It’s a line frequently thrown around by the militants, hoteps, and ashies.
“Blacks don’t support one another.”
There are directories of Black-owned businesses, marketplaces for Black-made goods and vendors, Facebook groups, Group Me groups, and apps built with the sole purpose of encouraging us to and facilitating our efforts to support one another. So why is the “we don’t support one another” stance so common? We throw it around like it’s written in a textbook somewhere; but if the facts don’t back it up, then why?
Well, anecdotal experience often overpowers facts on this point. Trust and believe, any Black entrepreneur can tell you about many times they’ve felt unsupported. I’m brand-spanking-new to this journey, and I have my own stories. One that immediately comes to mind is an experience I recently had with a local entrepreneur who opened a speciality shop just a short walk from my house. When I first found out about her business, I made it a point to support. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone there and purchased items or even brought other folks with me to experience her store and her products. When I reached out to her via email to introduce myself and ask her if I could come to the store and chat with her about my new business, she gave me the cold shoulder. When I ran into her in person and introduced myself, she looked at me almost as if I had antlers growing out of my head. The next time I came into the shop and brought someone with me to shop, she was there — and gave us an ice-cold reception. I just KNEW that as another Black woman, as a womanpreneur, as a DC local, as a person who knew what it was like to struggle with getting a business off the ground, that she would be more than happy to warmly welcome and chat with me. If for nothing else, because I was hyping HER business and bringing her customers. But, nope. She hit the Heisman on me hardcore.
I’m still new to this game, so yea, it can be discouraging. The people you thought would support you have other sh!t to do, have their own issues to face, or just don’t care all that much. I have close "friends" who don't even respond to my emails or messages when it's a business-related ask. But, any entrepreneur who has stood the test of time will tell you that the quality of the product you offer and the depth of the grind shines through to the right folks with time and patience. And the right folks may not be who you think beforehand. I’ve also have had people I barely know go out of their way to give me resources, connections, and support just because they see what I am doing and want me to succeed.
The truth is, Black-owned businesses fail largely because of systemic issues that bear down on the Black community as a whole - not because we don’t care enough to support one another. Plus, being Black is hard AF. The struggle hasn’t stopped us, but it has shaped us. Sometimes we may feel like we don’t support one another because we just don’t have the capacity to do so in that moment. Or, maybe, we just don’t know about your business.
Yep, it's ya girl, Khadijah. Supporting Black Shit.
Nile can’t fix all the problems of the Black community has, but we’re bringing this digital community to you to help celebrate the amazing strengths of our community. Nile is about connection, and once it launches, business owners will be able to connect with consumers who want their products and support their mission, and users will be able to easily connect with brands that share their values AND discover dope stuff in the process. No one can ever say that ya girl didn’t do something to support Black businesses, amiright?! Nile will make it easy and convenient to *support* Black-owned - so subscribe to our mailing list (just at the bottom of this page) in order to stay up to date on our launch and allll the dope Black shit we’re bringing your way soon.