woman-shopping-on-a-budgetWhat’s wrong with expecting makeup companies to include black bloggers in their PR campaigns? Or Marvel Comics marketing to black fanboys and fangirls?  Or even wanting a larger representation of black models on the runway?

Guess what, there’s nothing wrong with it at all.  Considering that African-Americans currently have $1 trillion in buying power and it’s expected to rise to $1.3 trillion by 2017, I don’t want inclusion, I expect inclusion.

Sure, boo all you want.  Or say things like, “Stop begging”, I get it.  But unless you’re living  off of all handmade goods, wearing shoes you handmade, using leaves to wipe your ass, eating food not bought in a store but grown in your backyard, watching a TV you somehow managed to build yourself, or using an Apple or Android device that wasn’t made in part because of this buying power, have a stadium full of seats. Whether you like it or not, you’re not only a product of consumerism, you’re also participating in inclusion.

Inclusion is a double-edged sword.  I should be able to go to any make-up counter and find my shade.  Although I don’t care about the comic book industry, it would be nice to see a character like Storm, finally get her shine on the big screen (well as long as Halle Berry isn’t playing her).  Sure there are FUBU (for us by us) products, but even when we highlighted those products here on Clutch, it was met with comments like, “well that Natural Hair doll is too expensive“, or “How legitimate is this cancer organization ran and founded by black people“.  See everyone wants FUBU, but then questions its motives.

In Nielsen’s 2013 African-American consumer report, appropriately title “Resilient, Receptive & Relevant“, statistics show that of the $75 billion spent on television, magazine, Internet, and radio advertising, only $2.24 billion of it was spent with media focused on Black audiences.  Obviously there’s a disparity between what  black consumers consume versus advertising. Nielsen also pointed out that black women control 43% of the annual spending power for the Black population.

If we spend it, we should be included. Point, blank.

But let’s just say we’re not included. There are options.  But don’t complain when those options are just a little bit more expensive than the ones you’re used to using.  Inclusion comes at a price, and it may be worth it to spend a little extra on a company that’s already including you, just to prove to those companies that still haven’t caught on,  that we will take our buying power elsewhere.

  • http://gravatar.com/bossladi bossladi

    PREACH! Great article.

  • MusiKCityK

    This is article is EVERYTHING, glad someone else did this rant because sometimes I felt I was the only person to get “it”.

  • MimiLuvs

    *Shots fired*

    I am a believer in the “It is okay to want to be included, but you shouldn’t expect to be included” mind set.
    If the designers of Badgley Mischka (or insert whatever popular designer/cosmetic company) says that they do not include black models in their ad campaigns and in their runway shows because they do not fit their mold, then a fan (who is of African descent) of their work has two choices:
    1) Stop purchasing their products
    2) Continue to purchase their products
    IMO, I think it is not productive to continue to complain about the lack of the Black presence in these fashion houses, but continue to buy their products.
    Does it take for a designer/cosmetic exec to have a “Frederic Rouzaud-Cristal” moment to happen before people to understand?

  • Felicia

    Yes we do have more options now. look at how many non black owned hair companies are jumping on the bandwagon to create new products for us after they realized they were losing mone and we had other options.They are very aware our spending power. But I will still always support good quality affordable FUBU products and pray I don’t hear of something better from non black companies. Lol I will always consider fubu products first.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I really appreciate how you all create new articles based on comments that you get on previous articles. It shows that these issues are complex and can’t just be completely dealt with on one go-round.

    I think as far as corporations are concerned, I try to write them when I see them doing good things, instead of complaining when they are doing wrong things. Human beings like praise more than criticism. I also think it’s worth noting that no one really seems to quantify what exactly “enough” representation is. Is it 13%? 30%? 70% to make up for all the years of underrepresentation? “More” is such a vague word. I

    t’s like Carter Woodson says, “One should rely on protest only when it is supported by a constructive program.” It seems somewhat pointless to complain if you’re not clear on what you’d like to see instead.

  • Sheena

    “But unless you’re living off of all handmade goods, wearing shoes you handmade, using leaves to wipe your ass, eating food not bought in a store but grown in your backyard, watching a TV you somehow managed to build yourself, or using an Apple or Android device that wasn’t made in part because of this buying power, have a stadium full of seats.”

