Robert Johnson sold BET (Black Entertainment Television) to Viacom and the majority control of RLJ Entertainment, which owns, UMC (Urban Movie Channel) to AMC. Congrats Mr. Johnson. I guess in business the only color that matters is green, right? Well, unless you need a base to exploit to grow your business and build your brand.
There’s a lot of talk and some movement in the Afro American community about buying Black as a means of empowering ourselves. Although there’s a lot of merit in this approach there is also a sound argument against it, at least as things stand at the current moment.
In a thriving and mutually satisfying economy, basically, individuals support businesses that employ individuals and support other businesses that also employ individuals and all support the institutions which also employ individuals that they constructed to support and protect them. Each dependent on the equitable distribution of their shared wealth as well as the support and integrity of the other to thrive.
But this hasn’t been our experience. Although far from being mutually satisfying the economy is thriving. The network, functional. The shared wealth distribution, selective. Support, minimal and integrity, lacking. We exist within this network today as our ancestors did yesterday, a resource rather than a participant. But today it’s more of a choice than dictate, in the sense that today we choose when, where, how and why we spend our money. This choice combined with that 1.3 trillion dollar buying power actually empowers us to establish new networks that’s capable of merging into existing networks in a manner where we are participant’s not just resources and therefore entitled to partake in the wealth we helped create. Our ancestors didn’t have that choice and in some instances they were the currency.
Today that buying power enables us to compete in industries as producers where we dominate as consumers. Our industrial revolution is closer than we think. We can actually manufacture the products we use most and provide jobs and investment opportunities in the process. We can do this because with our patronage alone we can sustain it if need be. After all in some industries we’re doing it now anyway while others reap the benefits. The Black hair care industry is a prime example of this. Who, other than Black people use Black hair care products?
Right now there are entirely too many extractive entities in our community, government being the largest, that’s been empowered and/or enriched at our expense even as I write and you read. Most of whom having interests that directly conflict with the interests of our community. Yet wealth flows from our hands to the coffers of a diverse group of recipients within this network on a daily basis even while we sleep. Somehow Money seems to leave our hands as wealth and return as debt. We end up obligated to the entities we’ve enriched. Paying more for less and even more dependent and less self-sustaining with each passing day.
Bob Johnson is not the enemy but we can and should choose to withdraw our support from that ilk and give it to more worthy businessmen and women for whom Black is preferable over green. Lets get our moneys worth and demand more. To be sure, under these circumstances it’s not enough to “buy Black.”
Structural changes are in order to maximize the benefits of “buying Black.” There has to be alliances and agreements in place within our national and international communities to support and enforce the reciprocity of the overall arrangement. If not all we’ll get is more of the same with a complexion correction and if that’s all you want you had 8 years of that. How did that work out for you?
Interests Over Party and Personality, ALWAYS!
Walter Mitchell Jr.