As a fair warning, this blog may seem like a clap back, a rant, a call out…
This is a call to action.
It all started with a hashtag search. That’s right. I was literally on LinkedIn. Typed #Blackentrepreneurship in the search bar. And was deeply disappointed from there.
Shocked, I migrated from platform to platform. Except, this time, I switched up the hashtags. I even explored pages, posts, groups. Still, disappointed.
The search quickly turned into a mission. A full-blown assignment.
Ditching the social platforms, I moseyed over to publications like Essence, Black Enterprise, Score.org. There, my disappointment turned into frustration and disheartenment.
Because it wasn’t what I saw on these platforms. These negative emotions stemmed from what I did not see.
I did not see a single piece of content (let alone a network) that fully represented the true journey, stories, and faces of Black entrepreneurship.
All I wanna know is, where my peoples at? Where is our online community?
Black entrepreneurs, where is our safe space to just be ourselves? To share and celebrate our real stories? Have authentic conversations that propel our businesses and our communities?
What exactly did I see?
On almost every platform, a majority of the content highlighted influencers, celebrities, and hyper-successful Black business owners. These stories were quite fantastical!
Black entrepreneurs were depicted as unicorns. Rare, triumphant, heroic, brand “saviors.” As if, their product or service would miraculously transform your business for the better.
On the other hand, some stories and content heavily perpetuated the classic started-from-the-bottom, rags-to-riches narrative.
Now, I’m not hatin’ on my brothers and sisters. I’m all for celebrating my people and their wins.
It’s just that, after a while, that storyline and content style feels very repetitive or one-note.
There’s so much more to Black entrepreneurship than being a self-proclaimed liberator or overcoming the impossible.
Not to mention, platforms and publications, more specifically LinkedIn, Essence, Black Enterprise, etc. seem to romanticize or glamorize Black business success.
Although they document the experience of one, they simultaneously warp the expectation and reality of many.
Every time I read such stories, I begin to internalize them, wondering…
Why has MK Copywriting not earned its first million?
How come I can’t receive such great recognition?
When and what was going to be my big break?
Odds are, I may never have one. That’s completely okay.
What’s not okay? A majority of their stories do not resonate with me. They hardly ever take the time to acknowledge everyday, regular, shmegular Black business owners. I distance myself as a coping mechanism.
As these platforms place super successful entrepreneurs on a pedestal, uplifting their stories – they are subconsciously bringing others down. That’s probably not their intent. However, that bias adversely clouds the lens of the entire Black business community.
If they are not talking about extreme success, celebrities, or promoting an offer, there are crickets. A noticeably silent divide. These stories are slowly pulling us apart instead of bringing us closer together.
Hmm… maybe it’s a space for conversation. An encouraging opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to engage, network, connect. Could be stories that celebrate our success alongside the journey towards getting there.
In other words, we need a balance. Balance requires a lil’ more of this…
Conversation is key. Truth is, conversations spark our stories. They are rich with lessons, release, and connectivity. Black entrepreneurs crave and deserve open dialogue that honors vulnerability just as equally as our accomplishments.
Let’s take time to see, hear, and understand each other. Maybe we would appreciate the success stories so much more.
I repeat, there’s so much more to Black entrepreneurship than being a self-proclaimed liberator or overcoming the impossible.
So, why aren’t we talkin’ about:
….from a Black entrepreneurs standpoint?
Matter of fact, how do we define success? Which path should we take to achieve it? Those are some connecting, conversation starters! I am sure those conversations are just as inspirational and intriguing fueling our growth. No longer uplifting just one; but all.
We need realistic representation to create inclusive conversations.
I dare you to look closely into content that surrounds Black entrepreneurship. You will recognize the same pattern that I witnessed.
Even though the “main character,” so to speak, is indeed a Black entrepreneur, they often do not represent the masses. They follow one of two archetypes.
The standard only represents 5% of what real Black entrepreneurship looks like. Yet, makes up 95% of Black entrepreneurship content….
I completely made up those numbers. You get what I’m saying though, right?
Black entrepreneurial platforms should mirror fact over fantasy.
When I think of Black-owned, I envision my mama’s hairstylist whose bustling salon is right up the street. A waft of hot-pressed hair and setting spray gently caresses your face, time you open the door. Time you step into her booth, she’s in your tresses…and your ear, spillin’ all the tea.
When I think of Black-owned, I see the esteemed local attorney. You know! The proud HBCU graduate. He finished top of his class, only to start back at the bottom. Case by case, he climbed the legal ladder eventually making partner to now having a firm of his own.
When I think of Black-owned, I think of someone like me! A somewhat newbie entrepreneur filled with grit and ambition. She takes a few leaps and stumbles in pursuit of her business success. Yet, her potential, passion, and purpose keep her grounded and pushing forward.
THIS is what’s missing! Our stories. The voices and authenticity that also come with. Give us the real. Realistic representation. So we can better speak on our journeys and understand that it’s okay to just be who we are.
I feel that these platforms and their content is so quick to leverage Black entrepreneurs – acknowledging our accomplishments and successes. Give us the headline and spotlight. However, they hardly ever support us in getting there.
Essence, LinkedIn, Instagram gloss over the struggles. Content is solely focused on glory.
If these platforms play such a role in our destinations — they should at least take some of the responsibility for the journey. At least, that would be nice.
Maybe their stories would have more meaning. They’d understand our burden and barriers we battle daily. Articles would celebrate our first, small win (not just the greatest). Content would uplift and inspire entrepreneurs working towards that corporate partnership or panelist invite. I’m sure they would write with more humor or empathy. Share resources, wisdom that equips and heals the Black business person in you.
I’d hoped or anticipated these platforms would be an ally to the Black business community. Instead, they are more so a reward.
Here I am, thinking I don’t belong because I did not receive the prize. In actuality, they don’t belong. Publications, celebrities, influencers, don’t understand, see, or experience true Black entrepreneurship. That is not who they are (in my humble opinion). They are merely enamored, outsiders looking in.
Since they are not a part of the community, they are unable to healthily foster and support it.
So, I searched for Black entrepreneurship. I mined for inclusive conversations, realistic representation, and sustainable support system gold. Platform to platform, I looked for a community dedicated to Black business owners more like me.
Not because I wanted it. But, because I needed it.
I couldn’t find it. So, I created it.
I introduce you to Black-Owned Table Talk.
A Facebook Group that allows Black entrepreneurs to just be.
Inside you’ll find inclusive conversations, realistic representation, a sustainable support system, plus so much more.
Expect a perfectly imperfect collective. All purposed Black business owners and professionals with a story to tell.
This is where we put it all on the table. Show up and let your voice be heard.
What do you wanna talk about? What do you need?
You got it!
Welcome to Black-Owned Table Talk Facebook Group. Your brand’s resource and refuge where we celebrate your journey of entrepreneurship as you progress towards your desired destination.