January 31, 2023

Support Pours In As Black Business Marketplace Miiriya Faces Closure

Miiriya has been flooded with messages of support after the online marketplace for Black-owned businesses announced its upcoming closure. 

The brainchild of Lamine Loco, Miiriya is a platform connecting Black-owned businesses with consumers – kind of like an Etsy or Amazon for Black businesses. The name comes from Loco’s native language, Bambara/Dioula, and means “thoughts” or “ideas.”

Committed to the circulation of the Black dollar, Miiriya lets vendors sign up without transaction or listing fees. They also pay credit card and PayPal fees out of pocket, so vendors receive 100% of their earnings.

Despite garnering over 400,000 users, on January 26, Miiriya announced they would be closing in a Twitter thread assumed to be written by Loco.

The Twitter thread stated that most multimillionaires interested in buying the platform wanted to “turn it into something different with different nonBlack shareholders/for goals that it wasn’t for.”

This was despite evidence of Miiriya’s success and popularity among Black businesses and consumers. After two solid years, Miiriya’s hit a hurdle that caused a lot of damage. They managed to run a successful fundraiser and asked the server for an extension as they sought an additional funding boost. They also encouraged supporters to join their Patreon for just $1 to help cover server costs and fund innovations. 

One such innovation was an application programming interface (API) that enabled Black businesses to sync their products, orders, and shipping from their stores. Loco had just successfully completed the API when they received an email informing them that Miiraya’s server would be stopped. 

“I fell apart,” Loco tweeted. “Because I thought, even after creating that, with everything falling apart, limitations, latenesses, at that point there would be no point.”

Since posting the thread, numerous Twitter users have shown Miiriya support, including Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing director of Backstage Capital.

Miiraya has also shared their PayPal and CashApp information for potential support.

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)