Conspicuous consumption is gross, but conscious consumption puts capitalism to work for a good cause. That’s the idea behind this year’s Blackout Day, which takes place on July 7.
Black people are encouraged to avoid buying anything on July 7 to demonstrate their spending power and “break free from the chains of financial servility,” organizers say. Those who can’t avoid purchasing anything on Tuesday are asked to buy from Black-owned businesses.
The Blackout Day concept dates back to 2015, when it was a Tumblr-based holiday celebrating Blackness with selfies. But as Complex reports, the 2020 version is separate from the Tumblr campaign, which was the brainchild of Mars Sebastian, T’von Green, and Nukirk. Blackout Day 2020 spun up from a video from Calvin Martyr.
On Twitter, Sebastian says the erasure “hurts,” but “I hope a TON of people participate in the general boycott/black business support.”
American culture co-opts much from the Black community and instead of giving back, dollars get diverted away from Black businesses and entire market categories ignore the needs of Black consumers. One day is not going to undo that injustice, but by highlighting Black-owned businesses, people can become more aware of the power of their dollar and the variety of choices they have when they spend it.
These Black-owned businesses all have products and services available online that can help you make better buying decisions and better your life.
Rain can ruin a lot of things, including hairstyles. Hairbrella solves that problem by protecting hair in a way that an umbrella could never hope to. The ingenious design of the original has gotten a COVID-inspired makeover with extended protection in the form of a face shield.
Everybody could use some spa time now but with social distancing, your local spa (read: bathroom) is best. Stock up on some supplies from SW&G Essentials, which also has hand sanitizer that’s 80 percent alcohol.
The Lit Bar
The number of bookstores (not just independent bookstores but any bookstore) in the outer boroughs of New York has dwindled so much that some just have one. The Bronx had none after a Barnes & Noble closed, and that’s when The Lit Bar came to be. But with COVID forcing it to close its doors to the public, the bookstore is beloved but beleaguered. The store is shipping some selections, though, organized into categories like 2020 Survival Kit. (And who doesn’t need that?)
Whether you’re missing the gym or have just decided to start an exercise program, Ailey Extension will keep you on your toes. The program is part of Alvin Ailey’s legacy and while the classes used to be available only to those in New York, they’re now conducted by Zoom. The classes are dance-centric but not dance-exclusive.
Puzzles arguably have never fallen out of favor but rarely in recent times have they been so popular. Puzzle Huddle has lots of colorful, cheerful puzzles for kids of all ages. The STEM Love puzzle is a particular delight.
Blk & Bold
That hot beverage you were treating yourself to from the corner coffee shop might be on hold, but with Blk & Bold you can become your own barista. The shop sells coffee and tea blends and has a subscription service if you want to stay fully stocked.
You could use a happy story right now and Beauty Bakerie is one. Founder Cashmere Nicole was a single mom at 16, put herself through nursing school, made it through breast cancer and still somehow managed to create a multimillion-dollar beauty empire. Its dessert-themed aesthetic is deliciously good.
You may never have cooked at home as much as you have these past few months. When you need a break, there are delivery and takeout options available through lots of apps but with EatOkra, you’ll be supporting Black-owned restaurants in your own neighborhood.