I’m a black business owner that operates on the fringes of an industry I absolutely love and I’m saddened by the collective silence around BlackLivesMatter. With the exception of a handful of industry players, the stance seems to be let’s just ride this out until the smoke clears. But how do you just ride out injustice and why are you riding instead of driving?
Some of my favorite brands and dearest friends have been silent! Are the atrocities that you are witnessing not enough to publicly say - “this is wrong”? A scarier thought is that you might feel that the acknowledgment of the inhumanity shown in the killing of unarmed black people is a risk to your brand! The threat of losing your followers and loyal customers seems to trump the threat of losing one's life simply because of the color of one's skin. I have traveled with you, I have eaten with you, I have smoked with you, and I have promoted your brands, but you do not see me!
When you see George Floyd’s life being stripped away by someone sworn to protect and serve, it doesn’t anger you to the point of a Statement? What if it were me instead of George, would that matter more to you? What if it were one of the Counter Culture Brand owners that get celebrated as the rebels in the cigar industry, would that matter enough to Black Out Your Damn Instagram for one day in solidarity?
An industry so above the fray, yet here we all sit in silence. So in answer to your silence, I will respond in silence. I will start by unbanding every cigar I post unless I’ve seen a public statement of solidarity with the black community from that company.
I will hashtag each post with #unBANDit and encourage others to do the same. I cannot in good conscience continue to promote and market your companies while you sit in silence because the threats of losing ones life at the hands of fucked up cops are not your own.#CelebrateJuneteenth #BlackLivesMatter #unBANDit