AFRICANGLOBE – Black Friday for much of America means queuing up in absurdly long lines outside foreboding big-box retailers in hopes of securing all manner of deep-discounted consumer stuff—and here in Chicago, and arguably equally as bonkers, beer. More level-headed oppositional movements, such as Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, have prospered in recent years. Now, a local push looks to maintain the post-holiday shopping tradition, but with a moral twist, one that redefines the term Black Friday.
On Nov. 25, a couple of “buy black’ shopping fairs/concerts offer ways to support small, Black-owned businesses in Chicago: Blackout Black Friday: Super Ujamaa Market, in South Shore, and Black Market Friday, at Promontory in Hyde Park.
“We wanted to boost the economy of our communities,” Cassiopeia Uhuru, co-founder of Black-owned business directory The Black Mall. “It’s important we find a way to recycle our own funds in our own communities—find a way to boost our businesses and services.”
Uhuru has long hosted the monthly Ujamaa Market, usually with about a dozen or so vendors. But Blackout Black Friday bumps the participants up to 50-plus local Black sellers. Items run the gamut from jewelry and clothing to food, electronics and household needs.
The traditional Black Friday model doesn’t offer support for businesses like the ones the fair highlights.
“Big-box stores tend to hurt communities and smaller business because the prices are so undercut. This is about letting people know we’re here supporting our won,” Uhuru said.
That same day, the Promontory, in Hyde Park, hosts a similar fair of its own, dubbed Black Market Friday. The market also includes dozens of vendors and also adds a strong live-music element (Lisa Decibel, Bonita Appleblunt and SAM TRUMP perform, among others). Proceeds benefit the #LetUsBreathe collective.
Black Market Friday takes place Friday, Nov. 25, 1 to 8 p.m. at Promontory (5311 S Lake Park Ave.); Blackout Black Friday: Super Ujamaa Market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mosque Maryam (7351 S Stony Island Ave.)