TGR: Black Wall Street HARLEM: Continuing to spread the message of why we must support our Black businesses

By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
Thursdays at Midnight on WEAA 88.9 FM

(HARLEM – September 30, 2020) – We’ve made the trip to Harlem several times now. Yet, somehow, I get just as excited now as I did 5 years ago or so when Lee Vaughn (aka “The Driver”) and I made our first trip there together for a Black Wall Street awards event. My favorite part of the trip, I gotta say, is when we first past the island over on the right heading into Harlem and then the view of the city from the George Washington Bridge.

Man, I’m like a kid in a candy store! I get so excited. New York is exhilarating to me. It’s like my battery gets re-charged there. All of the businesses, business owners and entrepreneurs – all in the city adored around the world, it is simply awe-inspiring.

I must say that Lee, who has hosted the R.E.A.L. Radio podcast for the past decade, is a God-send. Although he lives in Baltimore, I can recall him catching the bus to one of our early Black Wall Street events in Harlem years ago. I didn’t even know him then, but he came to show his support and I appreciate that.

I recall thinking to myself at the time: this dude is that serious about Black business and that interested in this event to catch the bus all the way from Baltimore to New York? Damn, I thought. The movement is real!

Well, we did have a powerful lineup. I guess it was dawning on me just how fortunate I was to be a part of something that helps enlighten us to the power of the Black dollar as well as the need to support Black businesses.

Mind you, Black people – especially the women – control $1.4 trillion in annual disposable income. That would equal Spain’s, ranked at 13th in the world.

It is my hope that supporting Black businesses once again becomes our automatic response when we see a Black business – like in the days of segregation when Oklahoma had as many as 70 Black towns. And this includes every single member of the Black community. I pray that every Black man, woman, boy and girl comes to understand how necessary it is for all of us to support Black businesses wherever we find them.

And of course, that includes the entire world.

Listen, we don’t have to be in love with each other. We don’t even have to like each other. However, if a Black business is hiring brothers and sisters – legally, then I think we are all obliged to support them the same way we support these other brands.

Lee Vaughn was very serious then when we first linked up. And he still is today.

During our September 2020 trip to host our second Black Wall Street event of 2020 in Harlem, I asked him his thoughts on what we have been doing. I asked why he thought celebrating Black entrepreneurs was noteworthy. In his usual fashion, he spoke succinctly but passionately about how important it is to keep entrepreneurship and business alive and going in the Black community – particularly in the face of COVID-19. He said that our mission has not stopped at all – as insidiously vicious as the pandemic has been.

He reminded me of what these awards have meant to honorees and just how important it is to let folks know that others admire and appreciate their efforts – day in and day out.

Running a business is no easy feat. It requires diligence, patience, prayer, support and a half a dozen other positive characteristics. It is not for the weary. It is not for those who are not committed. Running a business can be an all-day everyday affair. However, it is indeed possible and the rewards can be very satisfying. But like my dad always said, you got to get out there and try. He said somebody might even see you and help you, but that you will never know if you never try.