Last week, I traveled with BlackXChange.net (BXC) to the 2008 Arizona Black Expo in Phoenix, AZ. We took the BXC Tour RV there, which was my first RV experience. Dan Gambel was right... RVs are cool! We hit the Dock Weiler State beach near LAX airport before driving across state boundaries into Arizona. After capturing a great AZ sunrise, we headed into Phoenix.
The Expo attracted about 1500 visitors to the Glendale Expo Hall, which sits next to the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. BlackXChange was one of about 150 vendors present along with a number of local performers from hip hop dancers, inspirational speakers, spoken word poets and new inspirational artist, Tarsha McMillian Hamilton.
BlackXChange was the official Expo internet and media host with an eight-station internet cafe and the VIP station. Hundreds learned how to connect with black-owned businesses not only in their community but across the nation as they approached the BXC station with the 38-foot RV backdrop. BXC staff video interviewed vendors and recording artist Anthony Hamilton and his wife that were broadcsted live on two huge projector screens.
Like many cities, we heard the complaints of a fragmented black community and concerns with B2B (black to black) business partnerships. For this reason, BlackXChange was well received as many signed up for free membership and several event coordinators asked when we would be back to AZ.
Though Phoenix is a pretty large city (1.5 million), it has a relatively small black population at 5.1% according to the US Census. Black businesses only account for 2.1% of the approximately 92,000 firms or companies in the area.