By Dawn Paul, Associate Editor
Greenwood was a district neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as “Black Wall Street” to those in the community. In the early part of the 20th century, Greenwood was a thriving business district featuring African-American owned businesses and a strong Black middle and upper class. In 1921, however, it all changed. This affluent Black neighborhood was destroyed in the Tulsa Race Riot. Working together as a community and keeping the Black dollar in the community is what made Black Wall Street what it was. Recent events have African-Americans coming together like never before, reminding us that there is power in economics. There is great power when we pull together and support each other, especially from a financial standpoint. d-mars.com has been a successful business in the community for almost 20 years. The d-mars.com Publisher and CEO Mr. Keith Davis, better known as MR. D-MARS, understands that this communications company would not be where it is today without the support from the Black business community.
Under the leadership of MR. D-MARS, d-mars.com has been inspiring, informing and educating Houston and the surrounding areas through relevant content in its journals for our community and outstanding business services. In addition, the company inspires through award events, like the recent 5th Annual d-mars.com Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs event. MR. D-MARS makes it one of his top priorities to connect people and businesses for success. In fact, he has always had such a genuine ability to connect people that he earned the nickname “Hookup Man.” Over the years, after founding d-mars.com, he has become widely and popularly known as MR. D-MARS, still connecting businesses and people in our community so we all can win. “When one becomes successful and shares information for another to become successful, and that one shares information and so on, then the community as a whole becomes stronger and economically powerful. We all can win. That is the mindset at d-mars.com,” says MR. D-MARS.
MR. D-MARS grew up in Fifth Ward. Growing up, he witnessed the selfless spirit of his mother, father and grandmother, who were regularly seen giving back and paying it forward to others in the community. The example they set stuck with him throughout his life. Losing his mother at a young age to breast cancer, he was determined to succeed and make her proud. As he grew older, he witnessed African-Americans doing amazing things in different areas of business and more positive images of people of color, something that the mainstream media did not and still does not always highlight. In fact, this was one of his inspirations to publishing the d-mars.com journals. He wanted to create a platform where Black businesses and people of color could be celebrated and where they could obtain quality services for their business at a rate that would not put them out of business. MR. D-MARS says, “On this journey of life towards a better future and a positive environment, I was exposed to more positive images of African-Americans. I love my people. I love Black people. I love seeing our people thrive in business and work together to create more economic growth for our community.” MR. D-MARS never forgets where he comes from, and the community and people who helped him get to where he is today. That is why he is so passionate about the support of Black businesses, and sees d-mars.com not just as a business, but as a tool to help the community prosper.
Do you support Black businesses in the area? Are you intentional about patronizing Black businesses in our community? Now there are some of us who have moved out of the community and to the suburbs. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, I want to encourage you not to forget to utilize the services of the businesses in the community. Help contribute to the economic growth of the community.
www.blacktobusiness.com listed some great reasons to support Black Businesses.
Our communities become stronger – It is said that the Black dollar stays in the Black community for only six hours. According to Noel King, reporter for Marketplace’s Wealth and Poverty desk, “Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, and footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, healthcare, and pensions.” Research has shown that the economic state of a community is partially related to the amount of money spent in the businesses within that community. We mustn’t complain about our communities if we are not consciously making an effort to put money back into our communities. Instead we must recognize and learn the importance of financial literacy, investing our earnings and savings into Black businesses and communities. Doing so will promote economic growth, and encourage the next generation to do the same.
Better quality job options become available – One of the components that many overlook when supporting Black business is job creation. In May 2014, the US unemployment remained steady at 7.8%, while the unemployment rate for Blacks was more than twice that of whites at 13.79%. Even more alarming, in 2013, 12.4% of Black college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 were unemployed. Both statistics alone prove the dire need for entrepreneurship and job creation within Black communities, and the fact that the days of having a college degree being a gateway for a better future may no longer be the case. The problem isn’t that Blacks don’t get hired. The problem is that there aren’t enough Black-owned businesses to hire unemployed Black people. Blacks can start doing basic investing, starting with beauty supply stores and distribution sales, such as food, clothing and different forms of entertainment. Time is overdue for change, and we must pool our resources and build our own reality. Believe in yourself and your idea, and get a few friends to take the risk with you.
It diversifies our options to HELP each other – When in need of immediate financial assistance, what organizations do Black people turn to? Small Black-owned businesses, churches, and our local Black organizations. Studies have shown that the Black church remains the most powerful institution in the Black community. The informal financial and spiritual support and caregiving assistance offered by African-American churches is second only to the support by the actual family. The importance of continuing to invest and pour into faith-based and social organizations has and will continue to be more reliable than government assistance.
It grows OUR economy – Evidence has shown that Blacks are spending money making others rich instead of those in our own communities. Other ethnic communities such as Jews, Latinos, and Italians operate almost independently, circulating business in their communities. What makes us different? Economic growth occurs when people take resources and arrange them in ways that make them more valuable. Economic growth cannot be achieved with everyone doing the same thing and creating the same types of businesses. The most celebrated industries for African-American businesses tend to be achievements in the sports, arts, politics, education, and civil rights. Although these industries have rightfully earned their stripes in the Black community, we must continue to tap into other industries like technology, food and services and engineering. Strengthening for Black communities strengthens the economy, in turn allowing the US economy to remain globally competitive.
d-mars.com is all about promoting economic growth in the community. d-mars.com is proud to be known as the communications company that is uplifting and promoting Black businesses. One of the ways that d-mars.com promotes Black businesses is through its Black Pages Online Business Directory. This marketing tool for African-American businesses and entrepreneurs is effective, keeping minority businesses connected and helping increase profits for Black businesses. Sign up today at www.d-marsonlinedirectory.com.
After being in business for almost 20 years, MR. D-MARS has not forgotten to pay it forward to the businesses and community that have helped to make the d-mars.com brand what it is today. This is one of the reasons for the d-mars.com Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs annual event. Are you supporting business in the community? It is important for all of us to do our part. No one person or neighborhood can do it alone. When we all support, then we all win. There is great power in economics. The Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was home to one of the most successful Black economies in American history. Let’s recreate Black Wall Street! Visit d-mars.com on the web at www.d-mars.com.