NEW ORLEANS — While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on small business owners across the country, findings from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard.
According to a University of California at Santa Cruz study, the pandemic has been particularly cruel to black-owned businesses. The study said nearly half a million black-owned businesses have shut down for good during the pandemic, a staggering 41%. That's compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is hoping to reverse that trend by extending an opportunity for some business leaders to reach a much broader audience via social media.
“She has been a great source of understanding and support for black entrepreneurs over the years,” said Erika Alexander.
The actress and activist is heading up the takeover. She campaigned for Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Alexander said she will introduce those black-owned business leaders across America via Clinton’s Instagram account, which has a following of nearly 5 million people.
“We are cut off from those circles, we often get a lot of our things from outsiders. I understand why that’s happened but now there is no excuse. We really do need to force the idea and push the collaboration of black people buying from black people.”
One of the businesses benefitting from that take-over is “The Blairisms” founded by Blair and Brandon Dottin-Haley.
Blair Dottin-Haley, a New Orleans native and Xavier University Graduate, is the grandson of prominent New Orleans civil rights activist Oretha Castle-Haley. "The Blairisms" features a line of apparel celebrating black culture and those on the front lines of the resistance.
“We're hoping that this opportunity will be another part of that moment,” said Haley. “I come from a very long line of strong black people including very strong black women. They were all freedom riders and CORE workers. So I grew up with the feeling of a responsibility to carry on the legacy and to carry on this idea of struggle, resistance and activism towards equity and equality.”
The idea is to provide access and opportunity for black entrepreneurs in America, giving support in what has now become an economic pandemic.
“Not only is this an opportunity for us to have more black people pour into entrepreneurs but we can also see the influx of more communities pour into black businesses,” said Brandon Haley, Co-Founder of “The Blairisms.”
Blair and Brandon hope reaching a broader audience on the Instagram account will extend their "Blairisms" across the nation.
“There is value in supporting black business,” said Haley. “When black businesses succeed, the country succeeds.”
The Instagram take-over takes place August 6th via Hillary Clinton’s Instagram account. The “Blairisms” will go live with Erika Alexander at 10:50 pm, EST.
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