This August marks 400 years since the first Africans reached the shores of Jamestown, Virginia where they were auctioned for sale as slaves. In remembrance of this historic event, one millennial entrepreneur is planning a different kind of sale – one that he hopes will impact the next 400 years of African-American history.
On Aug. 23-25, 2019, over 120 Black-owned vendors and consumers will gather at the second-annual We Buy Black Convention in Atlanta at the Georgia International Convention Center. There will be Black-owned companies selling everything from soaps and shea butter to laundry detergent, bed linens, and toothbrushes. While the items themselves may represent the routines of everyday life, event organizer and founder of e-commerce site WeBuyBlack.com, Shareef Abdul-Malik says that the impact of this singular commercial event has significance beyond its surface.
“This year’s convention is deeper on a lot of levels because our people were brought to this country to be bought and sold,” said Abdul-Malik. “So, not only are we honoring our ancestors and how their struggle for freedom and justice got us where we are today, but we’re also reclaiming the effects of capitalism that enslaved us in the first place.”
At just 27, Abdul-Malik is already a veteran when it comes to connecting Black consumers with Black-owned businesses, but he hopes this convention will help get the Black community excited about the wide variety of high-quality products Black businesses have to offer and inspire others to become business owners themselves.
“Our mission is for the average Black family to be able to easily and efficiently buy everything they want and need from a Black vendor,” Abdul-Malik said. “We’ve been able to help business owners sell and market their goods, but now we need more Black manufacturers.”
With the theme “Setting the Precedent for the Next 400 Years”, the convention will begin with the Inaugural The Next 400 Gala, honoring Yusuf Salaam of the Central Park 5, Mo’Nique the comedian and entertainer, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who preceded Kaepernick by 20 years and lost his NBA career due to his political stance, and lastly Dr. Key Hallmon of the Village Market ATL. This Gala will be hosted by Derrick Boazman of WAOK 1380 Radio, and Cleveland Councilman Bashir Jones will be the Keynote Speaker. There are only 400 tickets available to attend this Gala that Friday evening.
The weekend includes workshops on business ownership and manufacturing, alongside the vast array of Black-owned products that will be sold. There will also be B2B Speed Consulting Sessions and a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition called Pitch Black.
The event also boasts live performances from national and local recording artists, a Popcorn Competition, and a Children’s Village, where youth participants can engage with Black-owned brands and performers on their own level.
On Sunday, August 25th, The We Buy Black Convention will be the United States satellite location to observe the international moment of silence in commemoration for the 400 years. This weekend will be full of notable moments in our history and it’s definitely something that deserves our participation.
“Even if you just come to replenish your supply of toothbrushes or get your child a new backpack for school, you’ve contributed to something that will help generations of Black people,” he said. “I think our ancestors would be proud of what we’re trying to do.”
We Buy Black Convention
Aug. 23-25, 2019
Georgia International Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Concourse – Atlanta, GA 30337
Tickets and more information can be found at www.webuyblackconvention.com.
WeBuyBlack.com is the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses and individual sellers. By giving Black businesses and sellers access to a diverse, open, and international market, WeBuyBlack stimulates the circulation of wealth among the Black Diaspora and assists Black businesses in providing for families and communities at large.
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