My Duties As A Black Food Blogger
When I started food blogging, I was fully aware of the two distinct paths I could take. I could take the path of least resistance which means not acknowledging what makes me different from the majority of the food media industry which is the color of my skin, my experiences as a person of color, and my cultural background. Typically taking that path allows for faster growth and a seat at the table of many events as the token or one of few POCs.
Simply because you appear to be more marketable to the mass majority. Of course, there is the other path which is being unapologetically black, always uplifting those of same or similar backgrounds, and sharing our viewpoint through the lens of a black person. Most people fear the second option as they believe it will limit their opportunities and they just wanna play it safe.
As a person of color, I have ALWAYS had to work twice as hard as my white counterparts in everything from sports, schooling, and in my professional career. All of these experiences have taught me that white privilege is real and especially in the food media industry. For that reason the same exceptional work ethic I have applied in my professional career I bring that exact energy PLUS more to my passion for food blogging.
I have a several duties as a black food blogger which include supporting other black bloggers, highlighting black-owned businesses, and to push PR companies to encourage diversity. Let's dive in!
Elevating and supporting other BLACK FOOD bloggers
I remembered back in 2018 Food and Wine put out a list of "40 Food Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following Right Now" and NOT one of the individuals featured had an ounce of melanin in their skin. I think I went through a range of emotions from discouraged, upset, and then finally fed up. It wasn't because I was not on the list, but because I didn't see anyone that looked like me on that list. I remember when I discussed this article on social media and someone mentioned: "Black people just typically don't have enough followers to end up on this type of list." The fact that our level of importance is based solely upon a number is unfair when it should be based upon our level experience and quality of work. A lack of representation in the food industry is not something new, but I knew from the point forward it was necessary to bring attention to the talented black food bloggers. From this, I created my own list (click here for the list) to celebrate those who sometimes felt unseen and to let them know simply...
"I see you shining!"
Creating the list ruffled the feathers of one white executive chef at one of my favorite restaurants here in New York City. He mentioned "food and people have no barriers" and "categorizing pigeonholes us." Not to mention he decided to hop into my Instagram comments during Black History Month to share his feedback about the creation of this list which was meant to celebrate individuals of similar backgrounds. The beautiful thing about creating a community through the authenticity of your content is YOUR SQUAD IS DOWN TO RIDE FOR YOU. Before I even had time to respond to this well known executive chef the fam got him together.
With this said I will KEEP GIVING PEOPLE THEIR ROSES WHILE THEY ARE ALIVE!
Highlighting and Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
I once read somewhere
Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black-owned businesses.
After hearing this startling statistic I knew it was NECESSARY to support black-owned restaurants and businesses. As a black food blogger, I have an even bigger duty to check them out and share my experience with you all. I look at my platform as not only as a way to share pictures of food that may inspire your next meal but also a place where a business can get the word out about their newest business venture. This was the idea behind creating my list of black-owned restaurants in New York City (click here for that informative post).
I can hear some of yall now!
"Dom, what is the restaurant has terrible service?"
Well, you know you on Dom N' The City service is KING, and I WILL KEEP IT REAL.
Pushing PR companies to encourage diversity
I mentioned earlier the two different options I had when I first started out blogging. My hard work and consistency in the blogging world has peaked the interest of PR companies, and now ya girl is getting invites to dinners and events! It is important for me to show up to these events but more importantly to ask for a plus one and bring ANOTHER black food blogger with me. If I can't attend an event due to scheduling conflicts, then guess what? I am going to shoot the PR rep an email thanking them for the invite but then including 2 or more black bloggers that would be great in my place. If you keep attending these events, complaining about the lack of diversity, and say nothing then my friend you are not part of the solution. The way we encourage diversity in these spaces is by providing feedback to these companies curating these events.
I understand this post is slightly different compared to what you are used to seeing on Dom N' The City, but I had this KEEP IT REAL moment on my heart for some time. To my white friends and associates, I hope this sheds light on what your POC friends are dealing with and allows you to empathize with them but more importantly to continue supporting them. To my melanated food bloggers friends, we got a job to do! You with me?