In its ongoing efforts to improve Black lives nationwide, social justice organization Black Lives Matter has now made it that much easier for consumers to connect with nearby Black-owned businesses.
The organization on Monday, Dec. 19, partnered with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson New York to launch BackingBlackBusiness.com, an interactive website that allows users to locate Black-owned businesses in their communities and beyond, the Huffington Post reported.
Shoppers can search the new website’s database for businesses through categories such as food and beverage, and lifestyle and entertainment to find exactly what they’re looking for. Black entrepreneurs also are able to add their businesses to the database as a way to connect with consumers.
In a statement, the social justice group said it hopes its new website will eventually become “the biggest and most easily accessible black-businesses database in the country.”
— JWT New York (@JWTNewYork) December 19, 2016
“Black-owned business have long been a staple in the Black community, providing jobs, economic security and somewhere for us to go and feel seen and safe,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said. “In these uncertain times, we need these places more than ever.”
Brent Choi, chief creative officer for J. Walter Thompson New York, reiterated Cullor’s sentiments, adding that the interactive site will hopefully narrow the racial-disparity gap in economic power by increasingly promoting Black-owned businesses.
“We also thought it was important to reframe the role Black-owned small businesses have for the Black community as safe spaces [that] give back and offer a welcoming environment in uncertain political times,” Choi told Co.Create in an interview.
As the reality of a nation headed by real estate tycoon-turned president-elect Donald Trump draws ever closer, the importance of growing and preserving economic strength in the Black community has become a hot-button topic among African-Americans. There is a renewed push this year to invest in more Black-owned businesses, #Bank Black and/or boycott those businesses that don’t support our cause.
All in all, the goal is to pour Black dollars into Black-owned businesses — and that’s exactly what BackingBlackBusiness.com seeks to do.
Consumers can locate businesses in their area by simply plugging in their city, state and ZIP code. For entrepreneurs looking to list their businesses, all they have to do is fill out a simple online form describing their goods and/or services and they can be added to the database.
“The biggest creative challenge was to create a website that created great utility but also an intuitive user experience for both the consumer and business,” Choi said.
The website currently features information on over 300 businesses, most located in large metro areas like New York and Los Angeles, Essence.com reported.