Milwaukee has around 600,000 people and nearly 40 percent of them are Black. That represents a lot of Black dollars which, if circulated within the community, could dramatically improve the conditions of Black people in Milwaukee. A new app, MKE Black, is making it easier for consumers to locate Black owned businesses. From restaurants to museums, clothing boutiques and concerts, MKE Black is a destination for individuals to find what they’re looking for, in Milwaukee.
The MKE Black App’s official launch party was held on Feb. 10 at SkyBox Sports Bar, located at 2213 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. in Milwaukee. MKE Black is working diligently to expose the beauty of Black owned businesses to locals and tourists, also. In fact, MKE Black is working with the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to use the app to spotlight Black owned businesses during their upcoming convention, in July. MKE Black is better positioning Black owned businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that major events, like the DNC Convention, present to local businesses. Black people in Milwaukee certainly need the boost.
According to a 2013 study done by the University of Wisconsin of Milwaukee, over half of Milwaukee County’s Black men in their thirties and early forties had spent time in state correctional facilities. Ultimately, the inability of Black people to employ Black people is at the root of this crisis. Group economics, considered in the context of the Black condition, is a necessary commitment for the survival and advancement of Black people. MKE Black is merely a new tool to help Black people practice that ancient principle and in doing so, create opportunity for generations to come.
Paul Wellington and Rick Banks joined forces to birth MKE Black. According to Wellington, the idea initially came to him while in the shower. As Wellington told the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, “It just popped into my head. ‘Why isn’t there an app that can tell me where Black owned businesses and organizations are in the city?’” Wellington called Rick Banks, an old friend, to tell him about his idea and the two went to work. The future of Black owned businesses in Milwaukee is looking much brighter today, thanks to MKE Black.