“Let’s use the power of our Black Pound!”
Written by Elizabeth Shih
Design by Millie Braund
Have you heard of Black Pound Day yet?
Black Pound Day is a straightforward and peaceful campaign following the recent uproar of Black Lives Matter protests; the movement encourages people to spend money with UK Black-owned businesses on the first Saturday of every month. The founder, British-Black rapper Swiss, initiated the campaign as a solution-based approach to support the Black community in the UK.
As per its official Instagram post (@bpdofficial), it stands to be a: ‘motivating endeavour that will leave a better infrastructure for the next generation to walk into.’ The campaign was launched on the 27th June 2020 and has grown effectively since its inaugural day.
How and why should I show support?
The most direct way to get involved in the movement is to shop at a Black-owned store – the Black Pound Day web page is a useful tool to search online and local businesses. There are more ways to get involved, though, than simply spending money.
One of the crucial ideas behind Black Pound Day is to improve traffic to and awareness of Black-owned businesses, as their official website quotes: ‘visibility for Black businesses is a vital factor to their survival, they are overshadowed by major corporations and lack access to the general consumer’. So, spreading the message about Black-owned business can be greatly beneficial for them.
Here are three powerful examples of how this can be done simply:
Jamelia Niela Davis:
Though Facebook’s trending feature does not work as well as other social media platforms, sharing the message on a fan page can reach new audiences and bring awareness to a cause. The British-Black singer and TV personality, Jamelia Niela Davis, shared how she spent her Black Pound Day on her Facebook fan page entitled ‘Jamelia’; Davis posted a video showing off all of the purchases she’d made during BPD.
Using #BlackPoundDay and tagging @bpdofficial in the post, she reached over 450 interactions, doing her part to spread the word.
Doing something similar, singer/songwriter Jess Glynne wrote an informative post on her Facebook page: ‘Go and buy from a BLACK OWNED business, make your purchase picture that receipt and show me! This isn’t just about today, do this today and every other fucking day!’ Her post has helped to rally support of the initiative, reaching 730 positive responses and 395 comments.
Whilst these examples may come from popular figures, posting something informative for friends and family to read is the first step to spreading awareness of the cause; reaching just one person could mean reaching hundreds, if they share the news too.
Posting is not only quick and easy, but can help spread the word in the simplest of ways; we all use our phones and social media daily, and posting an update has become as easy as getting up in the morning.
Birmingham City Council:
Amongst all, the Birmingham City Council is one of the most powerful supporters behind the BPD campaign.
Speaking with an economical consideration of the effects of COVID-19 on businesses, which has even more of an effect on the Black community, the Council firmly stated: ‘Black entrepreneurs are more than twice as likely to be denied a loan than white entrepreneurs and almost 12% more likely to be rejected for an overdraft. So, it is vital that we support black business to ensure they survive’.
They constantly publish posts on their official webpage expressing the reasons why they are openly supporting Black Pound Day, spreading the news in the community.
The big ‘WHY’
As with anything, there are those who are reluctant to act due to the idea of supporting a community that is associated under the category of race as if it were opposite to ‘Whites’. This is exactly the idea which is fundamentally fought against by the protestors of inequality.
There is no simple answer to this.
I do, however, appreciate what Meme Gold, a Black Fashion designer, has commented in an interview with the BBC: ‘I didn’t even know you could be self-employed until I came to Manchester. I didn’t even know that was a thing until I met a community of people self-employed.’
What Gold is expressing is that this campaign is also about being inspired and to motivate others to be aware they could have a better choice and path for their own life. To add on that, a Ghanian friend, Zoë Sawyerr, has phrased it as: ‘in the end, it is actually just about us supporting each other’.
Shalom Lloyd, founder of Naturally Tribal Skincare, might also inspire readers to understand why it is important to uphold Black-owned businesses. ‘I never intended to start a skincare business,’ she told the Metro newspaper, ‘but I am extremely proud that people of all ethnicities love our products which infuse my British and Nigerian heritage; I hope events like Black Pound Day give black-owned businesses the visibility they deserve’.
The Voice reported that Naturally Tribal Skincare’s traffic and sales has boosted greatly on the inaugural Black Pound Day; their website took nearly 20% of their month’s sales in that one day.
Naturally Tribal Skincare was launched in 2016 after Lloyd struggled to find a remedy for her newborn son’s eczema. Being a pharmacist of Nigerian descent, she began to experiment with raw Nigerian ingredients and discovered that shea butter could alleviate her son’s eczema within a few days.
Shea butter has now become one of the most popular ingredients for beauty products. The ingredient is ethically sourced from the Essan Kingdom in Nigeria, where Lloyd’s company has a factory, providing jobs for local women alongside childcare.
Lloyd told Forbes, as someone who has a background from a developing country, she deeply understands: ‘it’s important to not assume that people are less fortunate, less happy, or less knowledgeable just because they’re from a different culture or a third world nation.’ This is just one of the reasons as to why her team are partnering with the women of Essan, rather than employing them.
Black Pound Day has become a truly important initiative for spreading the word of Black-owned businesses, such as Naturally Tribal Skincare. Bustle’s analysis, for example, found a huge 369% revenue increase in June across 10 Black-owned businesses they spoke to, on top of 87% of June’s income coming from new customers.
Not only is this exciting and liberating for the Black community, especially considering the impact of COVID-19, but can be viewed as a positive for the British economy as a whole.
So, let’s use the power of our Black Pound!
Top tips to show your support:
- Sign up to Black Pound Day Businesses and updates,
- Shop with a Black-owned business on Black Pound Day,
- Leave positive reviews!
- Share your purchased products on social media channels and tag #BlackPoundDay,
- Upload receipts,
- Follow the Black Pound Day social media pages; they are active on Instagram (@bpdofficial), Facebook (Black Pound Day) and their Website (blackpoundday.uk).