No sooner than a day later after Solange told all of the disrespectful non-black people NOT to touch her hair, someone had the audacity to touch mine.
I was in the middle of WTF, Illinois in the year of 2016 on my family's annual apple picking trip (yeah, we do that!) when all of a sudden a woman exclaims that she *HAS* to touch my hair and then proceeds to do just that. It is experiences like these that give me a very unfortunate lens into the world around me. How do I, as a consumer, learn to actively support brands that actively support me as a human being? As I am listening to Solange telling me to rise as her album begins, I can't help that it's a call to action to all Black people to fashion your OWN chairs and demand a seat at the table that we always provided sustenance for, but were never given the privilege to be invited as guests. So, here are 5 reasons why buying Black should be the first move whenever you consider parting with your dollars.
This track just sounds like Solo has had more than enough. In this moment, she is over asking for a seat at the table because she knows she doesn't need to ask for permission. She knows she belongs there, and is challenging you to take what is owed to you as well. How many times have you walked into a space as a consumer or even a guest and felt as if you didn't belong? How many times have you been online shopping or browsing though ads or commercials or shows or whatever else and wondered where YOU were? As I've become more intentional about shopping and supporting those who look like me, I find myself asking if I belong less and less. How can I not belong when everything was created by someone in my image?
2. "Cranes In The Sky"
I have lost count over this past year when I have been totally overwhelmed with Black murders in these last couple of years and I have found that it is incredibly easy to feel alienated. Sometimes, I just don't have it in me to pretend as if nothing is wrong, but when I get around Black people- I don't have to pretend.
Non- Black (mostly white) people are often confused when we are angry about situations that remind us that few people believe that we are human. When we hear things like "white people get killed by police officers, TOO" or "Maybe you guys should have said Black Lives Matter, TOO", it makes us want to punch you in the face. But, then when we do that, we're perpetuating a violent narrative about Black people that white people created.....the cycle continues....do you see why we're so mad? Here's the thing: when you buy, support, encourage, and choose to shop with people that have the same stories as you- you don't need to explain why you feel the way you do. They just get it. And when you know you're spending your time and money with people that are helping YOUR people on a larger scale, you have a little less to be mad about.
If this song doesn't remind you that things that are made by us are better FOR us, then you need to stop, pause, rewind and play until you get it. Not only should it remind you of this, but it also reminds you to not feel bad when white people don't understand why you're supporting or loving on yourself. There doesn't need to be an explanation, nor will you get one. I'm choosing to support my own because I love my own and I want to see my own grow. Get over it.
This song takes an opportunity to address cultural appropriation, so imagine for a second all of the companies, brands, and "icons" that benefit from wearing our culture like a costume. Everyone wants to be Black, but do they, really? I don't even have to ask myself that question because I don't have to and I don't want to. I would rather do the work to try and figure out what businesses are Black and offer excellent products, then figure out, email, pray, and ask for non-Black businesses to recognize me and take my needs into consideration. I'd rather go back to Black.