With the holiday shopping season approaching, consider the way that African Americans spend money on holiday gifts impacts our lives. Think about shopping with African American merchants and businesses and watch the money flow back to you in an enhanced community. Buy Black on Black Friday and everyday.
The PRIDE solicited input from two important players on the Jefferson Street corridor in North Nashville about how buying black helps us all. Yusef Harris has been continuously operating Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore at 28th and Jefferson for almost three decades. Sharon Hurt is CEO of J.U.M.P. – the Jefferson Street United Merchant Partnership, recently elected to an At-Large seat on the Nashville Metro Council.
“Jefferson Street is a wonderful place to shop and purchase something meaningful,” says Hurt. “You can purchase books from Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore, a framing or painting from Woodcuts, gift certificates from restaurants, i.e., The Garden Brunch Café, Seafood Sensations, Helen’s Hot Chicken, Swett’s, T.J.’s Fish, Captain D’s and Knock Out Wings.
“Or you may want to do something different and buy a C.D. from Citizens Bank, open a savings account for someone, perhaps purchase legal services from The White Law Group or Luvell Glanton. There are a variety of gifts for that special member of the Divine Nine, Eastern Star, Masonic Lodge or Elk/Shriner’s Temple at the College Crib. Make a down payment on a new roofing job at Elite Roofing, get a bottle of the finest cognac or champagne from R & R. Speaking of finest, Rhodes Clothier’s has some of the finest menswear and accessories. They even carry a few snakeskin purses or Sunday’s best…outfits. Take the time and shop on Jefferson Street, I am sure you will find deals and merchandise that cannot be beat.”
Harris says, “The need for African-Americans to support Black owned businesses is vital to the sustainability, growth and development of the Black family and Black communities. These businesses serve an integral part in the fabric creating positive self-esteem and self-concept among African-Americans who consequently can witness progress and determination within a system that constantly seeks to undermine their success.”
Hurt says “Blacks have over $1 trillion of black buying power and only 2% of that money goes back into the Black community — the community where the unemployment rate is the highest. If we spent our money in our community, we could fund enough jobs for our people. So according to Boyce Watkins, we had the civil rights movement which gave us political power and we have forgotten that we need economic power to go alongside the political power.”
Dr. Boyce Watkins has indeed said ”Black business owners are more likely to hire Black employees than business owners of any other ethnic group.”
“The value and importance of the Black dollar exchanging in the Black community several times must be both acknowledged and prioritized in order to achieve our economic empowerment,” says Harris. “Black people need to realize investing in Black-owned businesses results in investing in oneself.”