How to Break Generational Patterns and Celebrate Black Joy with La Toya L-Sampson
Welcome to this episode of The Determined Mom Show. Today we have the wonderful La Toya Sampson with us, and we are gonna be talking about something very important, and we’re gonna be talking about how to break generational patterns and celebrate black joy. And La Toya is the founder and CEO of buydefault.com.
I’m very excited to talk to you about this because a lot is going on in, you know, history. I would love to hear first, and I’m sure the audience wants to know about you, your background, and what bydefault.com is because it sounds very interesting.
So I am La Toya L-Sampson. I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago. I am a mother, a wife, an ob-gyn, and the founder and CEO of buydefault.com. It is a curated directory of black-owned businesses and black professionals that catered to the black community. Yeah, so that’s, you know, that’s me.
That’s awesome. I love that you have the professional background of, you know, being an ob-gyn, and then also you have created this amazing directory. So what was the catalyst for the creation of this?
Well, it started a long, long time ago. So like I said, I’m from Trinidad, and the first time I visited the United States I was 10. And I was with my uncle in his apartment and I was nosy and noisy, for 10 years old. And I was looking around and I saw a bottle of shampoo that said four normal hairs.
I just remember being very confused as to what normal meant in Trinidad. Almost everybody looks like me, right? So half the population is of African descent.
Almost everybody has some kind of melanin. Like I didn’t do that, that was nothing. Right? So, you know, I was 10, and I forgot about it, but the feeling of confusion always stayed with me.
I came back for undergrad. I, you know, What normal means, it’s, it’s not really for me. And you know, that constant feeling of, other than, or being exotic or, you know, things like that kind of always goes along and ascribed to us. Whereas in my life, I’m the standard. Like everybody, you know, almost everybody is black and we are all normal to us.
So, you know, I always found that when you see these bigger brands, they don’t cater specifically to us, to our community. Or if they do, it’s kind of like, an afterthought, like, you know, let’s. You know, we’ll, we’ll do stuff for the majority. We default to the majority, and then we kind of just make things, for the minorities as well.
You know, that was always kind of like, I don’t know how I feel about that. But then as you know, the time went on and. More in the last couple of years, there are smaller brands, mainly Black Own, that are catering to us. You know, we are not waiting for a seat at the table, we’re just doing our one thing.
But they are so spread out and so hard to find. It was frustrating for somebody like me because I’m all about efficiency. You know, blame it on the day job. I don’t. So I was like, you know what? I want to. Create a place where you can find all of these things, buy black own brands, things that are specifically made for us.
When the creator is thinking about the ideal client, their ideal customer, they’re thinking about me, they can be thinking about other people as well. But it’s an intentional, you know, creation, you know, for these products and these services. So I wanted to bring all of those things in one place so you can find them easily.
I would say, Find what you need to live your best life because you know, that’s all anybody wants to do is to live your best life and to be joyful. So that was a long answer to a short question.
It’s always the things that affect you, right? You try to find a solution and this, you know, that was my answer to that problem. And you know, I have so many plans for it as the directory is one thing, but as a platform, I wanted to be kind of like an affirming space. So, you know, we have so many external forces and so many things that happen in this world.
And my way of keeping sins, I don’t wanna call it avoidance, but it’s, as you know, just taking a break. You need a release, from all of that. Yeah. So really, you know, focusing on joy and focusing on positivity, positive images of black people. That’s really what I want to focus on and that’s what I hope my platform can be to people. You know, you come to buy default and you feel celebrated, catered to uplifted, like just happy.
So, you know, I feel like they all center, they all come from the same place. This desire is to be okay and to survive. When our parents and you know, when we were growing up and you know, you hear a lot of people say, they were told you have to be twice as good to get half as much.
That’s a real thing. We don’t, we don’t have that thing exactly in Trinidad, but the idea is still there. Right. You need to excel, you need to, you know, do all these things so that when you go out into the world, you are not treated a certain way or you are. You know, um, discriminated against, even though no matter what you do, those things will happen, right?
