The Black Lives Matter movement calls on all of us to make long-term commitments to respond directly to systematic racism and to help fight racial inequality.
One way of taking action is by showing your support for Black Pound Day, a monthly initiative encouraging support of Black-owned businesses, both locally and online.
What is Black Pound Day?
Founded by Swiss, a member of So Solid Crew, Black Pound Day is a monthly event with a "a solution-based approach set up to support the growth of the Black economy". The primary aim is to address and facilitate change around the economic inequalities affecting Black businesses and entrepreneurs.
"We invite all communities to promote and spend with Black businesses locally and online," organisers write on their website. "BPD aims to unite all cultures and ethnicities to support Black business and strengthen the Black economy."
Black Pound Day also provides an opportunity for consumers to find out more about how they can make enduring commitments in support of Black-owned businesses.
Swiss has recently been reflecting on Black Pound Day's impact in its first year, writing: "According to Google, in the same year the initiative started Black businesses were searched for more than ever in London since the inception of the internet, which is indicative of the movement's huge impact.
"Black Pound Day is officially the biggest economic movement for Black people in the UK since time immemorial and has successfully turned unconscious consumers to intentional spenders and political protesters to economic activists."
When is Black Pound Day?
Black Pound Day takes place on the first Saturday of every month and is about to mark its first anniversary – it was launched on June 27, 2020.
The next Black Pound Day takes place on Saturday, June 5, with further events for the second half of 2021 on July 3, August 7, September 4, October 2, November 6 and December 4.
How can we show support for Black Pound Day?
According to the Black Pound Day website, "if we spend just £10 a week on Black businesses, we can inject £1.9bn into the Black community".
Black Cinema is a drive-in cinema dedicated to celebrating Black art and culture. Visit the official website to find out more about their plans, including a schedule of events as they're announced.
If you're looking for some houseplants, then why not check out Prick, London's first shop dedicated to cacti and succulents?
The store was founded by Gynelle Leon, who's an award winning photographer with a masters' degree in forensic science. On the shop's website, Gynelle describes cacti and succulents as "a beautiful and sustainable way to transform any interior... Due to their low maintenance and hardy nature, they're well suited to modern city living". You can also buy from Prick online, as well as visiting the store in Dalston.
Sunmo Snacks' sweet potato puffs and plantain crisps are vegan-friendly, and stocked in Sainsbury's, Selfridges and at Whole Foods. They're also available to buy on Amazon and direct from Sunmo's website.
"Each Sunmo pack sold provides a meal for a vulnerable child in Nigeria – making them not just mouth-watering snacks but also the Snacks That Give Back," the company's founder Victoria wrote on Instagram. "We have created a brand that not only aims to do a little good in the world but transcends nationalities and culture."
There's Craig and Shaun McAnuff (@originalflava on Instagram), who are also authors of a best-selling cookbook. The brothers also regularly share recipes on their social channels and recently launched their own podcast – and on June 17, they'll be teaching an online Caribbean cooking class.
For home inspiration, check out Detola and Geek, who make lovely lampshades and homewares. If you're in the mood to try making something at home, Tola (@detolaandgeek on Instagram) sells lampshade kits, too...
Siblings Jojo and Dani founded Kende (@kendeldn on Instagram) after a trip to Ghana, and aim to "blend tradition and modernity with an African twist".
Kende's catalogue includes phone cases for iPhone, Samsung and Google Pixel handsets, as well as kitchenware, homeware and face masks.
There's the swimwear, underwear and hosiery brand Nubian Skin (@nubianskin on Instagram)...
And there's fashion brand Enitan London (@enitanlondon on Instagram). The company's owner and head designer Sarah Ogunbowale told The Telegraph that since the first Black Pound Day on June 27, "the growth in sales and activity has been phenomenal and has continued to do so ever since".
The Afro Hair and Skin Co (@afrohairandskinco on Instagram) was founded by Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka and specialises in award-winning, plant-powered natural hair & skincare products, made with organic, locally-sourced ingredients.
If you're looking for something new to read, why not pay a visit to New Beacon Books (@newbeaconbooks on Instagram)? The store was founded in 1966, and is based in Stroud Green, north London – and of course, you can order online, too.
Michael La Rose, the shop's director and son of founder John La Rose, recently told The Guardian: "The consciousness-raising of the global BLM movement has made every country question what is going on in their societies – people want to know what has happened in the past, to get books, to get information, to get facts. That led to more business on our website and people walking into the bookshop."
There are so many UK-based Black businesses to support, and the Black Pound Day website has recently launched a marketplace where you can purchase products directly, to compliment its existing business directory.
If you're on social media, you can also use the hashtag #BlackPoundDay and share purchases and recommendations on your networks and with friends.
Black Pound Day events, markets and fundraisers
As lockdown measures lift, in-person events and markets are starting up again.
The official Black Pound Day market is back at the Legacy Centre of Excellence in Birmingham, with June 5's event running from 12pm to 6.30pm. Entry is free, but you'll need to head to Eventbrite to pick up a ticket.
The Legacy Centre of Excellence is Europe's largest independent Black-owned business and arts centre, and it's also confirmed plans to host this year's Black British Book Festival, which now takes place on June 26 from 11am (more information and tickets are available here).
Meanwhile, the Black Culture Market returns to The Department Store in Brixton, running over two days (Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6) from 11am to 5pm.
And Pearl Ivy, who produced a beautiful American Horror Story-themed illustration for a previous issue of Digital Spy Magazine, will be at the Black Culture Market on Saturday.
If you can't make the market, then Pearl also has an online store.
Black Pound Day has also started a partnership with Google Digital Garage to provide free live webinars – no pre-reading is necessary, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions during the sessions. The next webinar, about digital marketing strategy, takes place on June 8.
For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.
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