In 2021, a great outpour of support for Black History Month (BHM) was given by influencers and brands particularly following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It sparked an online movement that spread awareness on systemic racism and resources on how to help Black people and communities. Corporations have rolled out black square posts on Instagram, BHM-appropriate branding and product designs, Tiktok dance contents, and advocacy hashtags – all in the name of awareness. But on February 2nd or the next month, it's operations as usual.
This is how we are faced with the problem of performative activism. We have to be driven by accountability and learning, not just by publicity stunts to wash off white guilt from our brand. Aiming to produce tangible results will require more effort and commitment but it will bring more valuable changes to the lives of Black people.
How, then, could ecommerce businesses celebrate and support this month?
Acknowledge historical events
Black history and liberation movements face erasure in the American education system. The discussion on slavery is sugarcoated and watered-down to be made palatable to learners. A lot of stories of Black people and their contributions in history are not told. Ecommerce businesses who have access to a wide audience through social media and access to research can do their part to address this gap.
Historical information can be shared by writing on blog posts, talking in podcasts, discussing on videos, or sharing historical photos. As some businesses can trace their roots in Black history, they could take pride in sharing that with their consumers. It is time to recognize that America wouldn't be what it is today without Black people.
Honor past, present, and future Black entrepreneurs
Black Americans have a profound role in shaping the American business landscape. From Madam C.J. Walker who built a beauty empire to Frederick McKinley Jones whose refrigerated truck invention preserved blood, food, and other supplies during World War II -- many Black innovators have made and continue to make American lives easier.
Ecommerce businesses can boost the visibility of Black-owned businesses that could compliment their own products and services. Since artists are also entrepreneurs, ecommerce businesses can collaborate with them for product designs and advertising campaigns! And with collaboration, there should also be proper compensation.
Support Black advocacies
Releasing a statement to express support over advocacies that promote social justice is just one thing. There are other ways to do more. Ecommerce businesses should hire Black speakers that could speak directly to employees and even consumers. Giving them a large social media platform can help amplify their calls. Additionally, ecommerce businesses can donate money for charity donation drives or partner to support any of their local or national evens.
We at All Over Stuff, commit to doing our part in fighting systemic inequalities for the entire year, not just on BHM, through careful research, in-depth blog posts, diverse collaborations, and advocacy support.
If you are a Black influencer or content creator, we want to work with you! Check out this link to apply as an Affiliate Partner or Brand Ambassador.