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November 25, 2020

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#BlackBlackFriday Created to Support Black-owned Businesses

In a move to reframe the conversation around Black Friday into an activation to support Black-owned businesses, a team of second year Brandcenter students partnered with Seattle marketing agency DNA to create the #BlackBlackFriday activation.

The new initiative is designed to fuel the patronage of Seattle Black-owned businesses in-store and online through a BlackBlackFriday website with links to aggregated lists of Black-owned stores. It was created to address the decline these businesses have faced since the start of the pandemic, with data that reveals that since April, 41% of Black businesses have shut down nationwide and that Black-owned businesses have closed at twice the rate of other small businesses.

“Our goal with this program is to build sales for our local Black-owned businesses and to encourage consumers to share their support for these enterprises by showing others where they are shopping,” explained Chris Witherspoon, President of DNA. As the students wrote on the website copy, “This year is an opportunity to make Black Friday not about deals and bargains, but about dreams, community and opportunity.”

The online and social media program enables consumers to show their support for the stores they shop at by posting digital stickers that were inspired by the “I Voted” stickers. Consumers who buy from Black-owned stores and services are encouraged to share their purchases or the store names or websites on their own social channels, and then use a sticker that can be found on Facebook and Instagram that says #blackblackfriday to post their purchases.

“Black owned businesses are often at a disadvantage from the moment they open their doors, if they’re ever able to overcome the barriers of entering into entrepreneurship to begin with. As a student learning to solve problems for brands, I saw no better opportunity to help business owners who look like me—with the same dreams as me—in times like these,” said Nana Dadzie (ST, 2021), #BlackBlackFriday project leader.

DNA brought in students from the graduate program at the Brandcenter at VCU to bring #BlackBlackFriday to life. A team of strategists, art directors, writers, UX designers and more developed the online sticker, the branding, the website, and activation.

In commenting on the look and style of the work, Danielle Loleng (XD, 2021) said: "The inspiration for the art direction came from 90's hip-hop and Black television. We drew from shows like Martin and In Living Color and wanted to give the vibe of a cookout to give the tone of familiarity, fun, and community."

Many of the students who worked on the Where Are All The Black People? campaign in September 2020 were also part of the BlackBlackFriday initiative. "Working with the WAATBP team, I already knew we made dope work," said Dinma Onyekwere (CBM, 2021). "Working on this initiative felt seamless. We understood each other so well, it was really easy to ideate and execute with this team."

“The Brandcenter and its students believe that civic engagement is at the core of what we must do. In our work as communicators, marketers and creative problem solvers we have a responsibility to support and elevate communities that need an amplified voice through brands and branding,” said Vann Graves, Brandcenter Executive Director.





Nana Dadzie, Project Lead

Alexandria Daniel

Sheila Villalobos

Allison Schneider


Creative Brand Management:

Dinma Onyekwere

Angel Song


Experience Design:

Danielle Loleng

Marshal Turner


Art Direction:

Brittany Reid

David Ligon



Malcolm Richardson

Will Curtis