NEW BEDFORD – In 2021, BuyBlackNB showcased nine vendor pop-ups to support black-owned businesses on the South Coast. Formed during the Black Lives Matter protests, the organization has even more impressive goals for 2022.
âThe repertoire was a start,â said Justina Perry, Founder of BuyBlackNB, adding that she was proud of what the team created from scratch.
In creating the directory, Perry said he discovered more than 150 black-owned businesses on the South Coast and registered them all on the website.
“Now it has become a movement throughout the community,” she added.
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âIn our platform we are black and proud and shameless about it. This is what we put forward and the community that we start. We create that sense of pride in Blackness. “
Following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, people have supported black-owned businesses. The sudden attention to inequality in America has generated numerous online listings highlighting black-owned businesses to support, according to a USAToday article.
Almost from the start of the protests in late May 2020, online sales jumped 225% from what was considered average for black-owned businesses in a 2019 report.
However, distinguishing between black-owned businesses has also been criticized. Perry said she had received a lot of negative comments from locals.
âThere has been a misconception and misunderstanding as to why this has to exist,â Perry said. “That’s why it’s so important, this misunderstanding alone is one of the reasons we have to do it.
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“There is a history of systemic black oppression, because there is a huge wealth gap, and there is an economic opportunity that is created by organizing in this way with the black community.”
Perry said BuyBlackNB aims to close the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, foster job creation and celebrate black culture. âIt also creates a lot of positive images for black youth and their racial identity,â she added.
Ephemeral vendor markets
On June 19 (June 19), BuyBlackNB hosted its first pop-up in-person seller’s market at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House. According to Perry, more than 1,000 people were in attendance.
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In addition to the more than 30 vendors represented, the event also featured activities including an arts and crafts section for kids, a cartoonist and the Black Panther and Shuri from Marvel’s âBlack Pantherâ taking photos. with the guests.
âI’m very touched by the number of people who are showing up and are really receptive to what we’re doing with our mission,â Perry said in a previous interview at the event. “It really is affirmative and it is such a relief.”
According to Perry, the organization’s nine pop-up events generated more than $ 30,000 in total revenue for the black-owned businesses that participated.
She said the website has also connected stakeholders, community members and organizations to hire various companies and staff. âBusinesses have this network and take immense pride in being connected,â added Perry.
Celebrate the performance
The most recent mini-pop-up took place at the Communal Space at 246 Union Street during the dNB Inc. Holiday Walk. The pop-up featured a black Santa Claus.
âI’m so glad we were able to do this and bring this performance to the kids,â Perry said. “It gives people a little break from knowing when they’re going to hire a Santa, have that portrayal and how important that is especially to the kids.”
Throughout the year, BuyBlackNB hosted a monthly virtual event called âBlack in Business: HERstory,â celebrating black women business leaders in New Bedford.
Owners such as Samia Walker, Celia Brito and Tanya Alves of Celia’s Boutique, Lori Gomes of Beauty Union and Iva Brito spoke at the panel.
This discussion was chaired by Perry and Rayana Grace of the New Bedford Historical Society.
BuyBlackNB plans for 2022
Perry said she has more ambitious goals for 2022 and plans to continue with pop-up markets and HERstory seminars.
The next planned pop-up will take place on April 16, the day after Easter, in Fall River. This will be the first event in Fall River, after strong demand.
Perry also confirmed another pop-up from Juneteenth sellers at the Rotch-Jones-Duff house.
With additional funds, the organization hopes to hire more staff. Perry said they will also improve BuyBlackNB’s official website to make it more detailed and comprehensive.
“We are all excited for the sequel,” she said.
Standard-Times team writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.