AFRICANGLOBE – I get excited when I see an important cause and initiative get the type of attention and support it desperately deserves. Such a cause has been in the public eye of late – ALS.
There’s no denying that the phenomenon known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” has been unbelievably successful and has spread across the country to bring attention to ALS; a cruel and devastating disease that is worthy of everyone’s attention and support.
For those of you who’ve only enjoyed the hype surrounding it; you should know that ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
As of Friday, August 29, The ALS Association had received $100.9 million in donations compared to $2.8 million during the same time period last year, with donations not only coming from existing donors, but from over 2.1 million new donors.
The response and excitement generated by the “ice bucket challenge” is wonderful and speaks to the human spirit and what can happen when people decide to take up a cause they have a passion for.
This movement and the response to address an important issue like ALS was the driving force behind the Black Dollar Project’s motivation to address the important issue of economic development in the African American community.
The Black Dollar Project is a one-of-a-kind, business initiative created to activate ‘economic empowerment’ between Black businesses and Black consumers in order to promote financial security, wealth building and positive growth, but in order to stimulate economic viability in the Black community we must change our mindset and how we view Black businesses.
My Black Dollar Project colleagues and I developed an initiative to drive support for Black businesses with an emphasis on economic development in the African American community that will have the same social and economic impact as the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” if taken seriously and supported. We launched the #BDPchallenge.
The #BDPchallenge was birthed in order to challenge African American consumers to conscientiously spend their hard-earned dollars with an African American business and then let the world know by posting a video of them proudly supporting a Black-owned business.
In order for Black businesses to grow, they need more customers. Black consumers are about to reach $1.3 trillion in consumer spending power in the next couple of years and if Black businesses were able to tap into a portion of those dollars, they would grow substantially.
Black consumers must, however, change their current view of Black businesses in order to see that growth in Black business take place.
We must make a conscious effort to support Black businesses on purpose and not seek to treat Black businesses different than we do other businesses we spend money with.
I am reminded of one of my favorite movies, “I’m Gonna Git’ You Sucka,” a parody of Blaxploitation movies written and directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, who also stars in the movie. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Hammer, played by Isaac Hayes, was about to serve one of his first new customers at his new rib joint. The first customer was played by Chris Rock, and they had one of the most memorable exchanges in the entire movie.
Rock went round and round with Hayes about the number of ribs that came in an order and what the cost would be. When Hayes told him the cost, Rock asked for just one rib and then asked for Hayes to pour the soda in his hand instead of in a cup when he found out how much a soda cost. Hayes, who was visibly upset, demanded Rock pay him and leave, to which Rock asked him if he had change for a one hundred dollar bill.
I know it’s a movie and the scene is quite funny, but it’s no laughing matter in the real world. These types of over-the-top experiences are the sad reality most Black businesses encounter every day and can be a real problem for Black businesses unless it is dealt with.
Negotiating is a choice, not an obligation. Black businesses must get more respect and support.
When you go into McDonald’s can you negotiate the price of their food? No, it is set. I’ve never gotten a “negotiated” pair of Air Jordan’s from Foot Locker or a “negotiated” cup of coffee from Starbucks. There prices are fixed and you wouldn’t dare try to negotiate with them.
I can’t stand when Black people use the, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for” line in order to justify their crafty way of trying to get the hookup in areas where they clearly lack the knowledge or ability to produce and deliver the requested product or service. Black consumers must respect Black businesses and the quality of the product and service that they offer.
Black people must also eliminate the “one-chance and “only-chance” mentality that affects most Black businesses. Black businessmen and Black businesswomen have learned their trade or craft and have invested time and resources to gain some invaluable knowledge.
As a Black person, you should never purposefully avoid supporting a Black business just because you don’t believe they deserve or are worthy of the prices and fees they charge?
It’s time to change our mindsets and adjust the way we treat Black businesses – especially, in comparison to way we treat non-Black businesses.
Unlike the movie, Black people need to buy the whole order of ribs and not just one.
I encourage everyone to participate in the #BDPchallenge and then become a member of the Black Dollar Project. You can join today for only $1/week ($52/year) at blackdollarproject.com.
By: Jeffrey L. Boney
Mr. Boney serves is an award-winning journalist. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at [email protected].
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