As a generation that thrives on the lyrics of hip hop and the blingalistic mentality penned by the most financial illiterate of rappers and substance less rap music, slowly, we have evolved from conscious minded to money minded individuals. We would like to pretend that we haven’t changed along with our music, but as each generation rises and matures in age, it’s more evident with the recent surge of aspiring rappers and aspiring big booty models, that our value of education and financial shrewdness has declined at the highest of levels. Black men make up less than 30% of college graduates, yet the majority of the black men that you run across are aspiring to the be the next Lil’ Wayne when they should be aspiring to be the next Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.
Sisters may make up the bulk of African American college graduates, but the majority are still attempting to keep up with the Kardashians, when they should be keeping up with Wall Street. We’re obsessing on designer labels we can’t even afford while forsaking to invest a large portion of our salaries, refusing to set up retirement funds since social security is on its death bed, and failing to prepare for our children’s education. But instead, many fabulous sisters will splurge on Louboutins and LV logos that lose value each day worn. It’s as if designer labels and poorly constructed jewelry is more important than a stable future.
Why are we living as if we can afford to floss when we are the descendant of slaves who were not in the position to leave anything behind to future generations besides tattered photos and sacred family memories?
We may not be picking cotton in the fields of the south, but we’re still slaves, and unable to become the master of our own fates, with debt serving as our modern day shackles.
We have been placed in a position that our ancestors would have died to be in, able to step into lucrative careers, get the best in education, and provide our children with an education that was meant to keep them from struggling; yet we opt to show off with expensive cars that equate to four years of college tuition, while forcing our children to become dependent on the unregulated and criminally administered Sally Mae, all because we saw more value in luxurious cars than a college education that could have been paid for.
No shade, but when the hell are we as a people going to wake up?
Does anyone realize that most of these “rich” rappers will end up broke before the end of their lifetime because they never learned how to invest their money? Is this who we should emulate?
Are we going to stop buying clothes before we pay our bills?
Will we ever see the importance of financial literacy and investing in the stock market?
Is anybody willing to start their own retirement fund since social security is on it’s way to non-existence?
And sisters, will we as the amazing black women we are, stop allowing ourselves to date and fall in love with men who see money as a means to spend before a means to invest? He may stay fresh, have a nice car, and looked well groomed; but I’d rather build a future with the man that actually bought a car he could afford and pay off quickly, and is committed to saving for his children’s children than the idiot that feels he has something to prove to strangers by showing off things he couldn’t even afford.
People don’t want to admit that this new fascination with balling and Rick Rossin’ has little to do with the commercialization of Hip Hop, but for most of us, it’s impossible to not become the images you see and hear that frequent the sound waves of hip hop.
The moment we became barbies and Kim Kardashians, the less we began to understand money, and the more we wanted to waste.
And the second our black men started pursuing rap careers verses college degrees and stock market strategies, they have evolved into flashy, broke brothers who will spend their money faster than they can possibly make it.
This behavior can’t be good for the black community, but it’s even worse for our children.
I didn’t write this to ruffle feathers, I wrote this because the moment I realized that my student loans would become a thorn in my ass for the next decade unless I become a millionaire by some unforeseen stroke of luck and God’s amazing grace, I realized that I cannot and will not put my own children through the same tribulations. But it hurts more to see college educated sisters with high IQs and fancy shoes spend more on their clothes than their own futures. What’s even worst is that they could possibly marry an equally financially illiterate black man who knows little to nothing about investing, and these two would have children some day, who would inherit lots of debt because they have parents who never took the time to learn how to make money work for them, and become the master of their financial lives.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel…but only for those who are tired of being in the dark.
The good news for you is that you could be the one to lift the curse from the generations before you. And for once, little black children will have something left from the generations before, and no longer be in debt for college educations that were meant prevent a life of struggle…that only led to the ultimate struggle.
Designer labels sound nice, look nice, and may even feel nice when worn; but trust me when I say it’s better to be no one’s slave, no one’s bitch, but a generous parent who’s able to keep her child free from the clutches of shady loan practices and credit card bullies.
Learn what it means to invest, understand the dynamics of the stock market, save more than you spend, invest a decent amount of your income, and purchase things that you can truly afford; and your child will see you do these smart things, and family by family, we can build stronger communities based off financial intelligence alone.
But you have to be the one that wants better, so leave the bling to the fools.
You’ve got a future to invest in.