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Hillary Clinton promotes NOLA company in initiative to support Black-owned businesses

1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago Thursday, August 06 2020 Aug 6, 2020 August 06, 2020 11:44 AM August 06, 2020 in News
Source: WWL-TV
Founders of NOLA-based business "The Blairisms" (left) and former Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton (right)

NEW ORLEANS - Most entrepreneurs would agree that running a business is no easy task. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it especially difficult to maintain the responsibilities required of a leader.

While shocking numbers of businesses have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic's economic toll, a recent survey mentioned in a WWL-TV article highlights a significant difference in the types of businesses that are finding ways to survive and the companies that have no option but to close their doors for good.

The difference comes down to skin color.  

According to a University of California at Santa Cruz study, nearly half a million Black-owned businesses have permanently shut down during the pandemic, a staggering 41%. On the other hand, the study reveals that only 17% of businesses owned by entrepreneurs who don't identify as people of color have closed for good.

The devastating impact of the global health crisis on Black-owned businesses is no surprise considering the hardships these CEOs often navigated as they attempted to launch their companies prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For example, Danny Manu, CEO of CEH Technologies, explained some of the prejudice-related difficulties he faced during an interview with Business Live. Manu said, "Growing up as a young Black child, people were expecting me to settle into a low skilled job without aspirations to do better."

Manu's self-doubts related to his race likely were the result of living in a culture that publicly praised and supported equality while surreptitiously promoting a mindset that diminished the value of people of African descent. 

As he forged ahead in launching his company, Manu said, "I chose not to show pictures or videos of myself as I didn’t want people to know I was Black. I have found through experience that once people find out you are Black they don’t tend to take you seriously anymore. They think it is just a fleeting wave of success and a culmination of ‘good luck’ for you to be where you are."

He went on to explain that people often looked shocked when they met him in person and discovered they'd been speaking to a Black CEO.

When the spread of novel coronavirus resulted in lockdowns and temporary closures, it's no surprise that many Black-owned businesses suffered even more of an irreversible loss than their non-person-of-color counterparts. 

This is why former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is teaming up with actress and activist, Erika Alexander to highlight a number of Black CEOs on Clinton's Instagram account.

View this post on Instagram

I'm excited to hand over my Instagram account for the day to my friend @ErikaAlexanderTheGreat. I can't keep up with the number of hats Erika wears as an actor, writer, producer, entrepreneur, and activist. But one of her most recent projects was to help produce a documentary about the great Rep. John Lewis, who made the fight for voting rights his life's work. And today, of course, is the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act—legislation that Lewis and thousands of other activists marched, boycotted, rallied, and bled for. Please give Erika a warm welcome and follow along today as she talks about Rep. Lewis's legacy, the right to the ballot, and the ongoing fight for civil rights with a number of special guests. Over to you, Erika!

A post shared by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

Their hope is that by introducing these CEOs and their impressive companies to Clinton's nearly 5 million Instagram followers, the public will increase its support of not only those featured on Clinton's page, but of all Black-owned companies.

A New Orleans-based business called “The Blairisms” will be featured on Clinton's Instagram account, Thursday.

The Blairisms is a fashion and apparel line founded by Blair and Brandon Dottin-Haley.

“We're hoping that this opportunity will be another part of that moment,” said Blair Dottin-Haley. “I come from a very long line of strong Black people including very strong Black women. They were all freedom riders and CORE workers. So I grew up with the feeling of a responsibility to carry on the legacy and to carry on this idea of struggle, resistance and activism towards equity and equality.”

“Not only is this an opportunity for us to have more Black people pour into entrepreneurs but we can also see the influx of more communities pour into Black businesses,” said Brandon Dottin-Haley, Co-Founder of “The Blairisms.”

The Dottin-Haley's hope to reach a broader audience and extend their "Blairisms" across the nation.

“There is value in supporting Black business,” said Haley. “When Black businesses succeed, the country succeeds.”

The Instagram take-over takes place August 6th via Hillary Clinton’s Instagram account.

The “Blairisms” will go live with Erika Alexander at 9:50 p.m., CST.

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