When I saw the words “racist” and “HoneyPot” in a headline on my Facebook feed, I already knew it was about to be some bullshit. I wasn’t wrong.
In honor of Black History Month, Target released an ad featuring Beatrice Dixon, the founder of HoneyPot. HoneyPot is a feminine hygiene company, and is one of the several Black-owned brands that Target has helped grow and stock in its stores. At the end of this Black History Month ad, Dixon says, “[t]he reason that it’s so important for HoneyPot to do well is so that the next Black girl who comes up with a great idea - she can have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.”
Pretty normal considering that she is a Black female founder, and that it’s Black History Month, and that Black female founders are severely (statistically) underfunded and under-resourced? Right? Right?!
This is America, so, of course, wrong. Scores of internet racists came to cry tears on various review platforms featuring HoneyPot, complaining that Dixon specified Black girls in her ad, to the exclusion of historically oppressed and extremely under-resourced white girls. Yes, they truly did. Luckily, Target is not with the shits, and has stood behind its ad, Dixon, and HoneyPot. And Black America is also not here for it, with sales reportedly doubling as we showed up and showed out to support an awesome Black girl founder under attack by the racist majority of America (as usual). The whole scenario reminded me sharply of the ever-apt James Baldwin quote,
“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
I was ANGRY to see how HoneyPot and it’s dynamic founder were being treated. I was wholly unsurprised, but still righteously angry. As Black entrepreneurs in this country, we get scraps in comparison to our white peers. And still we rise! But, as we rise, we better not complain or try to make things better for the Black girls coming behind us, because that’s racist! How dare they! But then again, the entire experiment of white privilege in America is premised on audacity, so there’s that.
It was not lost on me that this story unfolded within the days following Nile’s March 1 launch. This is why we exist. Black entrepreneurs don’t get any of the breaks. We have a harder time getting loans. We have a harder time getting equity funding. We have a harder time getting shelf space. We are discriminated against in the brick-and-mortar rental business. We have to fight and claw for every single bit of space in this world that we take up, and I created theNileList.com to help in that fight. To bring Black-owned brands to the forefront. To make them easier to find and support. To help create a community amongst us, so that we can share information and resources. To make sure that when the next Black girl has a great idea, she has a pathway to make it a reality and a platform that allows her community to support her.
And HoneyPot just so happens to be one of the brands that is listed on our site. If you already knew about the company, great! They’re awesome! If you didn’t, then just imagine how many other dope Black brands there are out there that you don’t know about! We already list over 1,000 Black-owned brands that are available online, and we’re growing everyday.
The HoneyPot debacle is just an example of how important it is for us to support one another. When they come for us, they can destroy us (and often-times do) if we don’t have the community there to make sure our sales double instead of dip. We’ll help you find the next HoneyPot to support, but it’s up to you to make it pop for #AllBlackEverything online.
theNileList.com is a digital platform connecting consumers with Black-owned brands online. The site launched on March 1, 2020, and allows users to search for products they’d like to buy from Black businesses. The site then guides users to Black brands selling those products online. Users can filter by interests, browse various categories, leave ratings and reviews, and even access special discounts with merchants through their free user account. Join the Nile wave today and register your user or business owner account!