No different than the impact industry had on America’s business model of the early 20th century, new technological innovations have significantly changed all aspects of business, from the way people consume to how brands engage consumers. “We are on the threshold of a new business paradigm,” said Cheryl Grace, senior vice president of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement at Nielsen. “The digital age is transforming not only commerce and the relationship consumers have with companies, but digital know-how among consumers – particularly African Americans – is fostering new levels of independence and financial freedom.”
With the invention of the internet, blogs and YouTube, classic shows and magazines featuring our music, fashion and culture are a thing of the past. Or are they? Benny Franco and Jametria Johnson are the creators of a new video show for independent artists called “The Spot,” based out of Jibril James Fashions in Las Vegas. Although it is music-based, “The Spot” also explores fashion, sports, entrepreneurship and more.
In the centennial year of the Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Community League, we should think about making our communities economically self-sufficient, where our Black businesses could afford to hire every Black person in the Black community who wants to work. That will only happen if we spend most if not all of our money on a regular basis in our community with each other, as much as we can.
Chris Zamani, founder of the Hapo Zamani Za Kale clothing line, is a t-shirt designer who is on the pioneering front of trying to politicize the consciousness in the Black community through changing the kinds of people and messages on the t-shirts we are wearing. He started a line of t-shirts which immortalizes and commemorates revolutionary heroes and sheroes from the African continent, people like Nkrumah, Lumumba, Machel, Nehanda, Asantewaa, Mugabe and more.
All too often, apologies are just empty words that aren’t worth the air they ride on. But there are times when an apology actually has meaning and impact. That was the case on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Chief Chuck Jordan of the Tulsa Police Department apologized to the Black people of the city for the 1921 attack on “Black Wall Street.”
With the U.S. economy turning a blind eye to unemployment in the Black community, it is on us to create business and employment opportunities for our community, and Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu and her collective of dedicated women, known as the Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble, have answered the call by opening the Lyric Performing Arts Academy in downtown Oakland.
In 2005, Devin Robinson was threatened with a golf club by a store owner while shopping in the owner’s beauty supply store. Out of anger, two months later Robinson had his own store. Eighteen months later he had two additional locations. In 2007, he launched Taking it Back University to train others how to be successful in beauty supply ownership too.
We need more business owners working from their apartments, vans or cars, vacant lots, and boarded up shops and storefronts. Keep in mind on your journey down the entrepreneur road, that wealth originates from within, first. To gain access to cash, sometimes you have to look to untraditional sources online which give artists and entrepreneurs a helping hand.