By: Okla Jones
“A lot of people want to support Black businesses but they may not necessarily know how, and where to search. We’re just trying to point people in the right direction,” the Grammy Award-winning artist says.
Today, Google launched its 3rd annual Black Owned Friday initiative to encourage everyone to search, support, and shop Black-owned businesses this holiday season. The tech company has collaborated with Grammy award-winning artist, actor and producer Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and musician Flo Milli, on an original song and interactive film for this year’s campaign.
“Being a creative is always fun I can say. Coming from the music world and doing videos and making songs – I just had a lot of fun creating this ,” Ludacris tells ESSENCE. “I was actually shooting a movie at the same time, but with all of the experiences that I’ve had up until this moment was great, because I knew I was doing it for a cause. Everything I’ve done for my whole career was always for a cause, but this is an even greater cause at this specific moment in time for me.”
“I had fun doing it and I’m just glad that we’re actually educating individuals and just spreading more positivity, and just spreading the word,” the Atlanta native says. “Because a lot of people want to support Black businesses but they may not necessarily know how, and where to search. We’re just trying to point people in the right direction so to speak.”
Directed by Charles Todd, the video is shoppable and features several business owners and over 100 products from more than 60 Black-owned businesses. Viewers can decide where to go next by selecting different Google searches for Black-owned businesses, and see cameos from 7 actual business owners, the executive director of the Atlanta Black Chambers, multiple YouTube Creators, and professional athletes.
“Highlighting Black-owned businesses is important to me because we’re stronger when we stick together,” Flo Milli says. “And I think it’s important that all Black people support each other because together we can be more successful, and create more things in the future.”
Out of the many Black-owned businesses featured in this initiative, several are owned and operated by women of color. When Ludacris was asked what his favorite business started by a Black woman is, he responded by saying: “I have four daughters myself, and I love showing them Black businesses. One notably because I know her is Pinky here – who just opened up a shop in Brooklyn – but Slutty Vegan, that’s just coming from an idea and a concept to reality; and I watched it grow from store one, to now she has numerous stores spread out through the country and no means stopping anytime soon.”
“So, the first person that comes to mind would be Pinky with the Slutty Vegan restaurant chains, because she started with a food truck if I’m not mistaken – and that’s amazing,” he continues. “I love that entrepreneurs are teaching people that you don’t have to go big right off the bat. It’s all about building a fanbase really slow; kind of like how I did with my album career. From there, you slowly move your way up, that way you always have a foundation, and I think that’s also important for people when they think about how much money they’re going to spend, or how many resources, or how much time and equity they’re going to put out there when opening a business.”
To shop Black-owned Friday and support Black-owned businesses with Ludacris and Flo Milli in an interactive music video, click HERE.