    YES! Some people act like everything they put in thier stomachs, on their backs, on their skin, in their hair, in their home, etc. is straight from the Mother Land or was made with their two hands, and that all black people are going to be able to start their own business next week, and we all will just buy Black. Doesn’t work that way and never will in America. And considering how much we consume, we should have fair representation. I try to support Black businesses when I can, but demanding that a make up company use black models in their campaigns when a hell of a lot of black women use those products is not asking for much. It’s not about begging, it’s about respect for your customer.

  • http://www.beautycoatedlife.com Candice

    This is the best thing I’ve read all day. We SHOULD be included when we are part of the reasons these companies do so well however I’ll always support black owned businesses.

  • Really??

    Has anyone ever asked, “why do WE have so much buying power?”…We’re only 13% of the U.S. population, think about it. We have be trained to be consumers. Spend,spend, spend. SAVE money??…for what? YOLO!…Many families do not teach one another how to save, why to save. What about a college fund, building assests (aka wealth), planning for future retirement?…Yet, this article and others commenting are complaining that companies aren’t marketing to them so they can spend MORE $$…boo-hoo!

  • Nikkoli

    Who are you to police what ppl spend their money on??

  • BeanBean

    Very true. But I believe people place way too much emphasis on buying power. Buying power is good, but if people who look like us don’t own large percentages of stock in these companies, we’re pretty much irrelevant. Blacks have a lot of spending power, but how does this compare with the spending power of Asians, or Whites? If we have $1 trillion in spending power but other groups have $12 billion in spending power, who do you think the companies are going to pay attention to? I’m very interested in this topic, but I would like an article that lays out the facts 100%. I want to know how our spending power compares with other groups, and the percentage of stocks blacks own. This problem is very complicated, a simple article only scratches the surface.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    I would love to eat food from Black gardens, I would love to watch a TV created by Black hands, I would love to support a Black owned paper goods company, but those things are not widespread enough for me to do so.

    “…and that all black people are going to be able to start their own business next week, and we all will just buy Black. Doesn’t work that way and never will in America.”

    Why? Why do people think this way? Are Black people that broken? Why do we say “It can never be done” instead of “How can it be done?” We might not get a perfect product but at least we’ll start making progress.

    Look at Clutch itself, isn’t it nice to read a magazine run by Blacks catered to Black women without having to beg some other White blog to care about us? I don’t know about you but its pretty damn refreshing.

  • Ads

    Not reporting – my fat thumb accidentally hit that

  • ScriptTease

    Back to those damn dolls. Barbie doll under $20, those Black American dolls $45-150. That price is not a little bit more. I would rather go out and purchase white barbie and darken her up and dread-lock her down before I pay anything more for a doll. I’ve always said we need to stop waiting on White Folks to do for us and do our own thing, but first we need to have good quality products.
    Just because I’m Black doesn’t mean I want a bunch of Kente’ Cloth fashions. Just because I’m Black doesn’t mean I want to watch a film dealing with Black issues, and so on and so forth.

  • Ashley.

    You’d rather give your kid a doll with blackface? Okay girl.

    Your position is one of ignorance and self-hatred. What are “black issues”?!

    And my God, kente cloth is not a fashion or the only thing clothing wise to come from Africa.

    You totally missed the point and I hope you’re having a seat in the stadium Ayesha mentioned.

  • Joyous

    I would prefer customized Black American dolls to buy my nieces, and would pay $40-150 with no problem. I also like Kente’ Cloth because it’s from Ghana, West Africa. For you to dismiss something with such cultural significance in Africa and throughout the Diaspora is a bit sad. I like watching films with Black people that deal with Black issues. I am honestly tired of seeing the Caucasion image in everything, and having their issues front and center in everything. Thats just me.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    I agree, I don’t expect to be included but when I am, I buy from that company to reward them and get what I want to buy. If you don’t include me then I don’t give you money. It’s not a big deal because there are many competitors.

