Whether it’s Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, Beyoncé performing “Formation” at the Super Bowl, or the widespread demonstrations and conversations centered around the black experience in America, the collective consciousness of being black is a more common topic of conversation than ever. Evident as early as May 2015, EBONY magazine asked “Are We Witnessing the Emergence of A

Today, we look for positive representation, up-to-date dialogue and cultural pride not only in our social circles, but in the mainstream. All media; television, movies, music, books, fashion and even our classrooms are elements of our life we want to connect with our blackness. It’s not enough to watch a funny movie — we want a funny movie that resonates  with our experience and uplifts our communities by providing opportunities for black actors and employing talented people of color behind-the-scenes, too. Just take Ava DuVernay’s flawless display of
 Or how about
? These projects are backed by and tailored to an authentic black experience. And we love it.

And who can blame us? It’s not like staying silent and giving in to the status quo has done us any good. This year alone, we’ve seen the murders of Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott and so many more. For most of us, it hurts to check the news each morning. And with the presidential candidates set up the way they are, there’s not an aspect of our daily lives that doesn’t remind us why these protests, pushes for representation and open dialogues are necessary. But through both the tragedies we’ve endured and the incredible progress we’ve made, one positive has come of it all — our unity. The communities we form after both hard times and huge successes are incredible. And within these communities is where we need to create opportunities to continue to uplift the diaspora. Rather than wait on opportunities to be presented to us, it’s important to invest in ourselves and each other.

So although our collective consciousness might look different from the civil rights movement and fights for equality in the past, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as important. The technology and ease of communication we see nowadays allows us to spread our message and have more frequent and specific conversations that bring the right people together to help move us forward.

We’ve already seen a rise in people openly and pointedly supporting and promoting black creatives,
, etc. It’s incredible to see the impact our community can have when we come together, uplift each other’s voices and support our narratives.

There’s a misconception that supporting black businesses is limiting, but that’s simply not true. Just like the variety we demand in other areas of our life, there are so many brands providing exactly what you’re looking for. Do you want books written by black authors that present characters you can relate to and embrace the
Blerd culture you love? They’re out there!

Are you tired of sacrificing conscious shopping to get the fashion looks that you want? There’s a solution out there for that, too. Founded in January of this year, BLKR is an online marketplace selling high quality, forward-thinking fashion. At its core, the brand cares about three things: The look, the quality and the message. And really, shouldn’t that be the focus of
every brand we support? We want to put our money where it can make an impact. Which brands are worried about providing us with what we want, making it of the highest quality, testing their materials and supporting the causes that mean something to us on a personal level? Those are the ones we should support.
black shoppers blkr
Photo: Studio 637 Photography courtesy of BLKR

For example, BLKR reinvests in 
. As a brand, they hold the broader goal of using money to create opportunity in the black community.
blkr black shoppers
Photo: Studio 637 Photography courtesy of BLKR

Sure, it’s easy to chase after what’s trendy or pick up whatever’s trending on Instagram, but that’s not really what this generation is about. We haven’t been silent about the violence against our community by those hired to protect us. We haven’t been quiet about cultural appropriation and erasure. We haven’t been quiet about the systemic racism that keeps our history out of classrooms. And we shouldn’t be complacent about where we spend our money. As a purchasing block, we spend $1.1 trillion a year. The next level of the Black Spring is to spend our money where it counts.

Preorder is live on BLKR now. Check it out at blkr.us!

black shoppers have power blkr
Photo: Studio 637 Photography courtesy of BLKR

This post is sponsored by BLKR.

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