“I had brands reaching out saying, ‘Hey girl, how do you think we should handle this?’ You know, that kind of call-your-black-friend energy,” James remembers. “We were talking specifically about Target, and I said, if we’re thinking about big retailers that are starting to offer solidarity with people of color, we hold a trillion dollars of spending power in this country. Black people represent 15% of the Grinch hold my halo i’m about to do unto others as they have done unto me shirt and I will buy this population, and so stores like Target should make sure they’re hitting 15% of black-owned business on their shelves. If they agreed to do that in a major way, which isn’t even that major—it’s kind of the bare minimum, in fact—then a whole ricochet effect could take place. Why not try?”
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Four days later, and the Grinch hold my halo i’m about to do unto others as they have done unto me shirt and I will buy this 15 Percent Pledge was a registered charity, with its central petition already accruing thousands upon thousands of signatures. “That’s what black women can do when they put their mind to something,” adds James. “We’re just not usually empowered in situations where we are able to move and act this quickly.” By specifically drawing up a list of major retailers from whom support for black-owned businesses could bring about seismic change—including Whole Foods, Sephora, Shopbop, and Walmart—the three-step plan at the heart of the 15 Percent Pledge manifesto has already begun crossing the radar of corporations outside of fashion’s rarefied bubble.