So you know, they stem from a kind of like one place and that need to be perfect or having these. Crazy expectations for your children. I feel like it’s the biggest one. And then when you have experiences where you, you come and say, for example, oh, I think I mentioned to you in Trinidad, we are ranked, right?
In school, when you get your grades at the end of the year, you like, I came first, I came second in my class. So I used to do very well in school, but I didn’t always come first. And it was like, well, why didn’t you come first? Why did you, why didn’t you? And you know, it’s that those kinds of expectations are not celebrated.
Small wins. I feel like, uh, it affected me and I think affects a lot of people and, you know, some of the languages that we use with our children and I even caught some of it recently when, you know, my son was. Crying about something and he was told that he was being naughty. I’m like, he’s 18 months
So those, those are, you know, I feel like the biggest ones that I think we can work on and it takes the most amount of work. Comes with reprogramming. Right. Because I find myself falling back into some of those things because that’s kind of how I was raised. I slipped down and was like, are you being naughty? Like it’s not what? Don’t, don’t say that stuff, you know? I will be very honest with you. I have no idea.
As you know, I’m a first-time mom. He’s only 18 months, so I have a long time to figure it out, but it’s something that I think about all the time and I feel like, Making sure he has a strong foundation is gonna be essential.
Because, and it just so happens that he’s a cool baby and he doesn’t go anywhere either. So we could control pretty much everything, the images he sees, all of that stuff, but making sure that he is. Strong in himself, making sure that he is reassured, that he is normal, he is the standard, you know, you, everything about you is beautiful.
And you know, having that ingrained in you when you go out and have those external forces, you really, nothing can touch you. And just making sure that you are. That’s being reinforced all the time and we do that now. We are intentional about the types of things that he watches, and the educational things that he uses.
It was really important to me for the directory to include things for children, because. The images and stuff, those things matter. And even though he’s only 18 months, that stuff matters and it will, it will affect him. So making sure that the shows that he watches are positive black characters.
If they’re black educators. So if you internalize what we are told and what we receive from outside, you would think that I’m not surprised that people are afraid of black people if, if this is, you know, if you take in what comes in from outside. I think for us being intentional in that way is very important so that his foundation is.
So that when he does go out there, of course, he’s going to work hard and have a good work ethic because he has us as parents, but he’s also strong in himself and his culture and his, you know, everything. So, If you encounter that kind of thing, you know, well that’s, that’s your issue. That’s not mine.
I think I come from a place of privilege that I did not grow up in. So you know, don’t get me wrong, Trinidad has its problems with race, but it’s not like this. So some of the burdens that you have when you grow up here, I don’t have.
I lived here long enough where, you know, it’s not like I’m an outsider looking in anymore, but again, my foundation, right? It was, it was strong. I think I’m in a place of privilege because of that. And you know, I’m grateful for it, but it’s unfortunate that there even is a difference like that.
I know, but it all comes from the same place, right? I think in general, I think. People just want to be allowed to be and to be themselves, right? So a lot of times people like, well, you know, what can we do? Just, allow people to, being left alone sometimes is great.
You know, so you can, you can do whatever you’d like and not have to worry about, you know, being told, well, no, you can’t do this. No. You know, and, you know, getting into. Allyship and you know, anti-racism and things like that. There’s a whole other large conversation. But I think, you know, just to touch on that lightly is just acknowledgment that there is an issue.
I feel like that is the biggest first step in any kind of anti-racist movement. Being anti-racist is an active thing. It’s not, it’s not passive at all. And just acknowledging that. But in terms of black joy, you know, a quote that I love is that black joy is that active resistance, right? So you can fight racism just by being joyful.
And then from, you know, the other side, allowing people to celebrate their joy. Understanding that you may not be a part of it, and that’s okay. But I feel like we kind of forget that joyfulness and positivity and affirmations are important. Especially when there’s so much negativity coming in.
A lot of people do trauma porn, and I really can’t get down with that. Like, that’s not how I detached myself completely last year in 2020. Cause if I was postpartum, you know, hormones, like all that stuff, I was just like, no more social media for me. I don’t watch the news like I don’t do any of that.
