Tuesday marks Blackout Day 2020, when Black people are encouraged against spending any money except with Black-owned businesses to show just how much dollars from Black communities are worth to the nation’s economy. Organizers behind the cause say they have a handful of objectives they’re looking to accomplish with the day of racial and economic solidarity.
“This movement is an awakening of the national consciousness of black people in America and abroad. We need economic solidarity in America amongst all black people unequivocally,” the website for Blackout Day 2020 says in part. “In order to break free from the chains of financial servility, we will organize days, weeks, months, and years if necessary when not one black person in America will spend a dollar outside of our community.”
Flyers have been popping up across the country advertising Blackout Day 2020 accompanied by the tag line, “money talks, let’s speak their language.”
To be sure, Black buying power is a formidable force. Even though the racial wealth gap is actually widening, Black people can spend money with the best of them, statistics show. With nearly 50 million Black people in the United States, Black consumers spend more than $1 trillion a year. Nielsen, which provides analytical insights about the habits of consumers, has documented the trends associated with that tremendously reliable level of spending.
Nielsen’s report, entitled, “It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase,” found in part that the spending by Black consumers is especially influenced by advertising, with about $573.6 million spent on an annual basis on beauty and grooming products. Black also folks prefer to spend their money in person instead of over the internet.
All of the above makes participation in Blackout Day 2020 that much more vital. For there to be any measure of success, it must be all hands on deck, organizers said.
Aside from flexing Black folks’ economic muscles, Blackout Day 2020 also comes along with a set of expectations from organizers who are asking for the following: “that we stop being shot down in the streets;” “that racist legislation be purged from the books, and the cancerous ideology that this country was founded upon be rooted out; “that we have equal opportunity to access funding so that we can conduct business and practice group economics amongst ourselves;” “that we are allowed to build our own communities and industries and be left alone; “that you stop murdering our leaders when they attempt to unite us as a people.”
The planned economic boycott came as the nation was protesting racism, police violence and the oftentimes deadly combination of both following a series of high profile deaths of innocent and unarmed Black people by police and vigilante citizens alike. Even before Blackout Day 2020 arrived, the effects of the protests on Black-owned businesses and organizations were already being felt as they both were seeing a surge in monetary donations and patronage.
If Blackout Day 2020 is half as successful as that informal and unplanned economic boycott of the past few months has been, then organizers predict Black people can continue those spending patterns moving forward.
“United, we are an unstoppable force. We are a nation of people within this nation that at any time can demand our liberation by withholding our dollars,” the Blackout Day 2020 website said. “If we can do it for a day, we can do it for a week, a month, a quarter, a year…and one day we will look up and it will be a way of life.”