Before the Covid-19 pandemic, PhxSoul.com, a website that promotes black-owned businesses in Phoenix, Arizona, was reaching 13, 000 views per month; keeping the African American community informed about the achievements of many black persons whose feats were underreported in mainstream media.
Aside from that, the website’s subscribers also made business connections and learned more about the lifestyle in Phoenix through the presence of PhxSoul.com. However, like many businesses, PhxSoul.com began folding up and laying off employees when the pandemic hit harder.
This prompted American rapper and business mogul, Jay-Z , and his entertainment agency, Roc Nation, to create an avenue to give struggling minority businesses the exposure they needed to stay afloat. Prior to his intervention, black-owned businesses had tumbled by 40 percent, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.
Due to systemic racism, the rate of African American business ownership is the lowest in the US. If this insignificant fraction of businesses were closing down, by inference, a rich culture of black history and entrepreneurship was under extinction as well.
Taking this into account, Jay-Z entered into a collaboration with the Newspapers Publishers Association to purchase full-page ads in 35 black-owned newspapers to promote the African American businesses persevering during the hard times.
The businesses found voice in several dailies rallying the black community to learn about them and reach out to support them. The pioneers of black businesses fought with their blood and sweat to earn a place in the market and ensured their businesses thrived. In that regard, Jay-Z endorsed these sacrifices, the dreams, and the belief in the survival of black-owned businesses, according to CNBC.
When Tremaine Jasper, owner and editor of PhyxSoul.com was selected to be featured in the Jay-Z campaign, his website was experiencing record-low demand for ads. He was gripped by uncertainty about the fate of his business.
Though he was willing to do everything in his power to keep the business alive, he was also aware it was on the brink of closure. A business that was doing so well after it was established in the early 2000s, had turned into a pale shadow of its former glory days.
However, after PhyxSoul.com was featured in the rapper’s campaign, the website that ordinarily had 13,000 views in a month, was reaching 10,000 views in one day.
Aside from people calling Tremaine to make inquiries about placing their ads on the website, its social media engagement and following spiked. As of June 15, 2023, PhyxSoul.com’s Facebook page had 12k followers and 11k likes, and over 5k followers on Instagram.
It will be challenging to determine what the numbers were before Jay-Z had the website featured, however, its founder signals the current number of followers on these pages is a result of the advocacy by the American rapper.