Business & Money

Nothing Beats Buying Black!

By Azizah Muhammad | Last updated: Sep 19, 2019 - 1:07:27 PM

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From left: Shareef Abdul-Malik, founder of We Buy Black, Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated 5, Ali and Abdullah Rasheed of No Rich Uncle at the 2019 We Buy Black Convention in Atlanta.
ATLANTA—“We Buy Black,” a thriving movement that markets Black-owned businesses, recently hosted its 2nd annual convention at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Shareef Abdul-Malik is founder and creator of The movement started out as an Instagram page that recognized and promoted different Black-owned businesses.

Mr. Abdul-Malik wanted to create an e-commerce platform and decided to raise money to bring this vision into existence. With the assistance of crowd funding, an all-or-nothing campaign, and supporters within the Black community, he was able to develop and launch the e-commerce platform. now has over 70,000 products being sold on the site and has circulated over a million dollars.

“The purpose of We Buy Black is to take an economic stance, to circulate the dollars in our community, and to attack the issues of homelessness, joblessness, and crime. We try to tackle these issues by saying, ‘If Black people support more Black-owned businesses, then we can hire our people and have more jobs that will allow for us to have less homelessness, joblessness, etc.,’” he explained.

The 2nd Annual We Buy Black Convention, held Aug. 23-25, was a three-day weekend event filled to capacity with Black excellence. The ongoing theme of is, “Remove, Replace, Rebuild.” The theme of this year’s convention was, “Setting The Precedent For The Next 400 Years.”

D’Juan Hopewell, a writer for stated, “A people seeking to progress must have an agenda; Ours is simple—Remove, Replace, and Rebuild. This is our mandate and our immediate call to action. At the We Buy Black convention we are putting this agenda into action and mapping out how this will carry us forward the next 400 years.”


Two of the convention’s major sponsors were: OneUnited Bank, America’s largest Black-owned bank, and Figgers Communications, a Black-owned telecommunications company founded by Freddie Figgers. The company not only manufactures its own phones, but also provides users with high-quality service.

The convention started August 23, and the first event to kick-start the weekend was a fun-filled gala called, The Next 400 Gala. “We decided to have a gala to commemorate the 400 years of when Africans were brought to America for the purpose of slavery on August 25, 1619. We wanted to have something a little more formal to recognize that history and take the time to get dressed up, have a nice dinner, and honor a few people,” stated Mr. Abdul-Malik.

“Setting The Precedent For The Next 400 Years means starting off by making sure our community understands the importance of taking care of ourselves to reclaim what was taken from us as a community from slavery,” he added.

Entertainers, politicians, and social activists who support the We Buy Black movement graced the floor of this phenomenal event. The four honorees of the night were: Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, a group of five Black and Latino men who were wrongfully incarcerated for the rape of a female jogger in New York in 1989; Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, former professional basketball player suspended by the NBA in 1996 for not standing for the National Anthem at games and for expressing the American flag is a symbol of oppression; Mo’Nique, actress/ comedienne who stood up for her integrity when faced with racial bias in the entertainment industry; and Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, founder and CEO of The Village Market, a place that gives Black entrepreneurs and small business owners needed space to grow.

“We got to hear from leaders in our community who are unapologetic about their stance,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik.

Those who attended the event were welcomed with business workshops taught by leading experts, presentations by Black manufacturers, available guidance from premiere business consultants, a pitch-Black competition where people pitched their business ideas to a panel of investors, a fashion show featuring Black-owned brands, and not to forget, a live marketplace that housed over 136 vendors of Black-owned products!

For the first time, the Georgia International Convention Center allowed catering in their venue. Supreme Burger, a Black-owned burger company created by Waleed Shamsid-Deen was there to serve food to hungry customers. “We want people to be inspired by the We Buy Black Convention to understand that it’s essential that we have to do for ourselves. We cannot help anyone else best until we help ourselves,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik.

“The Georgia International Convention Center is a venue that’s owned by the city, so as taxpayers, we want to utilize what’s made available to us from our tax dollars, but at the same time we want to reach a position where we can have our own venue—a venue from someone within the Black community,” he added.

Vendor sells handbags and accessories during We Buy Black Convention 2018.»

Daily used products such as laundry detergent, light bulbs, toilet tissue, trash bags, and toothbrushes and more created by the minds and hands of Black owners were some of the essential items sold by vendors. Blacks, as consumers, go to the supermarket and put items in our carts, while having little to no knowledge of the person behind the company they are supporting. Blacks have become victims of what can be called, “blind-buying.” However, the We Buy Black Convention lifted the veil of blind-buying by providing consumers with the opportunity to connect with the sellers, and see the faces behind the brands. A number of vendors successfully sold out in the course of one day!

“We’re working towards having our own supermarket where the products made from people within our community will be able to fill that market,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik. The We Buy Black Convention hosted a panel on crowd funding, and with the help of No Rich Uncle (a Black-owned online crowd funding site), We Buy Black was able to raise $450,000 to aid in establishing the supermarket, he added.

“We have to come back to our original nature. From slavery, we’ve been stripped from our family life, we’ve been stripped from our cultural life, our religious life … and when those types of things are taken from you, the first agenda should be trying to reclaim them so that we can be whole as a people,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik.

During the convention’s Pitch-Black competition, 12 selected applicants out of 89 were chosen to pitch their creative inventions and business ideas. The winner of the competition was 59-year-old David Copeland, creator of the Absolute Abs Plus Fitness Bench—a light-weight machine that can be used for over 50 different workouts.

There is an unshakeable power within the new generation of Black youth, and the We Buy Black Convention did not exclude them from the scene. Youth entrepreneur Gabby Goodwin, CEO of Confidence, inventor of GaBBY Bows, and winner of 2015 South Carolina Youth Entrepreneur of the Year (the youngest to receive that award), conducted a workshop on how to make six figures before the 6th grade.

Thirteen-year-old motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Nyeeam Hudson was also there to showcase the powerful impact of both actions and words. The Children’s Corner at the convention was a place for children to see their favorite Black cartoon mascots, meet authors of their favorite children’s books, learn from child entrepreneurs, and much more. The Children’s Corner was hosted by Queen Taese of Liberated Minds, a Black homeschool and education institute, and was sponsored by Blended Designs, a Black-owned backpack company that got started on the We Buy Black platform and has now done over one million dollars in business in the last two years.

Mr. Abdul-Malik said he feels “obligated” to do what he is doing with the We Buy Black Movement and Convention. “My father joined the Nation (of Islam) in 1972 at 16 years old under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and he made the transition in 1975 under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad,” he explained.

“‘Do For Self’ is something that was instilled in my upbringing. As a younger generation, I feel obligated to do more of showing our communities how many ways we are connected and how much we can get done if we come together. I’m appreciative to be a part of the movement, not even to claim the title as a founder,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure that the We Buy Black Convention and the We Buy Black Movement is inclusive of all our communities (within the Black community), whether they’re Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, Moors, and even those who don’t claim a theology or religion,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik. “It’s clear that we should support each other. We don’t have to debate that.”

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