Last month, we discussed what it means to be an ally in thought, education and action. Being an active ally is at the heart of our work as Asian Americans in the Black liberation movement. This means that we must not only support the call for justice for those murdered by police, but also recognize the need to value the everyday lives of Black Americans. While we acknowledge that we lead busy lives and face everyday struggles ourselves, taking action does not need to be an arduous task.
Putting your dollars toward Black-owned businesses is an easy way to support Black communities across the United States. This “investment” is as simple as being aware of who profits from your day-to-day purchases and shifting your purchases without creating extra expenses for yourself. It’s become automatic for many people to turn to Amazon for everything, but does billionaire Jeff Bezos really need more of your hard-earned income? If the products sold are comparable and at times, exactly the same, why not use more ethical and sustainable vendors while also supporting the Black community?
To begin, we found a few directories that make it easy to do:
- Order Food from Black Restaurants.
EatOkra was co-founded by wife and husband Janique and Anthony Edwards. In their fundraising video, Janique says, “For me personally, Black food is fellowship. Sharing a meal with someone is a form of communion. Feeding someone is an expression of love.”
EatOkra helps you show love to the community by finding Black-owned restaurants in your area, and lists business hours, location, and the delivery services each restaurant uses. The app is available on both iOS and Android and has listings in cities across the country. Mochi staff has tried it in San Francisco and ordered delicious food from Little Skillet, Flavas Jamaican Grill, and Anthony’s Cookies.
If EatOkra doesn’t cover your area yet, donate to their crowdfunding campaign at fundBLACKfounders to help them build out directories in more cities.
- Buy Products from Black Creatives.
Post 21 Shop was co-founded by mother-daughter team Juana Williams and Blair Paysinger. Their online shop features household goods, jewelry, art, and more, all made by Black creatives.
The name “Post 21” refers to the 1921 massacre of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, a thriving Black business district that was destroyed by a white mob. The Post 21 team writes on their “About Us” page: We see today, and every day since May 31,1921 as Post 1921. Standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us, we are ready to do what we have traditionally done — in a new and exciting way!
- Buy Books from Black-Owned Bookstores.
Subway Book Review put together this map of Black-owned bookstores. Each listing includes location, website, and social media handles, so you can visit the bookstore nearest you, order books online, or follow accounts for updates about special events.
Now is the perfect time to curl up at home with a few books. We recommend a mix of anti-racist literature to help you fight, and fiction to help you recharge. One of the bookstores on the map, The Lit. Bar, even has this book list: “For Colored People Who Have Considered Organizing When Marching Isn’t Enuf.”
- Buy Beauty Products from Black-Owned Brands.
In 2017, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty made a splash by introducing makeup unparalleled in inclusivity across a vast range of skin tones, a standard other makeup brands claimed was impossible. In addition to Ms. Badgalriri’s line, there is a wide catalogue of skincare, haircare and makeup brands all owned by Black women.
Black beauty brands are not just for Black women. In fact, while their products provide the right amount of hydration, pigmentation and oomph for the range of Black skin and hair, the makeup and hair products are suitable for all ethnicity types. Like Fenty Beauty, these brands are simply more inclusive because even within the Black community, there is a broad range of needs. Creating more targeted beauty items often means stocking more inventory, which can lead to higher overall costs for these businesses. So why not show them some love and get beauty products that are more individualized at the same time?
Protesting, volunteering and donating are often the most advertised ways to get involved; however, over the long-term, routine everyday purchases can make a difference. Investing is one-half of Movement for Black Lives’s demand to divest-invest and works to push against historical and current day policies of disenfranchisement and dislocation of Black communities. Both of these policies are compounding structural factors that lead to worse health outcomes, a lack of health care, poorer education and overall economic precarity.
It is high time for us to value Black lives and invest in their businesses, art and culture. Black lives matter now and always.
Mochi magazine’s Black Allyship @ Mochi column is an ongoing project that urges an awareness of racial injustice in the United States, particularly the oppression of Black people in America. The articles, resources and opinions we share are a call to action, an open discussion, and a place to take a stance against anti-Black racism. Read more about the column here.
We want Black Allyship @ Mochi to spark productive conversation. We want to know how we can do better: Feel free to email the co-editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.