A Year of Black Pounds

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A Year of Black Pounds

It is Black Pound Day’s one year anniversary and honestly, I’m feeling pretty emotional.

As a young Black woman and a growing entrepreneur at that, to see a year of black businesses coming together to collaborate, endorse and uphold each other is truly empowering. It’s an age I honestly didn’t know I would see and frankly, one I didn’t know I needed to. Not to this extent.

For those that don’t know, Black Pound Day is a movement started by artist, entrepreneur and music legend Swiss (Yes, I do know about the icons that were So Solid). In June of the hellfire that was 2020, Swiss started a movement that has genuinely changed the black business sphere. On the first Saturday of every month, consumers black, white and many other ethnicities spend the day endorsing black-owned businesses. They buy from them, share new finds and interact with their social media pages. 

I am more than proud to say that I’m someone that was an active contributor from the very beginning and was incredibly lucky to be invited to contribute to the original promotional video among icons such as Big Narstie. In the days before the first Black Pound Day, promotion was genuinely on 100 and traction picked up very quickly.

black pound day

Although this is arguably only to be expected when someone as iconic as Swiss is taking the reins. Despite that though, I’ll be real, I had my reservations. As someone that talks a fair amount about the Black experience, I can honestly say that one of the hardest parts about striving to be “Black excellence”, is the black community itself, especially when it comes to business.

As the entrepreneurial daughter of a business badass myself, I can hold my hands up and say that I’ve witnessed more than enough of crabs in a bucket syndrome in the business sphere. From people asking incessantly for discounts and freebies to literally just being a blatant hater, I had more than a few opinions on the black community when it came to business; one of which I actually addressed almost directly before I found out about the plans for Black Pound Day – please see my Insta post.

Seeing someone completely combat my views of something that means so much to me was honestly refreshing. It takes a level of trust in the people you are attempting to empower and honestly, it’s a trust that I’m so glad Swiss and everyone else involved in BPD had the faith to have on mine and any other doubter’s behalf. Seeing the growth and strength of the movement has been a thoroughly empowering journey. For the past 12 months, I have been exposed to more and more black people endorsing each other than I probably ever had in the years before now.

This is a change that has shifted the shopping experience in more ways than one, too. People, including myself, have become way more conscious of the way they shop. I’ve actually seen people putting up shopping lists on Instagram for people to tag any relevant black businesses in the comments for them to scope out. I know I’ve personally paused my Amazon scroll to see if there are any black people I could be buying from. My entire skincare routine and the majority of my jewellery have all come from black owned brands. My mother has everything from scented candles to oven mitts too.

Furthermore, Black Pound Day actually does a lot more than boost the black economy, it ensures that it can and will continue thriving with the next generations. My siblings are growing up in a space where they can point at an arbitrary object in the living room and say that it came from someone that looks like them and I think that that’s a beautiful thing. And to know that there are so many other people, even those who aren’t even black, that do and feel the same way actually brings me a bit of hope for my generation.

It’s no secret that ours is one that is incredibly vocal when it comes to topics of political importance, but I think something interesting happens when what was political becomes a lifestyle. It really has become the norm. And frankly I’m proud of that. I’m proud to know that when I buy a body scrub I’m funding a little black child’s school uniform. I’m proud of the fact that my little sister can actually name and list some black owned businesses. I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I myself but especially my siblings are growing up surrounded by black entrepreneurs and business owners that they can look up to, even just by bringing them around my friendship group.

They have influences of so many different ages with varying stories and fields of interest. In my circle alone I have a plethora of people from streetwear brand owners to non-fiction authors for my siblings to learn from. Being able to look around and see your people thriving is so important, especially when you’re young. As a teenager, being able to find someone in your field that is four, five, six steps ahead of you is so important and I can personally account for that as an entrepreneur.

black pound day

About Post Author

Henry Tolley

(he/him) Henry a previous Editor-in-Chief of Chapter Z magazine. He specialises in LGBTQ+, film and in-depth community/cultural features.