Publish Date: July 8
What is the ‘Black Dollar’?
It is the economical investment from our community, that has long been put into the pockets of major corrupt corporations. There are about 50 million Black people in America, and collectively, our community is responsible for giving almost $1.4 trillion to businesses around us.
“We control $1.4 trillion of commerce. That’s what the Black dollar is valued. We go out there, and spend $1.4 trillion a year and growing; And we have the least amount of ownership, the least amount of consideration, and we are the least respected, and the most disregarded.” —T.I.
For many generations, leaders, activists, writers, and others have spoken through their speeches and novels to speak to the Black community to tell them that our freedom lies in our commitment to uplift our own community. Activists like, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and many others often said that the key to a change for Black people was unity amongst ourselves. They believed that we should build up our own neighborhoods, invest our money in each other, opposed to giving the white man, who further oppressors us, another dime. Through economic and community growth this will allow Black people to prosper in more than one way.
“…We have to become involved in a program of reeducation, to educate our people into the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer, the community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer. And because these Negroes, who have been misled, misguided, are breaking their necks to take their money and spend it with the Man, the Man is becoming richer and richer, and you're becoming poorer and poorer. And then what happens? The community in which you live becomes a slum…The conditions become rundown…” —Malcolm X The Ballot or the Bullet (1964)
We often times give our money away to businesses that could care less about our lives but don’t mind opening our wallets. These are the corporations that profit off of prison incarceration (using prison labor), as well as the businesses that have no problem giving stacks of money to the Trump administration. When we take back the power of the Black dollar it is to show this country that we will not invest in business that do not invest positively in us. They think cancel culture is bad now, well we need to show them how bad it can be by taking our money and doing better for ourselves.
We have more power than they want us to believe. When we take our money from their pockets, it is a statement. I know what some of you might be thinking—Okay, my one trip to Wendy’s isn’t going to change nothing or These big corps will thrive regardless. Look, I know how hard it can be to just stop using or going to some of these businesses that we have used for years, and we can’t control when or where you need to get something from. However, what is suggested is to try…Before you automatically just go to the brand you’re accustomed to, look up and see if a Black business has what you are looking for. It has always been the time for us to invest in ourselves…always. Do your research, see what’s out there. And if you are really passionate about a product that you can’t find Black owned—Well, then you better become a damn entrepreneur and make that sh*t!
Often times you will be very surprised at all the Black owned brands you didn’t know existed. It’s time to rely on ourselves, to invest in ourselves. I know you see all these corporations jumping out of the blue with all this support of Black lives…but don’t believe the hype. Just ask yourself how long did it take for these businesses to speak up on and make these changes? To create different shades of bandaids, and to say that they support Black people…I know we all see these brands are acting like Black people just came out. I say it again…Don’t believe the hype.
Ownership of the Black Dollar is freedom. We need to take back ownership of our economic worth and put our money to uplift our own communities. So, take the time to understand the power you do have (even when they make us believe we don’t), and I just ask that before you give your dollar to these big white corporations, that you just look within your own community first and share your value with people who always knew your life mattered.