    This applies especially to magazines. I don’t even buy them but every day I read Black blogs and other sites that are inclusive. I don’t give ad money to sites that are not inclusive.

    Since I’m a thrift shopper and don’t buy designer items, what happens on the runway doesn’t affect me. I just shut that stuff out.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    I think that given this day and age Black folks are capable of going out of their way to buy Black and support companies that include them without having to beg those who purposefully ignore them. That’s what bothers people about asking to be included. These people ignore the Black alternatives that already exist and complain about them. They want to buy their White-owned magazine from the news stand instead of ordering a Black magazine online or reading a Black blog. They want Black models on the runway instead of just looking through an online catalogue, shopping online, or going into a store. They buy based on what the companies show them instead of shopping based on What Black folks recommend and endorse. They complain about not having enough Black actors on TV and film this year when they can find that stuff online, decades of stuff, starring Black actors that they can watch immediately.

    It’s like these people are complaining about something that isn’t really a problem anymore if you seek out alternatives instead of insisting on being included in what is mainstream. People need to examine why they are so materialistic and why in the world a Black person would spend thousands of dollars on designer stuff when we have so many more important things to invest in (e.g., education, property, crime prevention, health care etc.). It’s better if Black people don’t act like White people when it comes to over-consumption. If there are any White folks we should emulate, it’s the green folks who spend their money more wisely.

    P.S. I think Black people are better off not being included on the runway. White girls are bombarded with images of underweight women and they kill themselves to be thin. Black girls are better off with healthy, athletic looking role models. If there are more super-thin Black models black women will hate themselves even more in comparison to the models.

  • Sepiastar

    I agree and I use that same principle in advertising. I actually pay attention to the “actors / actresses” in commercials. If I don’t see a representation of “me” as a black woman, then I automatically presume that your product isn’t being marketed to me and therefore, it’s relevancy is immaterial to me. It’s not a complex ideology, if a producer /servicer in any industry wants your business, they know how to market to you. It isn’t rocket science so don’t make your buying decision so complex.

    Such as you stated, you have 2 choices – make your decision and stop the constant complaining.

  • omfg

    “Sure, boo all you want. Or say things like, “Stop begging”, I get it. But unless you’re living off of all handmade goods, wearing shoes you handmade, using leaves to wipe your ass, eating food not bought in a store but grown in your backyard, watching a TV you somehow managed to build yourself, or using an Apple or Android device that wasn’t made in part because of this buying power, have a stadium full of seats. Whether you like it or not, you’re not only a product of consumerism, you’re also participating in inclusion.”

    but this is part of the problem. black people do not own a lot.

    imo, this is the elephant in the room. sure, you can say white companies should do certain things like hiring black figureheads. but at the end of the day, they may not because they know our black arses don’t own isht and will continue to buy their products.

    they will continue doing what they do because we merely consumer. we are not perceived as wealth creators who command power. we’re just being people who are constantly making noise about making SYMBOLIC gains.

    i mean, my favorite clothing retailer jcrew has always used black models in their catalog. i think that’s great. it makes me wanna buy. BUT, those models are not nearly as important as who actually hires the models or designs their clothes or does their merchandising and basically runs their company. the reality is that i think few black people actually work in and/or ascend the rungs at jcrew corporate. i only go by their blog and the portraits that feature employees. which should concern me more? the absence of black people with real influence at jcrew or their use of SYMBOLIC faces?

    i once read a comment on a website that featured an article about tavi gevinson, who although now a young woman, was a young girl when she started getting attention as a fashion/style blogger. tavi started an online magazine – rookie. a commenter lamented that there was no diversity/black girls featured.

    i thought to myself – tavi started with a blog, i’m guessing on the free blogspot platform. she did what tons of black girls can do. i’m not saying a black girl would have gotten that attention, but dang. we need to instill in ourselves that we can go out and start these types of things. btw, let’s always remember how they get over – they help each other, especially jews. would tracy reese do the same for a very bright black girl blogger as whites did for tavi?

    when we constantly lament things like this, i fear we are perpetuating a mentality that always leaves us at the mercy of others.

    sometimes i just believe we don’t have enough of the do it yourself, entrepreneurial, patronizing black businesses spirit.

    i don’t know her, but i respect the owner of this site because she has that spirit. i’m sure ads are hard to come by – this is the case for most black publications – but imagine if she just sat back and opined about crap. there would be no clutch. and we may not have a place to pontificate online and isht.

