There was a point in time when you went to school and you were taught things to use in your everyday life. Cooking. Sewing. Building. Now, kids are being taught to engage in things that I can’t understand… nor can I foresee how it will help them as they get older and start their careers. Or even their own Black-owned businesses. I guess I can see how the times have changed and with that, so will the careers available. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that those very things they took away from us are still being done and used in this day and age.
Husbands and wives are still cooking. There are still tailors and seamstresses. There are still construction workers and architects. Now, there are fancy names attached to some of those that require college degrees and humongous debt that goes with it. And, sometimes, even a degree doesn’t guarantee a job so now we’re screwed because we have a degree, no job, AND debt up the a**.
I’m all about creating business plans, manifesting dreams, attaining goals, starting businesses. Those are the types of things that should be taught in lieu of the life skills they snatched out of schools. Why not show a child how to write a business plan? Give them the opportunity to live out their dream and manifest their destiny. After all, the children are our future, right? Whitney Houston said it best.
Although history often has a way of repeating itself, there’s nothing wrong with writing your own history either. Working in a public school system, oftentimes, I see a lot of children who are so talented–and I’m talking about more than just singing, dancing, rapping or playing sports. There are artists, motivational speakers, entrepreneurs and more. Why not show them how to take that to the next step? That’s why, in my school, I came up with a way to do that.
Creating my B.O.S.S. Workshop, I’ve given children an opportunity to become that entrepreneur. B.O.S.S. stands for Built On Self Success. If you want to be successful, you got to have the drive, ambition, dedication, and determination to go out there and get it. I was genuinely surprised to find out how many kids actually wanted to start their own businesses and needed guidance to do that. It’s a twelve-week program that takes them step-by-step through the process of writing a business plan, creating a customer base, marketing, using social media properly, what your logo says about you, and they even get to interact with eight local businesswomen. At the end of the program, the principal (she’s so great!) has agreed to let the children put on their own business fair to sell their products to their peers.
Working together with the staff at my school, slowly but surely, we’re making these kids’ dreams a reality. The goal is to build them up so much that they don’t let anything get in the way of breaking them down. We’re creating long-lasting relationships and mentorships so that these babies can be super successful by the time they graduate from high school. So that they, too, can see that they’re very capable of running a Black-owned company one day.
Just because our neighborhood is deemed low-income, it doesn’t mean that the children in my school have to become products of their environment. As I said before, in a previous article, we’re more than just a hashtag and saying our name on social media only to be known AFTER we’ve passed away. Get to know these babies NOW before life has a chance to subject them to horrible conditions or situations that some of them may have to endure.
History does come back around though. It happens in fashion. It happens in music. It happens with actors. It happens with love. It literally happens with EVERYTHING! So, why not make it happen again with businesses created by us and for us? Do you remember Black Wall Street? Quick history lesson. Black Wall Street was in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma founded in 1906. O.W. Gurley is credited for having the first black-owned business in Greenwood. He had the vision to create something for Black people and by Black people. There were luxury shops, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, jewelry and clothing stores, a library, movie theaters. The list goes on and on.
In 1919, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan brought fear of racial violence and lynchings when anti-black riots started to erupt in major cities across the US, including Tulsa. In 1921, after a nineteen-year-old young, Black man was accused of sexual assault on a seventeen-year-old young, White girl, a race riot broke out. Mobs of armed and angry White men stormed Greenwood looting homes, burning down businesses and shooting Blacks dead on the spot. With millions in property damage, some assistance was given to the rebuilding of Greenwood, but it was never the same.
I’m not saying we have to create another Black Wall Street. What I am saying is that we should help our babies create an environment for them, by them. And it starts now. We continually give our money to other races so freely when they move into our neighborhoods, so why not give it to our own? We have nail shops, clothing stores, restaurants, and more, all owned by outside entities that don’t have a vested future in us. Why should we continue to make them rich while we remain stagnant? Not anymore. Black-owned businesses are just as important.
I’m helping future boutique owners, hair stylists, clothing designers, nail techs, and a few others. Manifesting destinies, mentoring future business owners, and creating legacies they can leave to their own children. That’s what it’s all about. Turning a dream into a legacy.
What about you?
Drop some of your favorite Black-owned businesses in the comments below!
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