With the cries for racial equality and support for the Black community reaching a fever pitch in the US, Black-owned businesses have been receiving more attention and love than ever before.
One initiative is hoping to push that momentum even further by motivating consumers to spend $5 million at Black-owned businesses by July 6 and turn it into more than a one-time purchase.
My Black Receipt, which asks people to upload their receipt from Black-owned businesses onto its website, was started by Black upStart, an organization founded by Kezia Williams that trains aspiring Black entrepreneurs on how to be successful.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Williams was unable to hold in-person classes, but she wanted to continue supporting her fellow Black entrepreneurs and business owners, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
The number of Black business owners fell by 41% between February and April – a far higher percentage than any other racial group, according to research from Robert Fairlie, an economics professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
And with the estimate that the median wealth of Black Americans will drop to $0 by 2053 if current trends continue, Williams said that propelled her even more to start My Black Receipt with her collaborators from HBCU Wall Street, Broccoli City, The Black Standard and Knox St. Studios. The campaign has already reached over $550,000 in total receipts, according to the website.
“When you invest and purchase from a Black-owned business, what you’re really doing is strengthening the Black community,” Williams said.
A way to measure the collected impact
The goal of My Black Receipt is to have Americans “put their receipts where their protest is,” Williams said.
Just as people are supporting Black businesses right now in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Williams said that people usually buy from Black-owned businesses in response to protest.
She pointed to the time when people boycotted H&M and supported Black businesses after the clothing company used a Black child to model a sweatshirt with a “coolest monkey in the jungle” slogan. Or when people stopped going to Starbucks after a manager at the coffee chain called the police on two Black men who wanted to use the restroom.
“So it’s really people responding to disappointment by buying from a Black-owned business,” Williams said. “But we thought that should be consistent and that should be measured.”
My Black Receipt helps not only measure that impact, but also allows Black businesses to advertise themselves on the site’s preferred shopping list, which has over 7,000 businesses listed.
My Black Receipt hopes to reach a goal of $5 million in spending between Juneteenth (June 19) and July 6.
“July 6th is the day before Blackout Day, which is the day where other organizers have called upon Black people to withdraw their spending from the economy to show the power of the Black dollar,” Williams said.
Partnership with Yelp
Last week, Yelp announced that it teamed up with My Black Receipt to launch a new feature that allows businesses to identify themselves as Black-owned and appear in “Black-owned” search results.
“We’re proud to help amplify this important movement organized by the My Black Receipt team and support this monumental effort at what we hope will be a turning point in our society,” Yelp’s Community Director Tara Lewis said in a blog post.
More than a trend
When the campaign ends on July 6, Williams said she and her team will release a report with all the data.
“We are going to be able to tell what sectors people bought from. We’ll be able to tell what city they purchased in. We’ll be able to tell if they bought from brick and mortar spaces or online spaces,” Williams said. “So we’re going to use that data to really inform the population of what happens when we have concentrated buying activity and we’re going to upgrade the site so that people can track their Black spending throughout the year.”
Whether or not My Black Receipt reaches its goal of $5 million, she said it just brings awareness to more Black-owned businesses and spurs people to not just buy from those businesses when it’s a trend.
“I want this to be more than just a flashy headline. I really want this to be a lifestyle,” Williams said.