  • Felicia

    Whats funny is that a lot of these non black companies have now made a shift to cater to black women with kinky coarse curly hair but yet if you watch their advertisements on commercials,you won’t see a black woman. It’s usually a white or mixed woman with LOOSE curls and many of them look like it was curled with a curling iron. Think about it. They want black women’s money but yet they don’ t want to include them on their advertisement. And on makeup commercials if they do happen to squeeze a black woman on there she’s usually on for like two seconds while the white woman is on for like five. That’s some white people for you. They fear blacks will take over.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    BEST comment I’ve read in a long time! I agree with all of this. Black people do not have a DIY mentality, we are just consumers, and advocate too much for consumerism, and even listen to music about it. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by giving our money to others who only make symbolic gestures to include us (e.g., as a few models) instead of giving us real ownership power. We need to get that power for ourselves because people are not giving it away.

    I don’t read magazines, I read blogs and most of them are Black blogs. I get enough different and interesting things to read this way. I see enough images of Black women this way so I don’t need to seek out magazines. These sites give me information and my reading gives them advertising dollars. I wish people would just be creative and make use of what’s available. White people being consumers helps White people, Black people being consumers of mainstream things does not help Black people. Of course you can’t get everything in Black, but at least you can get A LOT of your entertainment. Spend less money on your clothes and invest or save it instead. When I see stats showing Black buying power I don’t feel proud at all. It just makes me wonder how there can be so much many yet so many problems in Black communities.

  • justanotheropinion

    “…demanding that a make up company use black models in their campaigns when a hell of a lot of black women use those products is not asking for much. It’s not about begging, it’s about respect for your customer.”

    That’s the gist of it. While many blacks are conscious about how and where they spend their dollars, the #’s seem to show that this isn’t the majority. The white owned companies know this. They can and will continue to ignore the cries & complaints of the black consumer because they know the majority of the black community will spend their dollars where its popular/in style. White companies don’t have to show or give respect because the continuous stream of black dollars show that they don’t need to. Until the majority of the black community actually & truly ‘votes’ with their dollars, this will continue.

    As has been said a million times before, until we own it, we don’t control it. Starting a business is no joke. Starting a black owned business (or one that has blacks as it’s main consumer) is 10x’s as hard.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    Sure, American society should be a reflection of the diverse people who live here, but it’s not and never will be just as long as money is the main objective and great equalizer. There’s nothing wrong with inclusion, but continually begging for it when you’re ignored and those in power aren’t even thinking about including you in ‘their’ world needs to stop.

    Black buying power doesn’t mean much of anything if we don’t have the economic power behind it. That so called $1 trillion in buying power you wrote about could best be used to create products/businesses that everyone can use in the form of black owned industries that could possibly employ several black people.

    If the majority of black people were smarter than they think they are, they’d be speaking with their dollars, but instead, they continue to support brands that ignore them anyway because many are in denial with the reality in front of them.

    Until we learn to become the producers of the tangible we will always be the dependent consumers: “Dependent upon others to do what we don’t want to do, have the desire to do, don’t know how to do or too afraid to do.”

    If you can’t afford to buy their products, don’t go into a faux rage because their pr firms ignore you by not sending you free samples or engaging you on social media. You can attempt to call them out all you want to, but some firms are not going to be shamed into supporting black women who are crying for attention by calling them racist. If you’re don’t know this by now, someone should have told you that you don’t burn bridges in the business community way before you build your own.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    “Barbie doll under $20, those Black American dolls $45-150.”

    This is because they end up pricing themselves out of the market by attempting to rob other black people in order to get rich quick. It’s the same with many of the natural hair products and I’ve worn my hair in it’s natural state for decades and never once paid $30 for a jar of hair products. Shameful!

