A Virginia bookstore owner saw her popularity grow on Twitter after she tweeted about being a Black business owner.
On June 2, Deshanta Hairston, of Martinsville, shared a moving post about the challenges of many Black business owners on the social media platform.
“Can you imagine, I refrained from putting [Black] owned in my bio for years in fear of losing out on potential white customers?” she asked. “Well I am indeed [Black] and this is my store and I will be screaming it from the mountain tops moving forward.”
The tweet immediately went viral, receiving over 300,000 likes and more than 3,000 comments.
“I will be purchasing a book or two from you,” one fellow Twitter user wrote in response. “I am a librarian and always have [recs] up my cardigan sleeve. What are your go to recommendations?”
“Bravo!” another added. “Own it. Any white person who won’t patronize your biz because you’re [Black] doesn’t deserve the honor of shopping with your store.”
In an interview with WSLS, Hairston revealed that she initially had reservations about sharing her tweet because she didn’t want to lose any customers. Amid widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism toward the Black community, however, she felt compelled to let her followers know what it meant to be a Black business owner.
“I feel like if more Black people could speak on their experience and just get the conversation started, just give your personal experience, it gives people a better understanding of why we feel the way that we do,” she said.
Since her tweet, Hairston said she has seen her Twitter follower count grow from 150 to over 30,000. She’s also received numerous orders for books by Black authors, she noted on Twitter.
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