Learn how and why celebrating Black Love Day on February 13 should be added to your list of holidays to celebrate. I was introduced to Black Love Day 5 years ago by LeShelle Smith founder of Minority Report Featuring Black Owned Businesses. I got the opportunity to chat with her more about the holiday and how we can all participate and celebrate this holiday founded by Mama Ayo Handy- Kendi.
What is Black Love Day?
This profound holiday focuses on 24 hours of love in action practicing Love for the Creator, Love for yourself, Love for your family, Love your community, Love for the Black Race. The holiday was created by Ayo Handy-Kendi, a certified breathologist committed to connecting health and culture through positive energy and community activism. She is also the founder of the African American Holiday Association.
How can one celebrate Black Love Day?
I highly recommend starting with the 5 Tenants of Black Love Day as described previously. I would also suggest purchasing a copy of The Black Love Book, written by Ayo Handy-Kendi. It provides multiple examples of how to celebrate Black Love Day. A few recommendations are speaking kind words to your partner, your family members, those closest to you – look for ways to give praise; complete a family project together – volunteer at a local shelter, plan a spring garden, play hooky from school and work to love on each other; be romantic – take a bath with your spouse or romantic partner, candle-light meals still work, or send an old fashioned love letter; avoid negative people, news, reports; coordinate meetings seeking re-conciliation for with whom you are in fractured relationship.
Buying Black is another way to show love on Black Love Day. There are 365 days in a year and if buying Black is a lifestyle, then you are already ahead of the game. But, if you are behind the curve and you are not buying black regularly (at least on a weekly basis), then Black Love Day is the perfect day to replace a known name brand with a Black brand. Choosing to spend your Black dollars with a Black-owned business on Black Love Day is an effective way to practice all 5 of the tenets. It is truly a blessing to be a blessing and when you buy Black, you are in essence blessing a business with your support. You are helping to create jobs that contribute to the local economy, positively impacting your community. This is the time to be intentional about supporting Black businesses and other institutions like banks, HBCUs, non-profits, and community organizations. I recently wrote a blog post outlining how you can support Black-owned businesses for Black Love Day. You can find the post here.
What is often the misconception of loving your black heritage and promoting it?
I don’t find many misconceptions about loving our heritage as I find push back to celebrating Black Love on any one particular day. When I am talking about Black Love Day, I remind people that we celebrate Black Love on February 13th but we practice Black Love every day.
What inspired your company Minority Report featuring Black-Owned Businesses?
Minority Report featuring Black-Owned Businesses is my mission. It is a media platform for existing businesses and start ups to be celebrated, where entrepreneurs can tell their stories, while promoting their products and services. Minority Report is much bigger than just me; my platform belongs to everyone who trusts me with their brands. I strive to provide results and receipts through Word of Mouth Marketing. According to marketing research firm Nielsen Global Media, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. I strive to get people talking about the people and brands I blog about and review. Black-owned businesses need to create brand awareness to remain competitive with long-standing brands. I help the process as an outlet for brands to reach consumers, create relationships, and encourage repeat business. I believe in buying Black as a lifestyle, not one off occurrences like Buy Black Days or when there is social unrest and /or injustice. We have to be more proactive rather than reactive. With my platform, I spread that message and live this daily.
What do you feel can be done to bring more togetherness amongst black owned businesses?
I see plenty of collaborations and networking among Black-owned businesses and it is a beautiful thing to witness. What we need is consistency and intention. Planning purchases in advance is one way to proactively support Black brands. We generally wait until we have run out of something then choose to replace it. As an example, instead of waiting until you need batteries, have Tubman Battery on hand. Same goes with trash bags from Nviro Trash Bags, toilet paper from Reel Paper, and light bulbs from Latre Lights. Keep a shopping list of products you know you purchase regularly and the Black-owned businesses that provide them. Then shop ’til you drop!
If you are an Amazon shopper, I also created an Amazon Affiliate Store complete with products from Black-owned businesses that are sold on the world’s largest e-commerce merchant. I update it regularly. You can find it here.
What can we do to bring more awareness to Black Love Day?
Bringing more awareness about Black Love Day is a simple act of doing better when you know better. Valentine’s Day has become a commercial holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day sales are expected to reach $27.4 billion this year, up 32% from last year’s forecasts. I would love to see that amount of wealth shift to Black-owned Businesses in the name of Black Love to promote buying Black in Black Love Day, I created a video message available now for you to view on YouTube. Valentine’s Day was not always about love. It was originally called Lupercalia and was an 3-day annual festival, observed in Rome to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. White men would strip naked and sacrifice a goat and a dog. Young boys would then take strips of hide from the sacrificed animals and use it to whip young women, promoting fertility. These pagan holidays have no place in Black culture.
How can readers support your movement?
Readers can subscribe to my newsletter here and my YouTube channel here. I never want them to miss an interview with a Black entrepreneur or an honest product review. We can also connect on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About LeShelle A. Smith
LeShelle A. Smith is the host of Minority Report feat. Black-Owned Businesses. She interviews entrepreneurs and review their products on her website and YouTube channel. With every blog article, social media post, and YouTube video, LeShelle’s goal is to highlight Black-Owned Businesses through storytelling, promoting their products and services by providing honest product reviews. Minority Report is here to empower and educate aspiring entrepreneurs while informing and encouraging black consumers to practice group economics.