Black Pound Day: Is It Actually Helping Black Businesses?
It’s that time of the month again, it’s Black Pound Day. Between it being the third one and it being a monthly occurrence, it would seem that we’ve all started to get the hang of it and are increasingly aware of how it all works. Overall it’s done what it said it would, which is promote black-owned businesses and encourage people to buy from them. The work definitely is not done but we’re all working towards it. The movement has gained both momentum and traction as it’s gotten coverage in the press, created directories and officially launched a website to guide people on how to better support black-owned businesses. Nonetheless, I ask myself this:what are the unseen impacts of Black Pound Day? Is it doing more bad than good? Is it breeding a culture of only supporting black-owned businesses once a month?
It goes without saying, Black Pound Day has been fantastic for raising awareness for black-owned businesses. Like stated in a previous blog post: the idea for Black Pound Day was coined by So Solid Crew member Swiss, who was so stirred by the death of George Floyd over in the states. He wanted to do something impactful. The aim is to help black-owned businesses grow financially and structurally, through motivating and encouraging others to support. It’s about putting your money where your mouth is. On the website it’s described as “a solution-based approach to support the growth of the UK Black economy. As a direct and peaceful response to the systematic racism that creates inequality for the Black community in the United Kingdom.” This all sounds like a fantastic initiative, so how can it be detrimental?
I want to be clear about one thing: Black Pound Day itself isn’t detrimental to black-owned businesses, but some of our responses to it have been. I’ll explain, in order to encourage further purchases, businesses have been holding sales pretty much every Black Pound Day thus far, which makes total economic and business sense. They’ve been going heavy on the marketing ,and affiliate marketing has really boosted sales for some businesses. However, it would seem that people have noticed that these companies are doing these monthly sales, so what do they do? They wait for these sales to buy. Now, I totally understand that with the pandemic and economic situation we all a bargain. I get it, trust me, I do! Yet, how can we solely support black-owned business when it only comes at a discount. This is detrimental. It actually forces these businesses to do sales.
Black Pound Day is all about community building but if we only buy once a month, or promote once month when there’s a discount we’re causing stagnation. We’re essentially taking the brick back when we should be laying it down. The initiative was to create a culture and standard to support black businesses, it was never meant to be limited to one day.
This makes me question why as a community we seem to love a bargain, even when is the expense of our community. I don’t personally think it’s intentional also, I don’t want to oversimplify the situation either. However, why is it when we see that a business is owned by a community member that we think we can ask for discount, even with no prior interaction with a person. I truly believe we get a sense of familiarity when a person looks like us. This has caused some of us treat it somewhat lightly and not truly view it as business establishment, which we should.
I want to challenge everyone to yes support Black Pound Day but ask yourself, what am I doing outside of this. How am I contributing and there multiple ways you can do this. We have a post on how you can help without actually spending. Let’s all become more community building focused!