Entertainer Wyclef Jean is boosting Black-owned businesses for Black Friday, after many were particularly hard-hit by the.
The artist penned a jingle for Google to convince people to shop at businesses owned by Black Americans, with lyrics that read:
They say spend for less.
We say take your hard-earned dollars
To a Black-owned business.
Oh it’s the season to show up and show love.
Black Friday is Black-owned Friday.”
Known for making hit songs such as “Borrowed Time,” Jean is also known for lending a helping hand — after the September 11 attacks, he paid tribute to and raised money for families who lost loved ones. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he used his gift once again to help and heal.
Amid the struggles gripping the country, Jean told CBS News’ Jericka Duncan that it was the thought of his parents, Haitian immigrants, that partially inspired him to help.
“My parents came here. They were middle class, hard-working people. And my father, not only was he a minister, he also was a tailor,” the artist said. “So for me, it was important to step up on the right side of history.”
More than half of Black-owned businesses may be forced to close by April without, according to one economic research group.
As part of Jean’s partnership with Google, the search giant enabled the ability to search for Black-owned businesses in one’s area on Google Maps.
“If you invest in Black-owned businesses, you really, really are helping these families directly,” Jean said.
According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the pandemic has forced 41% of Black-owned businesses to close their doors for good. By contrast, only 17% of White-owned businesses have faced the same fate.
“Make sure that this is not just a buy Black day, but this is really a movement so that it has some long term sustainability,” said Ron Busby, president of nonprofit group U.S. Black Chambers, Incorporated.
Busby said Black-owned businesses often have less access to capital.
“The quickest way to create wealth is through the creation of businesses,” he said. “So we want to ensure that our businesses have the resources that they need.”
Big cities like Chicago are also urging people to shop Black this Friday. Local business owner Danni Mullen, who runs Semicolon Bookstore, said she hopes the city’s efforts will be enough for her to stay afloat.
“There have been multiple moments throughout this pandemic where I wake up and say we probably have another week maybe,” Mullen said.
In New York City, small business owner Sarah Williams recently celebrated the years of owning Rituals and Ceremony, which specializes in home goods and self-care products.
“Well, thankfully, we survive. Unfortunately, there are some stores that on our block that had to shut down. And so thankfully, we were able to pivot to online,” Williams said.
Williams pointed to the “whole racial climate” in the country when asked why the message of supporting Black-owned businesses this holiday season was resonating.
“Like the unfortunate killing ofand the protests, then Black Lives Matter,” she said. “It’s just a resurgence of like, realizing that we need to support one another.”
It is that awareness Jean hopes will generate money for Black-owned businesses — an example he said should start from him and others in his position.
“It means that people like us, people that are billionaires, people that have 100 million, 50 million,” Jean said. “We have to not just talk, but we have to show them that we are cleaning our houses first.”