Big business is getting hip to the power and influence of Black women’s voices, and instead of just investing in Black women or giving us credit by making us the face of their brand, they are capitalizing on our expression by back-handedly using our voices to bolster their brands and boost their stock prices.
Even though the genius and innovative creativity of Black women has left indelible marks on every culture we’ve existed in since the beginning of time, it took a Nielsen report to solidify it for the “mainstream.”
The recently released report explicitly stated, “‘Black Girl Magic’ and brand loyalty is propelling total Black buying power toward $1.5 trillion by 2021.” It followed with many details about why this is happening, including our “independent mindsets,” “social influence,” natural ability to set trends as part of our “desire for change,” and more.
I’m no finance expert, but it is clear that some brands have already benefitted from leveraging the social power and influence of Black women’s voices, prior to the report. The process looks like this: a company’s stock slumps, they create a “micro-aggression” ad campaign targeting Black women, Black women utilize their social media platforms to rage against the brand – bringing more attention to its products than they would’ve garnered otherwise – causing the stock price to briefly drop, the company then issues an apology and their stock price sky-rockets out of a long-term slump.
A perfect example is Pepsi, who prior to April had been experiencing a stock slump. They released the “Jumping In” ad campaign, that featured a watered-down model – well-known for being a parasite of Black girl culture – in a position of a “liberation movement” often associated with Black women and communities. The models’ simple action suddenly cured the world of centuries of racial injustice, in about 2 seconds.
Black women, including Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King, took the company to task via social media, which boosted the ads views to 1.3 million within two days of being released. After facing severe backlash, the company pulled the ad, issued an apology and in a week, their stock prices shot up and continued to increase due to brand loyalists easily appeased by public apologies (which is Marketing, PR & Advertising Tactics 101).
Think I’m reaching? Take a look at Nivea’s stock history leading up to their “white is purity” ad in April; and Unilever’s stock history leading up to the release of their Dove ad, in early October, that “cleansed” a Black woman to whiteness.
This anti-Black woman business model shows that 1) big business has a problem with giving Black women credit for lifting their businesses out of any type of slump; and 2) a form of free labor is emerging where businesses benefit financially from Black women – whom put more eyes on their products – without compensating us for it.
So what does this mean for LOUD Girls?
LOUD Girl Movement is all about Black women using their voices, but it’s important that we are crystal clear of the value of our voice and the dollar signs that are attached.
Ideas for LOUD Girls
Don’t publicize ads that attack Black women. Yes, the fact that it’s 2017 and people are still doing racist shit is disappointing, but are we really surprised? The hundreds of thousands of people who follow Black women are interested in BLACK WOMEN, so we encourage LOUD Girls to continuing using their platforms to bolster their personal and business brands.
ALWAYS USE YOUR VOICE. LOUD Girl Movement loves LOUD Girls’ voices! When companies get froggish, share information about Black owned businesses that produce the same product or shout out a brand or product that respects Black women.
Put your money where your mouth is. This may sound like an obvious one but it may not be – don’t buy where you are not honored (even if they do apologize). No matter how much you love a product or how close in proximity a store is to your home – if a place or brand does not treat you and those who look like you with respect – don’t give them one red cent. You deserve the best treatment.
LOUD and All,
Editor, LOUD Girl Movement Blog