What ‘standing on business’ is all about

This trending slang term has taken over social media; here is everything you need to know to “stand on business” and keep your Black card.

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It feels like every few months, the Black community introduces fresh trending slang that inherently becomes part of people’s daily vernacular. And just as people are getting accustomed to one term, another emerges on the social media streets. Most recently, the expression “standing on business”/ “stand on business” has taken over social media and transcended the virtual streets into the actual streets. Here is everything you need to know about the trending slang. 

What does ‘stand on business’ mean?

Once upon a time, elders used to encourage young people to “keep their word.” Now, the new generation of adults is encouraging everyone to “stand on business,” which essentially means the same thing. Widely popularized by Drake’s lyrics in the song “Daylight,” the phrase “standing on business” is the modern-day version of “don’t just talk about it, be about it.” While the context in which it’s used may vary, the phrase ultimately symbolizes a few things: 

  • Taking care of your business/obligations
  • Practicing what you preach so when you say you’re going to do something, you do it
  • Maintaining any boundaries or promises you’ve set for yourself 
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Understanding the meaning and usage of “stand on business,” a popular expression that is used in Drake’s song “Daylight.” (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“When people say they stand on business, what they are looking to say is, ‘I understand my own needs and I advocate for them, and when someone shows me they cannot meet those needs, I’m willing to remove myself peacefully,’” Sigourney Norman said in an interview with The New York Times.

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How to incorporate ‘stand on business’ into your vocabulary

The beauty behind this new slang term is its versatility. Though everyone may be standing on business, the business can vary depending on the person and the situation. Here are some of the many ways you can introduce the expression into your vocabulary. 

  • “I said I wanted to lose weight this year, so I’m gonna stand on business and go to the gym.” 
  • “My boss keeps emailing me on my day off, but I’m standing on business. They’ll get a response when I’m back in the office.” 
  • “My ex-partner wants to get back together, but I said no. I’m standing on business.” 

Embracing the ‘stand on business’ trend

The fascination with understanding trending slang goes far beyond one’s desire to stay in the know or appear cool amongst young people, as experts have found that slang has a lasting impact on society’s communication. Linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer once told Time magazine that slang allows “cultural groups to create their own kind of territory through language,” which ultimately fuels a sense of community and commonality. The power of slang appears in both daily interactions but also largely recognized institutions. Last year, the Oxford University Press announced “rizz,” a slang term popularized by Black streamer Kai Cenat, as the Oxford Word of the Year 2023. 

Whether you choose to incorporate “standing on business” into your daily vernacular, the trend serves as a reminder to uphold the boundaries you establish for yourself and prioritize your mental health, values, and, ultimately, your business. 

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