Why Black Americans are emphasizing Blackout Day

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Money. (Credit: CBS News)
Money. (Credit: CBS News)

Black Americans aren’t buying any products Tuesday.

“Commercial goods, household products, automobiles, technology, all of those businesses are hurt when African Americans don’t spend with them,” said James Muwakkil, the president of the Lee County NAACP.

And, if they do, it’ll be from Black-owned businesses. Why?

“It has to happen. We have to stand up. We have to take the stand no matter who leads it,” Muwakkil.

Many are refusing to spend at non-Black-owned businesses, in a movement known as “Blackout Day.” This is an effort to show businesses and the economy the power of Black consumers and what they lose by excluding them.

“What they’re trying to do is show how powerful the Black dollar is, which is the dollars that circulate in the Black community,” said Latoya Turner, the owner of Ascension Hair Care Salon. “They want to be able to show that if we stopped spending with certain businesses, then, maybe they would listen more to the request of the people.”

And the Black consumer base has quite a bit of buying power. “According to the NAACP, our Black buying power is $1.3 trillion annually,” Muwakkil said.

And, even in Turner’s industry alone, Black consumers are spending a lot. “In my industry, hair care, Black people spend the most money of any other ethnic group. Yes ma’am; we do,” she said.

W. Earl Sparrow Jr. said that it’s Black consumers who keep business afloat. “The only economic power, the only color that matters, it’s not Black or white to businesses. It’s green,” Sparrow said.

With that much economic prowess, Muwakkil thinks Black people deserve more respect from corporations. “This is needed to get the attention, that we as African Americans need. We’re being disrespected,” he said.

Muwakkil added that he hopes more days are organized to encourage spending at Black businesses and promote reinvesting Black dollars back into the community.

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