Wyclef Jean is supporting Black-owned businesses this Black Friday — and is encouraging others to do the same!
While speaking to PEOPLE ahead of the biggest shopping day of the year, the 51-year-old musician opened up about why it is more crucial now than ever to support these businesses, explained that Black-owned companies have reportedly closed at double the rate of white-owned ones amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “I think that it’s important that we understand that and we really lend a hand and support them," he says.
"Especially this time," he adds. "Because if you look at the idea of Black Friday, and how much money is actually spent [and] how much money we as communities … put out, I think that if we put a fraction of that towards these Black-owned businesses, we can really help."
To try to make that a reality, the former Fugees member has teamed up with Google to pen a fun and catchy jingle with the goal of encouraging shoppers to make conscientious choices locally and around the globe.
The campaign, which is being touted as #BlackOwnedFriday, came about due to the increasing demand of individuals looking to support Black-owned businesses in 2020. Earlier this year, search interest for "Black-owned business" surpassed 2019 levels by more than 2,100 percent across the nation.
The almost minute-long jingle finds Jean teaming up with fellow musician Jazzy Amra as the duo croon about supporting Black-owned businesses on the ever-popular shopping day. (Wyclef even founded his own jingle production company to make it!)
"It's the season to show up and show love. Black Friday — it's Black-owned Friday," the pair sing on the tune.
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Google will also be lending a hand and making it easier to search and find Black-owned businesses through Google Search and eventually through Google Maps.
Jean, who says he will "definitely" be shopping online this year because of the global health crisis, also encourages others to do the same. "I think we're gonna have a lot of activity this year, more so online," he says.
He also shared a few of his personal favorite Black-owned businesses with PEOPLE: Vibez Juice & Vegan Cafe in New Jersey — a company that he says is "slowly turning me vegan;" Fusha Designs, a fashion line owned by Claudinette Jean; and Miracle Butter Cream, a product that he notes he "can't really live without."
However, the Grammy winner notes that this support can't end after our holiday shopping is complete, explaining that, to him, supporting Black-owned businesses is an important part of celebrating and honoring the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
"When we look at Black Lives Matter, there are two things for me," Jean shares. "One is that we can't take our feet off the pedal. And what that means is to make sure that the movement that everyone is paying attention to gets turned into more reform, into more policy and turned into more legislation."
The second part, Jean says, is "for the world to understand that we're not disrespecting anybody else … we have to take a second and really acknowledge that Black lives do matter."
"There's an evolution going on, there's a big awakening going on," he adds. "The world is galvanizing more towards this issue."
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