LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Local organizations have collaborated to create Blacklisted Bingo, a month-long event, lasting from March 15 through April 16, to encourage the public to support local Black-owned businesses.
“We believe that supporting Black-owned businesses helps fight systematic racism by closing the racial wealth gap but it also strengthens the local community by creating jobs and keeping the money here locally,” ShopBlacklisted founder Karnina King said.
To participate, download the bingo card here and start supporting. The list includes businesses like Black Cafe, Northside Vegan, Akira Matthews and Anubis Games and Hobby.
Businesses are able to receive support in various ways. For example, restaurants prefer participants to order food, stores favor purchases in-store or online, and other businesses like law firms or banquet halls want people to share social media pages.
Participants are also being entered into weekly raffles to win cash and gift card prizes. There will also be a cash prize drawing for the consumers who get a blackout bingo — support all of the businesses on the bingo card.
“It is a win-win for the community,” King said. “We hope the whole community supports this worthwhile initiative.”
Black-owned businesses that are interested in participating in the next round can reserve spots here. They can also sign up to join ShopBlacklisted platform at www.shopblacklisted.net.
ShopBlacklisted, Imani Temple #49 and Economic Support Day are working together to host further events similar to this one. They intend to hold another round in the next couple of months King said, eventually having a bingo card in every major Louisiana city.
The idea of supporting Black-owned businesses in the form of a bingo game is nothing new. It has been held in larger cities like Dallas and Atlanta.
Black-owned businesses have been hit hard due to the pandemic especially since a large percentage of these businesses did not qualify for the PPP loans King said. The organizations wanted to do something fun and interactive with the community to help the businesses during the pandemic.
SHOPBLACKLISTED PROVIDING RESOURCES FOR LOCAL BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES
ShopBlacklisted is a network providing an affordable platform for Black-owned businesses through a website and mobile app to advertise their products and services that generally lack the funds or resources to do “traditional advertising.”
ShopBlacklisted was started in 2015 by eight African-American women from different professions who live in the Acadiana area King said.
ShopBlacklisted is King’s brainchild. She realized my passion for helping disadvantaged businesses while volunteering with the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce during her undergraduate and graduate studies in business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
King saw the major disadvantage Black-owned businesses endured in terms of “lack of resources and the know-how to properly form and operate their businesses which accounts for the high failure rate.”
Once she graduated from Southern University Law Center and passed the bar, she was able to move forward with ShopBlacklisted.
“Being active in the local community, I met some amazing African-American female professionals who understood the obstacles faced by Black-owned businesses, had a desire to address those issues, and agreed to co-found the organization with me,” King said. “Thus, ShopBlacklisted was born.”
The group spent the first couple of years identifying many Black-owned businesses within 100 miles of the greater Lafayette area. In six years, ShopBlacklisted has been able to confirm over 300 businesses. They’re now adding businesses on a daily basis.
The organization is at a point where it’s able to offer education of pertinent areas necessary to run a successful business, including legal, financial, marketing, customer service skills.
King recently opened King Milton Law Group, LLC where she provides legal advice and counsel at an affordable rate. And in doing so, she’s been able to focus more of her time on growing ShopBlacklisted’s network and offerings to local Black-owned businesses.
Although recent movements within the last year have arisen such as Buy Black, ShopBlacklisted believes that supporting Black-owned businesses should be more of a way of life that remains steady and isn’t a trend or fluctuation.
“BlacklistedBingo is one of the initiatives to help market the businesses and encourage the community to do just that, make supporting these businesses a part of their lifestyle,” King said.
Their goal is to be Louisiana’s most comprehensive Black-owned businesses network, starting in Lafayette but expanding across the state.
“This is only the beginning for ShopBlacklisted,” King said. “You may not have heard of us before, but you will.”