The Importance of Buying Black

I’m pretty sure if you’re watching this video you know who Master P is. You know, No Limit Soldiers, that’s what I told you, with the gold tank in the video. Yeah, that Master P. Well, along with music, movies and philanthropy, P, as in Percy Miller, is now in your pantry. That’s right: Master P is now Uncle P, with a line of rice, pancake mix, cereal and syrup.

The move comes in the wake of Mars Inc. and PepsiCo announcing that they’re stepping away from their old Black-people logos — Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima. Which is sad and funny at the same time. Sad because we just accepted such racist stereotypes for decades. For example, Uncle Ben came from the name of an actual person, but he couldn’t be Mr. Ben because during that time — the 1940s — white people called Black people aunt and uncle so they wouldn’t have to call them mister or missus. That shit is wild, right? And funny because I just have to laugh about it. A white man creates a brand and then puts a Black man on the box because, you know, Black people serve white people food.

It has to be funny, because if I don’t laugh I’m going to get really upset, and at this anger isn’t beneficial.

So 80 years later, after Master P sells millions of records, plays in the NBA and makes a bunch of low-budget movies (side note: Low budget or not, I Got the Hook Up is a hood classic must-watch), we finally get a box of rice with a black man on the box from a Black man who actually supplies it. I applaud that 100 percent. P is quoted as saying, “We just need some diversity in these grocery stores to say that we can empower our culture and our community — and that’s what I’ve done.​​​​”

P is exactly right. As of 2019, I personally decided to make steps in my life to support Black businesses in every way I possibly can. But I’ve found it to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had to hunt to find general household products, like detergent, bath soap and coffee. Eventually, though, I was able to find sites like webuyblack.com and shoppeblack.com to meet my needs. I’m ashamed to admit, however, that I’ve been an adult for 20 years, and I had no idea how to support my community through my buying power.

There are approximately 32 million small businesses in the U.S., only 2 million of which are Black-owned. And of that 2 million, 1.9 million of them don’t have paid employees. So that’s around 100,000 Black-owned companies with actual employees. And of those 100,000, only three are categorized as Fortune 500 companies — or exactly 3 percent. Why such a small percent? Well, the wealth gap and access to funding are the biggest reasons. And also, that American staple called discrimination. Research has shown that even in situations with similar financial resources, when applying for small-business loans, home equity doesn’t translate equally between Black and white people. Surprise surprise. 

So that’s why I applaud Master P for showing us the way — not just selling entertainment but moving to another level completely. Being a part of my everyday life, in what I eat, wear, clean, everything. Let me support the Black community in as many ways as possible — through sports, entertainment and now baked goods. Because if I’m buying a product with a Black person on the box, I expect a black person to benefit from it.

Does anybody know of any Black-owned sneaker companies? Cause I’m about done with Nike.

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