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News & Opinion

Why We Must Support Black Businesses

Written by Zamara Perri

For years people have been asking me to start a private Facebook group, and I kept saying no. Why? I wanted to put the same amount of time and care that I put into the blog as I would with a group. I wanted to make sure that the group would be a safe, quality and worthwhile destination for black lesbians looking for information about relationships.

It took me some time, but after carefully listening to my followers and readers, we’ve come up with some premium, exclusive content for those who join our paid membership group.

I’m incredibly excited to be launching a private, subscription-based group on Facebook starting January 20, 2017!

I started the Black Lesbian Love Lab blog to celebrate black lesbian love in a way that no one else was doing. I also wanted to shine a light on our many problematic relationships so women like me could improve and find healthier relationships.

What Your Membership Includes

The trial subscription is $3 for your first month to allow you to check out the group to see if it’s your style. After that, the fee will be $12.97 per month. A few people have asked me why there will be a charge and the question surprised me–because this isn’t just a group. The subscription includes:

  • 4 relationship e-books
  • A private community of mature, like-minded women
  • Access to one monthly group session with a life coach
  • One virtual happy hour by video per month
  • One hour long, interactive broadcast that includes interviews with interesting black lesbians in our community as well as relationship experts
  • Access to our video library
  • First dibs on our blog posts

Inspired by Our Trailblazers

Providing these great membership goodies, requires a lot of my own time, effort, and cash. So again, I’m surprised and frankly insulted when people asked me why there would be a charge. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to support a resource/service you use every day.

For decades black lesbians have complained about the lack of movies, television shows and magazine articles that featured our stories and our images.

Then creative souls like Kimberley McLeod, who founded Elixher magazine and Michelle Daniel who created the Between Women web series finally came along and decided to take the lead in creating and telling our stories.

I remember watching Between Women for the first time. I was in my first lesbian relationship and awed to see women who looked like me in relationships like mine.

I applaud these trailblazers for paving the way. When Michelle started a subscription, she got a lot of complaints, but she also got complaints before the membership. People complained about the quality of the videos, acting and lighting.

Did you notice that since she implemented a subscription, all of her projects have greatly improved? Why? Her supporters were willing to financially back her passion, creativity and skill.

I’m a One-Woman Show

I’ve been running this blog by myself for going on three years without charging anyone. I’m it. I’m the editor, writer, the tech person, the interviewer, the social media stalker looking for people to interview, the marketing person, etc.

When I met my partner, she started introducing me to other tools to make managing the blog easier, but those tools come at a price. And to be very honest, I wouldn’t be able to afford those tools if she didn’t pay for them.

Never once have I received payment for the hours (25-30 hours a week) I’ve put into this blog on top of my full-time job and other personal responsibilities. (And out of the hundreds of thousands of people that visit the blog each year, I’ve only had one person offer to donate).

 

We Are Here to Serve You!

Honestly, I wish more people would patronize the women in our community who start businesses to support black lesbians. We honestly wouldn’t have created those businesses if you had not requested them in one way or another.

Don’t get me wrong, all support is appreciated. I’m so grateful for the thousands of people who support us on social media and elsewhere. I love working on the blog and talking to different people on social media. In fact, I’ve made a couple of good friends just by doing what I love–writing about black lesbian relationships!

I’m also incredibly thankful for all the writers who have selflessly shared their gifts with us over the years. I’ve never paid them but they deserve to be compensated for their work, but I cannot do that without revenue.

So let’s be real, when most people provide a service or do a job, they charge a fee. How many of us have ever gone to Netflix and asked them why they are charging? How about your hairdresser or barber? Do you ever walk into the grocery story and just fill up your cart and just walk out without paying?

We deserve to be rewarded for the work that we do! I would never get up and go to work 40 hours a week and not get a paycheck. Neither should any black lesbian business owner.

And honestly, if we are not willing to support each other, then we should gonna stop complaining that there is nothing of quality for black lesbians.

Most websites or television stations offer content for free in exchange for advertising. But the truth is lesbians, in general, are not a target demographic for advertisers, and even fewer advertisers are interested in black lesbians. And for me to pay the bills through advertising alone would make the reader experience intolerable (pop-ups, auto-play videos, overlay/floater ads).

We Need Your Support

That means we have to turn to those who use our services (the blog, social media content) to help us. By having a membership group, I will be able to create more and more of what my community wants.

The membership fee will allow for better equipment, more video content and eventually an assistant to help me with the MANY responsibilities of running this blog.

I realize that not everyone is going to be able to afford to do this. So don’t worry, we will still be supporting the larger community with fresh articles on the blog and will still be active on our public social media pages.

I love serving this community, and I have so many great ideas for how I can improve those services with retreats, conferences, meetups, etc. However, the fact of the matter is, I can’t do those things with funding.


Zamara Perri is the founder and editor of Black Lesbian Love Lab. She is passionate about collecting black lesbian love stories. She also loves mangoes, stray cats, natural hair, writing trashy romance novels, cooking for her sweetheart, giving unsolicited advice and hiking. She has had more than her share of drama-filled lesbian relationships and is now happily u-hauled with an adorable tomboi.

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