Black Lives Matter Global Network has partnered with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson New York to push a new “buy Black” campaign.
The initiative, complete with a link to a map of black-owned businesses, was posted to the Instagram account blklivesmatter with an accusation that the “Black community is under attack.”
“[I]t is more important than ever to buy local and buy Black,” the message continued.
The leftist activist group and advertising agency blasted out news of their campaign on December 19 via social media.
In partnership with J. Walter Thompson New York, we’re launching Backing Black Businesses – a long-term initiative to support the growth and performance of small Black businesses nationwide. In a time when the Black community is under attack, it is more important than ever to buy local and buy Black. Small businesses provide jobs and economic security. Join us today by #backingblackbusiness https://www.backingblackbusiness.com/
The map at BackingBlackBusiness.com appears to highlight more than 20 businesses in the greater Los Angeles region. A handful of others are dotted across the United States in cities, including: Sacramento, CA; Denver, CO; Minneapolis, MN; Chicago, IL; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA; Madison, TN; Philadelphia, PA. The site also lists online stores and non-profits. The Huffington Post reported that the site lists more than 300 businesses.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors pointed to “these uncertain times” and called for a need for black-owned businesses “more than ever,” according to HuffPo. She picked out specifically black-owned businesses as “a staple in the Black community” for “providing jobs, economic security and a somewhere for us to go and feel seen and safe.”
At an October 2015 conference, Cullors defined the Black Lives Matter movement as a consciously crafted effort. “It’s important people know that Black Lives Matter wasn’t just this hashtag that circulated around the internet, but we actually built an organization, a platform and a project out of the hashtag so here we are a couple of years later and the hashtag movement has gone global.”
During the Black Lives Matter riots in Ferguson, Missouri, black woman Natalie DuBose’s bakery sustained heavy vandalism. The Wilmington Journal reported that it was members of the community that later came in to help clean up the shop, and people from across the country who donated over $250,000 after hearing her story. She was one of many black business owners who sustained losses from rioter vandalism. The building that housed Fashions R Boutique was completely burned, resulting in a total loss according to the GoFundMe page to rebuild her shop.
In a report on the new initiative, LAist pointed to unaffiliated website Black Book LA, which lists “30 Black-Owned Businesses in L.A.!” The site asks, and answers, the question:“Where are all the Black people?”
Black Book LA seems to hone in on the millennial generation, with blog posts such as, “10 Fun Things for Black Millennials to Do in LA this Week!” Site co-founder Tyree Boyd-Pates told local KPCC public radio in May, “There’s always going to be a reactionary response to racism, discrimination, sexism and transphobia at all times.” Pates also promoted a Black Lives Matter jersey designer on his blog.
Black Book LA co-founder Makiah Green is described on the website as “a writer, revolutionary, and activist.” Green was also featured on Pates’ blog espousing her purpose in Hollywood as “100%” promoting the Black Lives Matter movement and countering “dismantling centuries of white supremacy.” She states: “…[N]o matter what industry I find myself in, Black liberation is the ultimate goal.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana