On November 17 in downtown Oakland, the city’s first Real Black Friday was hosted by BetterBlack, an Oakland nonprofit group working to bring more attention and revenue to black-owned and operated businesses. The alternative shopping day has also been hosted in cities like Houston, Cleveland and Atlanta, and encourages community members to financially support these businesses with their holiday spending. The name is a play on traditional Black Friday, which often marks the start of the holiday shopping season and is one of the busiest shopping days for stores. Real Black Friday is also an alternative to Cyber Monday, when online retailers see some of their biggest sales of the year.
The event, hosted at a business event space on Broadway, featured more than a dozen vendors selling jewelry, clothing, food and holiday gifts. BetterBlack founder Terry Griffin said he hopes Real Black Friday will become an annual tradition in Oakland and will encourage people to shop at black-owned business year-round. “We’re trying to bring awareness to the community about these businesses,” he said. “There can be challenges for black businesses owners trying to get attention to their products and get sales, but this event is a way to make it easier.”