In late 2021, my wife and I sold our house, car, and material possessions to travel full-time. We’re empty-nest entrepreneurs that don’t have to be anywhere. We’ve decided to spend our golden years building our business from locations worldwide.
We were on a Delta Airlines flight from Puerto Rico to Atlanta when something unexpected happened. As you can imagine, we spend a lot of time on airlines. While enjoying the comfortable lay-flat seats in the Delta One cabin, I saw something that changed my perspective and created a clear awareness of what it means to support Black businesses.
I asked the flight attendant for a diet coke and Vodka. When the mini bottle of Vodka came, I randomly checked the back of the label. On it, I saw: “Discover America’s first (legal) Black-owned distillery at DuNordSocialSpirits.com.”
Based out of Minneapolis, Du Nord Craft Spirits is a family-owned distillery started in 2013 by Chris Montana. The Black-owned business is more than an alcohol distillery — it created a foundation to help re-envision the future for the underrepresented.
At the end of 2020, Delta Airlines signed a pledge with Operation Hope to help create one million new Black-owned businesses. That pledge includes bringing in diverse suppliers for Delta’s service offerings on flights.
In addition to Du Nord Craft Spirits, Delta has also served wine from Brown Estate, the first Black-owned estate winery in California’s Napa Valley. Delta uses several other Black-owned businesses in various parts of its operations.
Delta Airlines is a company that does more than pay lip service in its support of Black businesses. They are committed to helping Black businesses grow in markets and ways that tend to be more challenging for Black entrepreneurship to flourish.
Delta’s example is something more organizations, companies, and entrepreneurs should consider adopting. It’s been great to see companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, DoorDash, Cisco, PayPal, Coca Cola, and more follow Delta’s example by supporting Black businesses with more than lip service.
Supporting Black Businesses
We often hear about giving Black service providers and businesses more support, but we need more entrepreneurs and organizations to implement this practice. As a Black entrepreneur, Delta Airlines has shifted my perspective. I’ve come to realize that I’ve not done enough to support Black businesses, especially when we’re finally being given an opportunity to be heard. Supporting Black businesses does not have to mean exclusion. Too often, the discussion about race and supporting social justice initiatives turns into a conversation of either-or choices. Just because you choose to support Black-owned businesses does not mean you never endorse or frequent other types of companies. When we incorporate more Black service providers in our lives and our businesses, we make a change that can be felt for generations.
Closing the Gap
Supporting Black-owned businesses means you are intentional about choosing entrepreneurs and companies that are not offered the same advantages through the way systems in the United States. The stats about the support of Black businesses tell a story. Compared to the growth of other races, the statistics on Black-owned businesses show we’ve come a long way but that we as a society still have a long way to go. When you actively support Black businesses, you help close the disparity gap — not to mention that there are many great options in the African American community. Building a business requires many facets that you’ll need to hire outside providers to help you fulfill. When choosing professionals, you can look for the best options from Black service providers.
Building Black Communities
The Black community has been marginalized and treated less than human since the inception of this country. “Community” could be considered a strong word, as we’ve had to overcome a lot to be here. Entrepreneurship is one path for communities to flourish and develop the next generation of Black leaders that will move our community even further. When you choose to use Black-owned businesses, you’re helping to build Black communities. Building Black communities creates opportunities for the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and allows us to break the cycle.
Delta Airlines is just one company putting its support and real dollars behind Black businesses. There is an opportunity for each entrepreneur and organization reading this.
Let’s support Black businesses!
Kimanzi Constable is a lifetime entrepreneur. He is an author of four books and writer whose articles have been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Insider, SUCCESS Magazine, NBC, CBS, FOX, and 80 other publications and magazines.