Beyoncé released ‘Black Parade’ on Juneteenth and a directory of Black owned businesses to support. Yelp is highlighting Black owned businesses and rapper “Tip” Harris is backing the “Blackout” movement, in support of Black owned companies and advancing the interests of Black people. Who’s in control? With so much energy, momentum and the many platforms sprouting up, who is leading this movement? The question misses the mark entirely and ultimately, Black people are better served questioning who is still uninvolved in the movement.
There is no shortage in the things that Black people and Black businesses, in particular, need. Black businesses needed more customers. We Buy Black, Official Black Wall Street and yes, even Beyoncé, are helping to get the word out about Black companies. Black people need to be inspired and energized to shift their habits: the Blackout movement is certainly useful, in that sense. Black people need to get involved in real estate and platforms like Buy The Block make getting involved much easier, for sure. There are a host of needs that Black people have and for those, there are a number of solutions, leaders and platforms. No one individual is in control, nor should that be the case.
To be sure, there are dangers with diversity and more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Ultimately, Black people must be strategic with their strength, efforts and energy. There are some that have conviction and zeal but their strategies may not be that refined. Others may just want to be out front, to be the star of the show, if you will. The easiest way to evaluate it all is to judge each person, platform or initiative, based on whether their guiding philosophy matches up with the elders that have already given us the blueprint. Marcus Garvey, Amos Wilson, Elijah Muhammad, Dr. Claud Anderson and a host of others have already shown us what must be done. No one, regardless of what they claim, has any new knowledge that rises above what these leaders have already given: all that is left is to align our efforts today with their guidance.
There are many leaders and that’s a good thing. There will be tensions but even that isn’t new. Dr. King got into it with SNCC, Roy Wilkins sometimes differed with James Farmer and the list goes on. Differences don’t have to divide, they can ultimately make the movement stronger. That does, of course, require sincerity and a great deal of maturity. Diversity can strengthen but above all things, it requires Black people to measure every thought, word and deed by the instructions already given by the elders.