Buying black is becoming more and more popular (as it should), and I know that over the past six months or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to support black brands. Previously, I treated black-owned brands (BoB) like any other, supporting them by product default (i.e. I don’t care who makes it as long as I like it), but not proactively seeking them out. I’ve been looking for alternatives of my favorite products that are from black owned brands, and to be honest, it hasn’t been easy. That’s why I’m often shocked when a black person mentions or openly supports a non-black brand and they are “scolded” by others in the black community for supporting anything other than BoB.
It’s already bad enough that some are attempting to police the income of others (if you watched swimming this year at the Olympics, you should know that it’s always best to stay in your lane), but what’s even more baffling is that they rarely provide a suggestion or alternative for the product or company. Some demand that we “buy black,” but what exactly are we supposed to buy? Is this an actual initiative, or an empty statement? For the longest time, issues with supporting BoB have been related to convenience, availability, and visibility. True, there are many sites that list several black-owned brands, but in reality, most of us are looking for specific products, rather than lines – it’s a bit of what came first, the chicken or the egg?
I know that when I’m looking for products online, I search for the product, not a blanket brand (although I sometimes come across some gems and get hype). Recently, I shared a fairly lengthy list of BoB I have purchased from, like, and will continue to support (I will also continue updating this post with my new finds). Sometimes I wonder if the critics of those who do not always buy black are doing the same, whether informally or formally. How can one hold others accountable without being accountable themselves?
Once someone told me about the two “Cs,” the little “c” and the big “C.” A little “c” is a complaint where you are simply complaining because you feel like it, but aren’t offering up any solutions to the issue. It’s more like a vent and not meant to be taken seriously. On the other hand, a big “C” is when you have a legitimate concern and are attempting to actively correct it or solve the problem in some way. Berating people for not buying from only BoBs while not offering them alternatives sounds an awful lot like a little “c.”
This initiative is about empowering black brands rather than boycotting or refusing to support non-black brands, or at least it should be if it’s truly going to be effective. Write down your own list and share it, or let others know about the products you have replaced with BoBs and what you use now. I’ve also started my own Instagram page (currently in the works and I hope to increase post frequency, but like I said, finding BoB alternatives is not easy), @dupeBLACK, to share the beauty dupes that I’ve found – follow it! Increasing visibility of BoBs will help the brands MUCH more than putting others down for supporting non-black brands. If we’re going to put our money where our mouths are, we’re going to need to know where we can put them (that totally doesn’t sound right, but you get it!).
What are some black owned alternatives to brands you’ve used in the past?