WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Lewis “Buck” Green says it has been an ongoing problem.
“How do we get black people to support black people because we know that’s an issue,” he said.
That thought is what helped create Black Dollars.
Black Dollars is a mobile app that directs people to black-owned businesses in their community or nationwide.
Victor Davidson II created Black Dollars and serves as CEO.
Green serves as vice president.
The app is only about a year old, but currently has about 400 companies listed – most of them based in Winston-Salem.
“If we build one community or if we build every community up, it makes the whole community better,” Davidson said.
Davidson and Green say the app is about more than networking, it’s about addressing social issues within the black community.
Green believes criminal activity is in many ways linked to people not having access to opportunity.
“We want to provide jobs for 50 percent of the black people in this city, if we could possibly do that, think about how many people wouldn’t do some of the things they do that are negative,” he said.
But the men have faced criticism.
After hanging a Black Dollars sign at a local recreation center, they received phone calls from people who did not agree with the approach.
Green said some of the negative feedback included criticism that the app was damaging the Hispanic and white communities.
“We were being called racists,” he said.
Green and Davidson say there is nothing racist about their intentions.
“We don’t say just support black-owned businesses, we say how about throwing a couple of dollars at these businesses to bring them up to a level of the other businesses out here,” Davidson said.
Davidson says Black Dollars researches the businesses before uploading them to the app through background checks and communicating with the Better Business Bureau.
Black Dollars is available through Google Play and should be available through the Apple Store this week.