  • 9Boots

    The reason why Barbie costs $10 is because Barbie is mass produced by slaves in China and the company has had about 70 years to perfect the production process. Wal Mart’s prices are so cheap because they buy in bulk and are able to strong arm companies. The product pricing of black owned businesses would drop if there were more consumers buying their products and of course with all products as time passes, prices drop. I have no problem paying more money for something black owned because I know that money goes to support three black employees as opposed to zero from non black companies. If I had a daughter I would buy her the expensive black doll (with pride and explain black people produced it ) and let her have only one per say. The amount of pride and teaching moments is priceless in comparison to what she would get with multiple cheap $10 Barbies.

  • 9Boots

    The reason why Barbie costs $10 is because Barbie is mass produced by slaves in China and the company has had about 70 years to perfect the production process. Wal Mart’s prices are so cheap because they buy in bulk and are able to strong arm companies. The product pricing of black owned businesses would drop if there were more consumers buying their products and of course with all products as time passes, prices drop. I have no problem paying more money for something black owned because I know that money goes to support three black employees as opposed to zero from non black companies. If I had a daughter I would buy her the expensive black doll (with pride and explain black people produced it ) and let her have only one per say. The amount of pride and teaching moments is priceless in comparison to what she would get with multiple cheap $10 Barbies.

    Here is the million dollar question. Are black people willing to pay a premium price in order to buy black? If blacks are not going to do so then blacks need to go mute with their complaints. Black businesses at this time are not able to buy raw materials in bulk and have slaves in China or under developed nations manufacture their products. Now if blacks are willing to see the bigger picture and support black owned in the early premium stages in several years the pricing will drop. We can’t be so short sighted, what we endure now will benefit us and the future generation of blacks for decades and even centuries. We have the ability to drastically reduce our unemployment rate when start opening businesses. I’m down for the ride.

  • ScriptTease

    If that was the case, why not I purchase a Black Doll, lighten the Skin add some blond weave… sound familiar. Tired of this recycled article. Black Folks have the power, but we use our power to remain loyal to the White Man.

    And on a deeper level, Love – Respect- Unity is some of the main reasons we cannot get ahead. Until we support each other on every level, then this our story. So you too can have one of those seats you mentioned, but sit on the front row so you can learn. And please do not come back with what type or types of degrees you have because without common sense, those degrees don’t amount to a whole lot.

    **and excuse me if this ends up being a duplicate post, but for some reason my first rebuttal never posted**

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    LMAO @ the Blackface doll, just spend the 45 dollars. I mean Black people spend more than that on crappier items anyway. If you can really afford it then invest 45 bucks into your child’s self esteem.

  • JJ

    I respect your opinion, but I refuse to beg someone who doesn’t want or appreciate me to do so, whether it’s a relationship or a business. My time and energy is precious. I have been making extra efforts lately to buy black and it’s working out well.

  • Common Sense

    Go ‘head 9boots, I am down for the ride too!!!!!!!!! You said a mouthfull of truth!!!!!!!!!

  • 9Boots

    LOL Common Sense. Put yo fists in the air!

  • http://gravatar.com/sblazer227 sblazer227

    TRUTH!! People who are willing to invest in their own, rise higher.

  • http://gravatar.com/blackjesuscom BlackJesus.com

    In every supermarket that serves a Jewish community there is a Kosher isle that displays products that come from Jewish owned companies. Jews also have the nationwide Hebrew Loan Association allowing fellow Jews to borrow interest free loans for personal or business use. while Jewish owned businesses are able to make donations to this nonprofit organization and write it off on their taxes. We will never get complete respect in this American capitalistic society unless we begin to spend our money in our own self interests and recognize the importance of putting a dollar in another Black hand.

  • https://plus.google.com/109390471365083725744 Marcia Judkins

    I believe it is also a generational thing. My parents did not go out of their way to support black stores while I was growing up. ( it was more about convience rather than who owned the store) I knew nothing of the black business within our area and unfortunately did not patronize them. However, that has changed, since becoming an adult I seek out black establishments and am proud to do so. We should support our own, it is vital to their survival.

  • http://www.chicmodernvintage.com Tonia

    I do make an effort to seek and patronize black businesses.

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