theGrio's guide to buying black online: harnessing black buying power to empower our community

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Buying black has been a hot topic on the Internet among African-Americans for years now, and has been talked about by black leaders for decades. The importance of buying black has been well documented as an avenue to strengthen the black community economically, not only to provide jobs, but also to keep our nearly trillion-dollar buying power in our hands. People like the Anderson Family and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson have conducted experiments and tours centering around the concept of buying black, to empower more of us to do it — yet it seems impractical.

But it’s not impossible. How can the average African-American consumer do his or her part in supporting black businesses?

It’s one thing to talk in theory about buying black; it’s another thing to actually know how to do so. There are many companies online that specifically target African-Americans to help them to buy black. This article aims to guide you to the best of those currently available. Most fall into one of three categories: daily deals sites, online stores, and business directories. Hopefully, once you buy black, you never go back! Buying online makes taking the first step easy.

Daily Deals Sites

Most people are familiar with deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Scoutmob that offer consumers large discounts with companies exchanging deals for more visibility for the sponsoring company. Following in the footsteps of the pioneering firm Black Biz Hookup, many new daily deals sites are looking to connect consumers and black merchants through the same mechanism. Here are four sites that you should keep your eye on:

Ujamaa Deals: Ujamaa Deals was founded in late 2011 by myself and Tre Baker, our CEO. Our goal is not to be a Groupon knockoff, but a black economic investment company that uses daily deals as an avenue to consolidate the buying power of the black community. Ujamaa offers weekly deals from some of the best black-owned businesses that sell products online. Although we are only focusing on online sales currently, the next step for us is to run deals with quality black merchants in cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Houston, and Washington, D.C. Ujamaa hopes to be a powerful platform that transfers the $1 trillion dollar buying power of the black community back to black businesses.

BlackMark-It: BlackMark-It is doing awesome things by providing deals from black-owned companies in Chicago. What impresses me most about them is their ability to find a diverse array of companies to run campaigns through their platform. Launched in early 2012, Black Mark-It has quickly become a major player in the black daily deals space.