Recently, I started a private Instagram account that is solely for following Black businesses, news outlets, artists and writers. That’s @Taviante, though I’m not really looking for followers nor am I trying to be concerned with anything other than watching the feed of the Black businesses and artists I follow.
I came across WeBuyBlack.com through a white woman, believe it or not. We Buy Black describes themselves as “the Black Amazon.com” and is reportedly filled with Black sellers and buyers. I was encouraged to join there with my small handmade business.
I am an author and I am currently a seller on Etsy, with no support. It is hard to stay motivated, given my living situation and failed attempts at getting help to leave an abusive, toxic environment. But I’m still trying. So feeling like I can be successful within my community is a real lure for me.
On Instagram, We Buy Black basically laughs in the face of Black Etsy sellers, taunting them to join We Buy Black instead. When I made a comment on a post asking how We Buy Black is different from Etsy, in terms of how much the seller is charged nobody answered me (that I noticed at the time). I’m mainly skeptical because it doesn’t look any different than Etsy and there’s no guarantee my handmade crafts and books will do any better over there. Other than Black sellers and buyers (which in itself is incentive enough for me to consider it seriously), why should I give them the little bit of money I have when I currently have no income and am stuck in a hopeless situation after many years of battling it?
The WeBuyBlack.com founder is Shareef Abdul Malik. He can be seen in photos with famous Black celebrities and with Instagram posts espousing the greatness of his business, but I’ve learned to be cautious of any kind of man put on too high a pedestal. Not wanting to accuse him of being a con artist, just saying that I am concerned and anything that looks too good to be true usually is. I’m not looking to pay for anybody’s house, car, and new sneakers while I’m down here suffering and struggling. Oh no not I. This is not a reflection of how I view my race, it is a reflection how I feel about people, business, and capitalism in general.
WeBuyBlack.com might be a good way to engage with my people after struggling with abuse and much disappointment. To see myself flourish and be successful around people who care about what I do. But I just do not have the heart to be disappointed again. I’m barely holding myself together and getting my hopes up is foolish.