Just remember to take a step back and examine why we say the things that we say, why we believe the things that we believe. Is it because these are the things you heard growing up? These are the things you believe, these are the things you were told, and how is that affecting you Now, how is that going to affect your children?
Do you know? So just paying attention to those things and acknowledging that it is a work in progress. I’m a work in progress. I think we all are. And then, you know, for the directory by default it has only just. I am, you know, I have so many plans for this platform, and I use the word platform because it’s, it’s more than just a directory, right?
It’s a place for us to, like I said before, feel celebrated, and uplifted. So if you have a need, a break, and you wanna see some black joy come on over, right? But you. Instagram on the website. It will be so much more. I don’t wanna, don’t wanna give too much away, but there are such great plans that I have for it, and it’s taught me a lot with entrepreneurship and it’s taught me something about.
How I grew up and some of those patterns as well, because something I never did before was to celebrate small wins because I think we talked about this on our call. I’m very hard on myself. Right. So, there are a lot of expectations and I think you asked me if situations with my mom, Nitpicking, and stuff like that affected how I am now, and I usually said no.
And then after I told you it felt like a therapy session. I thought about it after we spoke and I was like, you know what? It probably has affected me. And it’s one of those things that’s so deeply ingrained that I didn’t even, I just thought that that’s how I was like, I’ve always been a hard worker, of course, but you know, coming home and being excited about a grade or whatever and then being compared, it’s.
Just really celebrating those small wins. I always get caught up in the next step. right? And the next step. And the next step. And you don’t take a minute to be like, okay, well this was, this is big. Like, celebrate this again. This is a moment of joy.
I just throughout my career and growing up and stuff, I was always focused on, well, I could have, I could have done a little bit more, I could have done this, I could have done that. But you know, going through this journey of creating the directory and starting a business, you need to stop and celebrate the small ones because it’ll never feel like anything is going right.
And then the whole journey will pass you by. And it’s. Well, I think some good stuff happened back there, but, I don’t really, I don’t remember. So, um, taking, going through this journey has taught me even more than before, the importance of. Taking a step back, celebrating those small wins, and being joyful. I’m in, I’m very interested to see where this is gonna go, but I’m excited. I’m very excited about what’s next.
I’m looking for people to join the platform and I’m looking for people to just know about it so that it can be used because there are a lot of directories out there right now, for black loan businesses. But the difference with mine is that I focus on the consumer and the customer. So, Promoting black home businesses is like a default, right?
Like, that’s just what it is. But I, and I’ve, you know, mentioned this many times before. My thing is about you coming to the platform and feeling all of those things, feeling happy, feeling catered to all those things. I only list businesses that I feel represent that very explicitly, right? Because of course, if you are black and you’re making something, obviously you have black people as ideal customers.
But again, the imagery, right? The intentionality of those things is important to me. So I purposely list businesses where it is very. This is for us, right? They explicitly say, Hey, this is for us. You know, it’s very obvious. They are not. There’s some. Businesses that I found where you can’t even tell it’s a black woman, which is fine.
It’s not a knock on how anybody chooses to run or market their business. But it’s just not what I’m looking for, for what I’m trying to achieve because I’m focused on the consumer and I’m focused on your feeling when you come to my platform. So, you know, I have a, I have a vision. And you know.
Again, I am intentional with who I choose to be there. So if anybody’s listening and you, your business fits that bill, come on over. Send me an email. I will be happy, happy to list. And then another thing that’s a little bit different is that, uh, it’s not just about product-based businesses, about service-based businesses as well and professionals, because I wanted to be.
A place where you can come to find every single thing you need to live your best life. And that includes coaching, therapists, doctors, and lawyers, like all of those things, are important as well. So, I don’t want it to just be, you can buy some hair products and things like that. While that stuff is important, I want to be all-encompassing.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of your experiences and knowledge and your perspective. I truly appreciate it and you know, welcome the opportunity to speak with you.
Thank you so much. It was great, um, speaking with you this morning. I’m very happy that I was able to come on and thank you for having me. Thank you. Thank you for listening to The Determined Mom Show.
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