During this time many business owners are struggling with how to move their brand forward in the midst of covid-19 as well as all that has been happening around the country concerning the black lives matter movement.
As a black business owner, I must admit I too have been struggling with this and asking myself, “Does this appear insensitive?” Or, “Should I be promoting my business during this time?” The answer is a resounding, “YES.” What is happening in the world today is nothing new however, police brutality against people of color (with an emphasis on our black men) must stop. It is also our duty to educate, bring awareness and be apart of the solution rather than the problem. I started my business in 2011 to provide women with the necessary tools needed to lead holistic lives of success and significance.
But who says we can not do this while running our businesses? My encouragement to you today is to do what is in your heart. Now, I am challenged with anyone who can move forward and not utter one word about what is going on in the world in relation to Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others who have lost their lives due to being mishandled, racially profiled; etc by police officers. I also have been disgusted by non-people of color who have chosen to us their platform to declare, all lives matter while diminishing the notion of what the #blacklivesmatter movement is all about. Because of this there are certain businesses I am personally choosing to no longer invest in financially. I do believe that we as people of color must circulate black dollars into black communities.
Over the years I have heard (and unfortunately even said), “See, this is why it’s hard to support black businesses.” Meanwhile, I have been disrespected by Asian nail techs but continued to give my money. I have not felt valued when I shopped at certain places yet because I wanted the item I would continue to spend my money with that particular company. Well, not anymore. I also held back from speaking on subject matters such as race, inequality, sexism; etc., to avoid being drug into online debates, or offending anyone.
Today, I choose to no longer allow that to be a concern of mine. As black people we have a history that involves slavery, abuse, police brutality, inferiority and much more. Therefore, to deny my history is to deny who I am as a woman of color. I too have been guilty of posting pics of white women in my blogs to provide a “universal” approach when the truth is, it is mostly minorities that support my business. We as people of color are always trying to do this or that to become mainstream or to be considered to have “made it.” Not anymore. I love all people and I hope you can hear my heart as I write this because if the shoe does not fit you, then please do not put it on. But I will no longer silence my voice due to fear of offending anyone when for decades black people have been prejudged, downtrodden, cast aside and had to work twice as hard to prove ourselves worthy.
Again, I understand that everyone is not racist and that we should be judged by the content of our character not the color of our skin (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) I also understand not everyone will agree with my stance and I am okay with that too. But one reason I quit my 9 to 5 in 2014 is because I grew tired of having someone else tell me what I should be doing, or how I should carry myself and what my particular style should be in a professional setting. I made a decision to burn the rule book and do things my way (as I am led by Holy Spirit) and it feels amazing and has truly been liberating. This is why I shaved my hair off a few years ago; it was an outward expression of “I AM FREE TO BE ME.” I grew tired of folks telling me, preachers don’t do this or that. Or you can’t say this or that. I started off with shaving my side then a year or so later I shaved it all the way around. I proceeded to drop my tunic off one shoulder and add a little sass to my appearance which was a reflection of who I am as to say, “This is me. Take it or leave it. But I no longer care what you think of me.”
Back to today’s subject matter:
I believe that we can maintain our posture as women and men of color who represent #blacklivesmatter while also continuing to operate in purpose which is why I started a business in the first place. During this time many have experienced lay offs and have found it difficult to provide for their families and I truly sympathize with them. I have had my share of emotional struggles as well and it has been a major adjustment for all of us.
On the contrary, by the grace of God, many businesses have continued to flourish during this time and I strongly believe it is due to the scripture that says, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. (Psalm 37:25) As believers, we must stand on the Word of God and remain faithful even in the midst of a pandemic. I have continued to tithe and sow offerings because I trust God to take care of me.
Now, I am not here to argue with those who feel as though this is an Old Testament vs New Testament theological perspective. I do what works for me and my family. In doing so Luke 6:38 (KJV) has been evident in my life…. “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
With that being said, how do you move your business forward in the midst of a pandemic?
By focusing on the problem you help people solve and the value you add to their lives. So many people are home now and are taking personal inventory of what matters most. People are hiring therapists, connecting with life coaches, reading more books, signing up for classes and e-courses; etc. If you offer a product or service that helps people evolve on a personal or professional level, continue to put your brand out there in the midst of your #blacklivesmatter posts. The key is to continue to provide value to your network/community.
So many are looking for an outlet to take their mind off of the injustice that has been taking place, or the fear they may feel. Continue to look to the heels from which cometh your help, for all of your help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2) Peace & Blessings!