The Honey Pot is a plant-based, feminine care system formulated with herbs, botanicals, and antioxidants. Target took a chance on the brand and it has taken off, ever since. White women, however, have launched a campaign to destroy the brand. The anger stems from a recent ad in which the founder says, ““The reason why it’s so important for honey Pot to do well so that the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea, she can have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.” That statement, alone, simply couldn’t be the cause of this ruckus. There is a long history of “lynching” Black entrepreneurs, this is simply the latest iteration.
No one is threatening violence against the founder of Honey Pot, that is important to say. The campaign to leave 1-star ratings and trash the company on social media, however, is a 21st century manifestation of an old hostility to Black entrepreneurship. Lynchings were very common for Black entrepreneurs who did a little too well, in another era. The murder of Elmore Bolling, a successful Black entrepreneur, by a jealous white neighbor in Alabama in 1949, is a fine example. In 1892 the owner of People’s Grocery in Memphis, along with two employees, were lynched because the store began competing with a white store. The fear was that Black people might do too well and in doing so, mitigate the prosperity of whites: that fear is still rampant.
The founder of Honey Pot, in running a successful business, wants to inspire the next Black girl. Her admission of that is scary to many people. The idea that she could do well and give rise to many others, frankly, just sounds like “a takeover,” in the minds of some folks. The backlash against Honey Pot has little to do with her success but rather, the seeds she is planting in other Black girls who will also compete with white children. No, no one is threatening physical violence but to viciously attack someone’s company and livelihood is quite damaging, also. Those who are engaging in this campaign against The Honey Pot may not be conscious of their racism but the effect of their actions still matter. Black entrepreneurs have always been at risk of mob violence and while the form may change with time, this still rings true.