BLACK MESSAGES MATTER
Everything happening lately with the black community has made me ask questions of myself. Questions like what does my small contribution look like? How will I, as a black entrepreneur, fight bigotry against blacks? How will I make an impact against all levels of racism?
Sharing our experiences, our reality, our window from which the world views us can only be accomplished by talking to those that don’t know about it. Explaining what it is to be black in the world is our responsibility. Today, as a black man, I can’t sit down and just let things go by – be a silent observer riding along on my own assimilation cloud. In fact, all of us, whether we be black entrepreneurs, athletes, hustlers, entertainers, or anything in between have to be part of this positive message – telling all people who don’t want to know about our every day life and struggle. Turns out "if you don’t know anything about it, well, you might have to sit down, listen, and make an effort to understand.” And I’m committed to helping you do that.
To shelve their own discomfort, people label other people to keep them in boxes they can easily define. In America, people see me as a French guy and not as a black guy – it’s as if my blackness is exchanged for an accent and some great accessories. The truth is, I didn’t choose this privilege and I don’t want a free pass. Just because I am viewed this way, does not mean I don’t understand the black experience, that I ignore my blackness or that I am not concerned about racism here or in France – quite the opposite actually.
Earlier in my career, I have succumbed to other’s influence and used white models or made sure I didn’t have too many posts that may describe D’clic as a “black brand”…whatever that means. I now know that following these “rules” are only contributing to racism and I have a responsibility, with the platform I’ve been given, to showcase black lives.
Racism in France is alive and well, on such a level that it is not even acknowledged as a problem. This meant that opportunities for me were quite limited there, leading me to the US to pursue my dreams. This certainly does not mean that racism doesn’t exist here; however, it means each country is unique in the issues giving rise to racism, and each country is going to require a different approach when working toward the solution. I want to use my positive experience and success as an entrepreneur to mentor other black men in France and spread my example. The power of positive imagery, positive messaging, and creating a united community goes a long way there and I look forward to sharing what I have to give.