How to Be Black on Black Friday

Since it’s our namesake day, we should find some unique ways to spend the day after Thanksgiving.

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People crowd the first floor of Macy’s on Nov. 23, 2012, in New York City at the start of Black Friday.

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Black Friday’s gotten a pretty bad rap. Whether it’s “the High Holy Day for the state religion of overconsumption,” as one commenter wrote on the New York Times’ website, or just the starting line of the holiday rat race, the “black” in Black Friday is more ominous than awe-inspiring.

So why not take it back? Instead of fighting to the death over the last fistful of Furby at Wal-Mart, let’s do something that won’t end up on the evening news. We all know February—one of the shortest months of the year—is hardly enough time to get our collective African-American pride on. So let’s add some extra minutes to our plan and make “the day after Thanksgiving” the new black. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Disappear into the Friday black hole on Netflix, along with a pack of sunflower seeds.

The other day a friend gave me a high five and then shouted, “That’s my dog!” When I stared at him blankly, he clarified, “You know? From Friday? The movie? Who are you?” Avoid the same embarrassment by watching all three stoner flicks.

2. Knock out one of those black-people myths that refuse to die.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so maybe you don’t feel like leaving the house to fight crime, but there’s still a way to make a difference on the mean streets of the Internet. Instead of posting pictures of your leftovers on Facebook, debunk one of the popular myths floating around about black folks. I’m sure Tommy Hilfiger would appreciate it.

3. Invent a new space-time continuum exclusively for sweet potato pie.

Pie o’clock is a time-honored tradition in any home worth its sugar. It’s the witching hour between the last time you had a bite and the next time you’ll have a bite, with maybe 10 minutes in between. Don’t overthink it.

4. Put Macklemore to shame.

The fact that there exists an ode to “thrift shopping” that my mother didn’t write is one of the great American tragedies. While everyone else is spending that hard-earned cash on plastic crap, buy your niece a secondhand clutch down at the local Salvation Army. Tell her it’s vintage.

5. Go see The Best Man Holiday, 12 Years a Slave and Black Nativity tuh-tuh-two times.


The powers that be in Hollywood continue to be astonished when a “black-themed” movie does well. Put your money where your mouth is this holiday movie season. If we want to see more films featuring actors who look like us, then we have to actually go see them.

6. Play A Motown Christmas until the neighbors know Smokey Robinson’s name.

There’s nothing like belting out familiar lyrics with a side of something special. A house without Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” is a house without Santa Claus.

7. Help out Santa (and the rest of the world) by giving Kanye West a new job title for Christmas.

“The Tupac of product design” is already taken, but there have to be other options out there to give Kanye, and everyone else who has to listen to Kanye, something to laugh about. Perhaps he can be “the Craig Mack of making stuff up.”

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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