On Monday May 21, 2018 comedian Jess Hilarious posted her usual “Jess with the Mess” Instagram segment. In the video, Jess poked fun at a new hat that states "Black Dollars Matter." Her response to the hat in her segment is done in her comedic style, so at first glance I thought, “OK, whatever.” But, her response to the people commenting is what triggered me to speak my thoughts. In her second video of the day, she states that she doesn’t like the hat and we’re doing too much. She then added that we scream equality, but choose to put a color on everything.

First things first: We scream equality because of hundreds of years that black people have been treated less than human. We scream equality for all the years we have been looked at and categorized as monsters, animals or super predators. We scream equality for always getting the shit end of the stick. Equality, when it’s comes to jobs. Equality, when it comes to education. Hell, just equality for life, in general, because for so long we have never had an equal footing and when we did, they destroyed it. I can go deeper, but that’s why we scream equality.

Jess goes on to say what if a white person puts “White Dollars Matters” on a hat, we would be outraged. Well, yeah, you’re right, but they already did that. It’s called the “Make America Great Again” hat. There are shirts, signs and hats that say “All Lives Matter,” a saying created to once again silence black voices, but uplift theirs, showing that we are still not treated as equal. 

You might ask, as Jess has, “What the fuck is a black dollar?”

Are you serious? Really? Let’s talk about black dollars. Every day there is a black person whose money is not valued or respected. Today, there are still black people who can’t walk through certain stores and businesses without being watched or looked upon weirdly when buying an expensive item. Money from our hands — black dollars — are not valued. It’s harder for black and brown people to secure homeowners loans, business loans, etc. Why? Because our dollar, black dollars, money from our hands, is not valued. 

The black spending power is in the trillions. 1.2 trillion to be exact. This means we influence a lot. That’s our black dollar. But yet, we still face the same injustices, the same forms of inequality and same prejudice that we have been facing for decades. We still are not given the same resources and opportunities as some of the other races you mentioned in Jess' video. So what do some of us understand about this society lead by white supremacy? That the way to our freedom is through economics — the black dollar. Pooling our resources together to create a multitude of things, opportunities and businesses that care about us and our spending power is important. There are many businesses that don’t give a damn about black people and what we deal with. They just want our money (Hey, NFL).

For Jess' to say that she doesn’t know what a black dollar is, that means she truly doesn’t understand the influence we have in this world. Everything we’ve done and created shapes this world, this culture and this society today.

Jess ends her video by claiming she only sees green when she counts her money, no matter if she's counting white dollars, black dollars, Asian dollars and Hispanic dollars. Once again, I feel she doesn’t understand the weight of what she just said, so let’s talk communities. Jess, yes money is green, but money also is circulated. It comes from one place and goes to another, and so forth. When you count those white, black, Asian and Hispanic dollars you spoke of, where does it go? I’m pretty sure it goes to you and your account, and you feed your family with it. Let’s be real, you came up in this game on black dollars from black people who live in black communities. 

I feel the following could be at the heart of "Black Dollars Matter." If I go to certain areas in my city where majority black people live, I see a lot of businesses. Gas stations, liquor stores, nail shops, beauty supply stores and Chinese food spots. They flood the black communities with these type of establishments. Who owns these businesses that are found damn near every couple miles in a black community? Not us. When I look at who does, their money doesn’t come back to the black community they have their successful business in. It goes to them. The Asian dollar, the Arabian Dollar, the white dollar — it’s circulated amongst them and their community of their people. It helps build wealth for them; it doesn’t help the hood. Now, I said that’s what it looks like in my city, but what about all the other cities like this all across America? None of that money is being circulated back into the black community. They feed poison to our people and they get rich off it. They send their kids to good schools with good education, while our communities struggle. They easily get approved to expand more businesses to ensure they have generational wealth, while we can’t even secure a small loan for business equipment. 

This is why the black dollar matters. We need to begin circulating our money back into USA and our communities to help build us up again. Black Wall Street thrived because of the circulation of the black dollar. We need that again. We need to break free of the cycle that we live in, a cycle that doesn’t include us or value us and our money.

Jess, as a person in your position, you should see the value in the black dollar, but sadly, you don’t. The angry comments you spoke about are from the people that do, and the people that know what it will take for us to take back what’s rightfully ours.

Black dollars helped build your platform, Jess Hilarious. Hopefully you don’t forget that … or maybe you already did?