It all began with a very selfish and primitive desire to hang out. As hardworking entrepreneurs with demanding schedules, We finally had the time and energy to fit it in entertainment, unfortunately, We didn’t know where to start.
As lifelong Detroiters, We knew our way around our beloved city, each of us having a number of favorite places to go. But this time We wanted to experience something off the beaten path. We wanted to try something new. Gentrification has brought all kinds of new and gimmicky places to go, but that wasn’t what We wanted. As in most of our intentional endeavors, We wanted to support our people.
And while the mass media is often touting Detroit’s “comeback” following decades of industrial and residential decline, We saw very little attention given to black business. And except for big venue events, such as concerts and plays, it is very difficult to find unique and special events occurring at the neighborhood level.
With each of us being owner/operators of our own black businesses, We deeply understand the importance of community support. More importantly, We understand the historic role of black business – when done right – as critical economic institutions that can help bring stability to the under-served black community.
Somewhere along the way, black business abandoned its communal mission. Now it seems that securing “the bag” is the only thing that matters. As such, intentional black consumer support has declined. Yet, as mainstream brands and big box companies continue to malign and disrespect the black consumer (think: H&M, Starbucks, Waffle House, Nivea, Dove, et.al.) We find this as the perfect opportunity to play match-maker and re-introduce black business to black consumers in a meaningful way.
After all, what make black business deserve special attention if they operate in the same manner as all the other businesses that many regularly gripe about. If black businesses merely take our money and run to the burbs, then the notion of “buying black” becomes empty and without value.
It goes without saying that the entrepreneurial spirit – or the hustle ethic, as We prefer to say – in the black community is alive and vibrantly so. As We drive around our city, We bear witness to a wide variety of new retail and service establishments that, without the intentional support of the black consumer, will not survive.
Many neighborhood businesses that have been around for years are holding on for dear life. And, indeed, each of us have seen black businesses die a slow and painful death, such as Mo Better Blues, which suffered its first blow when gentrification pushed the downtown bar and grill out of the building. When they re-surfaced a couple years later in a new downtown space, they couldn’t survive the lack of patronage. ….
This publication will be the foundation for a multi-platform approach to spotlighting under-served and under-promoted black businesses in Detroit. As you will see from the attached Advertising Agreement form, ads start as low as $20 for a business listing (our inaugural issue hit the streets in May of 2019).
As Detroit continues to undergo gentrification, with scores of new businesses opening up around the city, black businesses are often ignored or overlooked. To say that the black community is under-served is an understatement.
Our goal to shift focus through creative promotions and marketing, to include free business directory and event listings in print, on website, mobile app (coming soon), social media platforms, podcast, an online radio show spotlighting businesses and providing business owners with an opportunity to have a show as a marketing tool.
This enterprise also aspire to create jobs (writers, photographers, graphic designers, interview reporters, editors, social media marketers, video production, etc).
This first issue will feature a mixed variety of business and event coverage, but We expect to work around themes such as Afrikan hair and fashion, black food (New Afrikan, Afrikan, Caribbean & vegan), black culture and entertainment, black professionals, technology & innovation, and youth entrepreneurship and engagement. But We especially hope to cultivate a viable medium to give voice to the black gig-based hustlers, i.e., caterers, home-based businesses, jewelry designers, painters, handyman contractors, driveway mechanics, home-based cooks and pastry chefs, and a host of other unconventional businesses that do not operate from brick and mortar structures.
Of course, We deeply understand that the “buy black” campaign must serve a purpose greater than enriching individual business owners. Therefore, We aim to serve as a bridge between the black community and black business, as We push for greater commitment from back business to help sustain other important efforts and institutions that seek to improve the quality of life in the black community.
We also want (in advance) to promote events and activities occurring in the community. Share with us and We’ll include in our free directory of events! Forward all fliers to us and We’ll share as widely as We can thru our developing multiple platforms.
Remember, sharing is caring. Pass along to any black business or hustler you know!
Let’s do it!