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If You're Reading This --Learn to Thrive in a Black World

Despite the media distractions going on around us, the mission is still the same --to build a Black world where we capitalize off of ourselves.

If you're reading this, that means you haven't experienced what it feels like to be a #hashtag yet in your community. You haven't experienced what it feels like to watch from the Kingdom as your family and friends keep your name alive through reposts, hashtags, and countless protests to seek justice --for you. I used the word "yet," because any of us can become a target or a hashtag in a matter of seconds. We can all become that hashtag, but it is what we do habitually for the Black community which will pivot the change for the American future. This future includes learning to thrive in a Black world.

The social injustice African-American communities are rendered has catalyzed the millennial cult to shift its perspective to the ascension of the Black community.This catalytic uprising is typically cyclical following the murders of Black men, police brutality, and the need to fracture the canon of internal oppression. But our millennials are showing that if change is needed, it starts with us. From this, we have gotten a plethora of Black productivity’s such as the highly credible Black Lives Matter activism and awareness movement, GoCapway -a Black owned financial institution which teaches economic literacy, and creative productions such as Tyler Perry studios —and Vinyle zine, a Black owned editorial hub showcasing the various creative disciplines by African-American artists. These are all different functionalities that are still imperative to making a world go round- and helping to teach the value of circulating the Black dollar within the African-American community whether knowingly or not. In total, no matter what career choice you pursue -you are still a valuable asset to the economy of the world you invest your dollar in.

“Cash rules everything around me -C.R.E.A.M,” isn’t just a catchy song by the Wu-Tang clan, the hook is a living statement that holds prevalence to how money does make our world go round. Rappers drop financial dimes just as much as they do misogynistic lyrics. They drop dimes about the new cars, clothes, or paraphernalia they’ve just invested in -or like Jay-Z, who dropped a whole track dedicated to taking money from whatever source you’re getting it from, and buying back Black residential areas. The building blocks to capital wealth are steep and it takes great discipline, but I am here to say that you can start the foundation by doing two things: 1. Investing in a Black Owned Business (BOB) 2. Investing in oneself.

How can you expect to be a millionaire if you cannot save $10,000? How can you expect your friend’s BOB to prosper if him/ she does not have supporters. The problem to the solution starts with the one who holds the dollar. If you want to save $10,000, you must first learn to save $1,000. This means with every check you receive, put money into your business piggy bank to help start/ continue your business. If you want the Black community’s businesses small and large to ascend -the power starts with disciplining where your dollar is going. The conscious efforts to no longer invest in capitalistic companies that condone systematic oppression, value economic goods over the lives of a race, or render inequitable services based on race, gender or any other associations is what will be the way to dismantle the corruption of this country; but still bridge a new pathway to a prosperous world. A Black World.

I am still a student of financial ethicacies, but I understand its power greatly —so I will share a closing story. I attended a film screening by director Althea Brown in 2016, when she debuted her documentary, A Trek to the River’s Edge. The documentary was screened at Hammond’s House, a museum around the corner from my undergraduate HBCU, and the documentary regarded the Atlanta Student Movement of the 1960’s -history that I was coincidentally just learning as a freshman at Clark Atlanta University. It was the closing of my freshman year and my mind was already stockpiled with Black history, but it didn’t hurt to attend a film screening. Plus, what I had learned that day was pivotal. In Brown’s documentary, the narrators who were the original creators of the movement spoke about the various civil rights strikes going on during the 60’s. One of the stories recounted was the foreclosure of all the Rich’s department stores. It piqued my attention because I favored Rich’s as a child because my mother loved to shop there. We would stop at South Dekalb mall Rich’s, and tear through their clothing from the clearance racks, run through the aisles playing hide-and-seek behind pale mannequins, beg our mother for $0.25 to buy bubblegum from the big old gum ball machine. I hadn’t heard the name in years, but the memories that resurfaced were completely contrary to the statements made by the 1960’s activists. Montages of protest footage was displayed across the screen showing the racial disparities Black people faced from the company until they said “no more.” During this time, Black people avidly shopped at Rich’s, but the value of their dollar was still undermined, and they were poorly serviced or not serviced at all. In turn, Black people began to boycott Rich’s. The boycotts were the initial thing, but what followed was the consistent discipline to no longer support this business because they did not value their humanity no matter how green their money was. In the end, the money did the talking. Rich’s department stores began to close down nationwide, and one of the last ones standing closed in the early 2000’s down the street from my mother’s house. I was nineteen watching that film, and no information about Black history prior to that day reflected how much value the Black dollar was really worth. This was my enlightening experience that it is possible to dismantle a systematic corruption, while building and capitalizing off of your own.

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