It fronts as money, but its true power lies in its ability to shape mass-market swag.
Commerce, as popularly regarded, is the ability to do business transactions – the exchanging of money for goods and services. That’s the easy side of commerce. It’s the part that we do without thinking about.
The other side of commerce is social exchange. These are social transactions that build billionaires, birth social trends, and leaves others feeling used and pimped.
(Walk with me on this one …)
When you spend money, do you look for Black-owned businesses first? I know that as a business owner, when you’re looking for talent, for services, for goods that you need for your business and for your family, sometimes you can’t always buy Black.
But do you try? #Realtalk
We are quick to talk about how other cultures come into Black communities and make MILLIONS (I’m thinking of hair extensions, weaves, and braid supplies) but do we—you and I—intentionally “buy black”?
I will go further.
Do you check to see what brands you are buying that do or do not actively respect the “Black Dollar” by providing some sort of systematic way to put money BACK into Black communities?
I know I haven’t.
I was so happy just be able to afford brand name shoes, clothes, cars, houses (#firstgenerationwealth) I didn’t care who I bought from. Now as I have become “financially woke”, I check to see what companies of all races value, and what they stand for. I check to see if the companies I spend my money with are donating a portion of the profits to scholarships, urban planning, supporting small businesses, women in business, etc.
If I find a company that’s exploiting anything I hold dear, I put them on blast.
And I let my social commerce sway the mass market.
Walk with me so I can show you what I mean …
If you think about what made the record-breaking Black Panther movie so remarkable was the level of pride Black people—worldwide—expressed for having a movie that represented us as an un-colonized society allowed to flourish. I remember watching a viral video of school kids dancing on desks, happy because they were going to see Black Panther. I watched dozens of YouTube videos from all over the world of Black/African people dressing up to go to the movies as if it were the Oscars.
I read article after …
… after article,
… after blog,
… after editorial …
trying to explain why this movie, in this social climate, was such a phenomenal success.
Besides the obvious fact that it was a brilliant Marvel movie, fully funded, with an amazing cast and an extraordinary director, in this historical moment showing an emotionally mature Black Man empowering Black Women—in the most technologically advanced country in the world—the success of Black Panther is social commerce at its finest.
WE—you and I—made Black Panther cool. Hip. Relevant. Dope. Fire.
And the world responded. The world came out to see what all the fuss was about. And they too saw something inspiring …
… just as inspiring as Coltrane riffing on the saxophone shining bright from sweat and blues …
… just as inspiring as Elvis’ hips, twists, and drawl anointed from hanging out in “colored” clubs …
… just as inspiring as mixing, scratching, and break-dancing giving voice to youth, worldwide, making them unafraid to spit their feelings onto a mix tape or a microphone.
Sis—this is what we didn’t learn: the world looks to US for the next trend, the next hair style, the next slang to know who THEY are.
It’s what we have given the world for free and were never taught to value or monetize for ourselves.
Until now …
Social commerce is the one thing Black people have consistently provided the mass market, but never first monetized for ourselves. But with the amazing impact of social media, social marketing, and technology that levels the playing field, you and I can monetize that which has been our biggest asset for so long: Social Commerce.
JayZ is doing it with Tidal.
Shonda Rhimes is doing it with Twitter.
President Obama did with “Yes we can.”
Don’t sleep, sis. Commerce—social commerce—is more than the exchange of exchange of money for food and services. It’s more than money in the bank.
Social commerce is the bank.
Let me hear from you.
With all the love my heart can hold…