Did that money come from a corporation that is not black-owned? This could be a paycheck from a current or former employer. Did you use that stimulus check? Did you go to a bank for a loan?
You have a building, correct? This could be a home that you are leasing or a building that you are renting. The revenue from your customers is going to whoever owns that place. Not to mention, taxes have to be paid on that building by somebody. Let’s not forget the utilities. How is the electric bill getting paid? Who is paying for water and sewage?
You need supplies to create your product. Where does the fruit come from? Where did the seeds come from to create the fruit? You make shirts? Did you buy those shirts for wholesale price? Who was paid the cheap labor price? Jeff Bezos didn’t get rich on his own. Chances are that you purchased some supplies from Amazon. Was the third party seller black? Well, that third party has to pay Mr. Bezos a portion of his or her revenue. How about your skin care line? We could do this all day…..
How do you handle your transactions? Do you use Square App? Square App was co-founded by Jack Dorsey. Jack Dorsey owns twitter. Square App charges transaction fees after a certain amount of money that is exchanged. Do you use Cash App? Cash App is an extension of Square. Who does your business bank with? BB&T, Wells Fargo, Bank Of America, Chime……
You need to promote your business, correct? What is the easiest way to promote your business? You got it! The use of social media. Where are you advertising it? Facebook and Instagram have been great options. Those platforms are owned by a white billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg. I stated earlier that Twitter is owned by Jack Dorsey. How do you think these people are getting rich?! Social media has been lucrative.
There is so much irony in the fact that someone who screams “Support black businesses!” would use their Samsung or Apple device to tell me on Facebook, Twitter, or instagram that I don’t have a black-owned business.
Dear consumer, when you are shopping “black-owned”, just know that they are sending their revenue to a non black-owned company. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy. Somewhere down the line, a business stops being “black-owned”.
To the people who slight direct sales consultants:
If my supplier doesn’t make qualify me as “black-owned”, what does that make you?
We don’t have to slight each other to support a cause. We all have a mission. We are all trying to survive by providing for ourselves or others.
Don’t call me your “sis” with the same tongue that you badmouth me with. Don’t look down on my business because we hustle differently. Look down on my business because I served you bad business. We all hustle differently, but that doesn’t make us any less.
If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store: