The city of Chicago is joining an effort to turn Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, into Black Shop Friday, a program encouraging people to direct their dollars to Black-owned businesses this holiday season.
Black Shop Friday was announced Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago Urban League and Chicago advertising agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP).
“We know that Black-owned businesses have less access to capital and other resources needed to be successful,” Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson said in a statement. “Black Shop Friday is an important campaign to raise awareness of these challenges, while also providing a mechanism for people who want to be intentional about supporting Black businesses.”
A website, www.BlackShopFriday.com, will be up and running by Nov. 24, offering a guide to more than 500 Black-owned businesses in Chicago where people can purchase gifts or order food.
According to the Chicago Urban League’s 2019 State of Black Chicago report, Black-owned businesses in Illinois have smaller sales receipts and fewer employees than other businesses. Black Shop Friday aims to help narrow the wealth gap and strengthen neighborhoods across the city.
“Black Friday has been around for a long time, but what has been missing is the Blackness,” said Aubrey Walker, executive creative director at OKRP. “As we began thinking about things we could do to address racial inequities, we were inspired by other programs that support the idea of shopping at Black-owned businesses. We saw a way to add to that concept by flipping Black Friday into Black Shop Friday and asking people to add one Black-owned business to their shopping cart and buy something really dope that supports the Black business community.”