Black America experienced some memorable money moments in 2016. Some were historical and celebratory, while other moments were the result of less than fortunate events. We take a look back at a few of the memorable money moments that impacted the Black community this year.
Black Women Lead the Entrepreneurial Race
In 2015, Black women were the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. This trend maintained throughout 2016 as African-American women continued to open new firms at a historically fast rate. Since 2007, Black women have comprised 80 percent of all new businesses started by minority women. Even with setbacks unique to minority entrepreneurs, such as limited access to resources, small businesses started and maintained by women of color continued to appear throughout the year. This was a major Black money moment of 2016. And by looking at previous years’ trends, it appears that Black women will continue to expand entrepreneurially as they focus on making further strides in the tech and other industries.
Young Black Entrepreneurs Made Their Mark
Children also made their entrepreneurial mark in 2016. One of the best Black money moments was when 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer, the founder of Me and the Bees Lemonade, closed a historical 11 million dollar deal with Whole Foods Market. Ulmer quickly won the hearts of millions with her infectious smile and business smarts. The big news of her deal was shared more than 50 thousand times on social media.
Membership in Black Banks Soars
In the summer of 2016, several Black financial institutions saw a record number of new memberships. Thousands decided to make the switch to Black banks to simultaneously strengthen Black economics and protest an unjust financial system. Rapper Killer Mike is credited for the rise in memberships for one bank after he campaigned to black Americans via social media and various appearances to support black financial institutions. Killer Mike’s goal was to get one million people to open accounts at Citizens Trust Bank, a 95-year-old black owned bank headquartered in Atlanta. Not long afterwards, several celebrities, including Solange, Usher and Jermaine Dupri all shared their decision to switch to a Black-owned bank.
Black Activists Initiate Economic Boycott
Indiscriminate harassment and killings of unarmed Black citizens sparked the economic boycotts of the summer of 2016. Activists in Charlotte, N. C. initiated one of the first boycotts after the murder of Keith Lamont Scott. Black Lives Matter's Asheville, N.C. chapter followed suit and created the Asheville Black Out boycott event that occurred on September 26-27. Activists encouraged consumers to withstand from buying from mainstream corporations and instead buy from Black businesses and vendors. Activist Shaun King also encouraged an economic boycott similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery Bus Boycott.