NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Millions of people around the country vowed not to spend any money Tuesday, July 7th unless it was with an African American owned business. Black business leaders and a local economist weigh in on how this movement can make a difference.
The hashtag #Blackoutday2020 flooded social media as people around the country took a day off from general spending and directed dollars towards black-owned businesses.
Alden McDonald is president and CEO of Liberty Bank which is one of a handful of black-owned banks in the United States. He said, "We've had thousands of people come to our site from all over the country. The last time this movement took place we opened 2000 accounts in three days. We don't know what the numbers are yet this time."
McDonald is excited about this latest action and he believes it follows the mission of his community bank. McDonald said, “The networking is taking place all around the country and I think the movement is you’ve got to create wealth in the African American community and help create awareness that if people don’t appreciate your dollar you can spend it somewhere else.”
Dillard’s Dean of the College of Business and economics professor Kristen Broady says the spending power of 47.8 million black people just in the U.S. makes companies pay attention.
“They want to know that companies they shop with support their needs and understand their rights and respect that,” Broady said.
As an example, Broady notes that Nielsen reports African Americans spend $573 million a year on soap and personal grooming products. That's 19% more than the general market. She said consumers are more interested in what companies are doing behind the scenes.
“Not just making products for African Americans, but are they doing racists things behind the scenes? Or do they have African Americans on their boards in positions of power and not just giving lip service,” Broady said.
The Essence Festival is usually big for all businesses in the city, but particularly black-owned businesses so this push can help with the loss. Dinah Campbell is the Vice President of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network. She said, “I think that social media push for Tuesday. . . keep it going because we need to do this. We don’t do it as much as we should.”
“The most important thing is that the community is doing something for themselves. They are re-engineering and creating wealth in their own community,” McDonald said.
The New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network is just one avenue to find black-owned businesses in the area at SoulofNewOrleans.com.