As protests and demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice continue to rage in almost every major city in the US, many people who aren't on the front lines are behind the scenes, contributing to the cause in other ways. Aside from spreading awareness and donating to funds that benefit protesters who've been hurt or arrested and others directly impacted by the current state of events, droves of people on social media have also began stressing the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses right now and always.
A major takeaway of the last week is that the public is currently fighting two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism, both of which are affecting Black Americans and business owners at a disproportionate rate. The unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (to name a few) have only reinforced that idea, which is why many consumers are now making an effort to reevaluate where they spend their money.
There are tons of graphics and threads online that designate which businesses deserve our support right now, but supporting Black-owned brands goes far beyond just buying products.
". . . think about how you can uplift other black voices around you."
"More importantly than purchasing from us, what we really want you to do is think about how you can uplift other Black voices around you," Akilah Releford, founder of Mary Louise Cosmetics, told POPSUGAR. "How can you be a champion for diversity in your own life? This can be as simple as speaking up about a lack of diversity in your workplace, calling out an injustice when you see one, and recommending your favourite minority-owned businesses to others."
Shelley Davis, who founded natural hair-care brand Kinky-Curly, also stressed the importance of speaking up in support of those around you. "Speak up when you see injustice. Speak up when you see someone getting hurt," she said. "Remember that silence equals violence. Join or donate to your local Black Lives Matter chapter. Join or sign a petition for Police Reform to end police brutality."
You can also amplify these brands and the voices behind them by simply following them on social media and engageing with their content to get a better understanding of their products and the mission behind their companies. "Buying product is always of great benefit, but an area in which we find we need significant support is in communicating the value of [our] products to consumers," Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola and Anne Cheatham, founders of Nuele Hair, said. "Ask us questions about hair product ingredients; we have resident experts within our business and network who can respond to concerns that you may have."
If you're in a position to buy from any of your favourite Black-owned businesses, you absolutely should — if you don't know of many, check out our favourite Black-owned beauty brands here. If you're unable to make a purchase, don't forget about the other ways you can show your support.