Archive for the Money/Economics Category

Who’s Who in Black Corporate America?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America, Money/Economics with tags , , , , on June 22, 2014 by Black Man

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By William Reed

According to Forbes 2014 ranking of the world’s billionaires, Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $25 billion is the world’s richest Black person. But, Robert Louis “Bob” Johnson is an American worthy of note. Known best for launching Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1980, Johnson was America’s first Black billionaire. After selling BET to Viacom for $3 billion, the 67-year-old Johnson has etched out role model status in hotels (Marriott), auto dealerships and ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Born in Hickory, Mississippi, Bob Johnson founded BET with his wife, Sheila. After they sold BET in 2001 and divorced in 2002, both qualified billionaires. Since BET, Johnson has started the RLJ Companies, invested in an NBA team, a film company, and political causes and campaigns.

Bob Johnson spent the majority of his childhood in Freeport, Illinois and graduated from Freeport High School in 1964. He studied history at the University of Illinois and later earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Princeton University. After graduating Princeton, Johnson served as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s public affairs director. He also worked for the National Urban League and as a press secretary for Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy. Later Johnson became vice president of government relations at the National Cable and Television Association. In 1980, Johnson launched Black Entertainment Television. In 1984, he was listed in Who’s Who in Black Corporate America in 1984 and in 2007, USA Today named him one of the 25 most influential business leaders of the past quarter century.

The RLJ Companies provides strategic investments in a portfolio of companies in hotel real estate investment; private equity; financial services; asset management; automobile dealerships; sports and entertainment; and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The core assets include:

• RLJ Lodging Trust has a total of 147 properties, comprised of 145 hotels with approximately 22,500 rooms located in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
• RLJ Equity Partners, LLC was founded with The Carlyle Group and specializes in middle-market leveraged buy-outs, recapitalizations, and growth equity. RLJ Equity Partners invests in companies with enterprise values between $50M and $250M within aerospace/defense; automotive/transportation; business services; consumer/retail; general industrial and media sectors.
• RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund provides capital solutions to facilitate buyouts, recapitalizations, refinancing, and growth financings. RLJ Credit principles partner with private equity firms, investment banks, and operating executives to deliver financial and strategic resources.
• RLJ Entertainment, Inc. is a owner, developer, licensee and distributor of entertainment content and programming with over 5,300 exclusive titles.
• RLJ Financial, LLC provides lending products to consumers in need of short term and emergency borrowing.
• Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) specializes in employee retirement transition (job changer) services.
• RLJ Fixed Income, LLC specializes in income investment opportunities within the government, corporate, federal agency, and municipal bond markets.
• RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive Holdings, LLC consists of 35 automotive franchises and three Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships in eight states. RLJ-McLarty-Landers is the largest African American owned automotive franchise in the country.
• Bobcats Sports & Entertainment is comprised of the franchise and arena operations, of a professional basketball team of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Bobcats debuted in 2004 and is part of the Southeast Division of the NBA’s Eastern Conference and play home games at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena. In 2010, Johnson sold majority ownership to Michael Jordan and MJ Basketball Holdings, LLC, but Johnson still serves as the Bobcats’ governor to the NBA.
• Caribbean CAGE, LLC is a route-installed gaming company headquartered in Puerto Rico that focuses on the installation, operation and management of video lottery terminals (VLTs), linked gaming systems and game content throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
• Our Stories Films, LLC is a production studio that produces theatrical motion pictures.
• The RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas is a 78-room villa style hotel located on 13-acres of ocean front property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean outside of Monrovia, Liberia. The property opened in 2009.The four-star luxury resort is the first of its kind in Liberia and one of the first in West Africa.

William Reed William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org.

Michael Jordan Officially A Billionaire — Floyd Mayweather Top Earner In Sports

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics with tags , , on June 12, 2014 by Black Man

Michael Jordan

By Black Men In America.com Staff

According to Forbes magazine, Michael Jordan is a billionaire.  Sources familiar with the Charlotte Hornets report that Jordan has increased his stake in his basketball team to 89.5% from 80% during the past several months.

Jordan became the controlling owner in the Hornets in 2010 when he bought out then owner Robert Johnson for $175 million.  The Hornets are reportedly worth between $600 million and $625 million.

Forbes estimates Jordan’s net worth in the neighborhood of $600 million.  The Hornets have $135 million of debt, which makes Jordan’s equity in the team worth $416 million.  After subtracting all the cash Jordan has invested in the team, sources at Forbes magazine estimate Jordan’s net worth outside of the Hornets to be $600 million, giving him a net worth of a $1 billion dollars.

Floyd Mayweather

In other athlete news, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. banked at least $25 million for each of his past nine bouts going back to 2007 when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya in the most watched fight in the history of boxing pay-per-view events.  Mayweather has earned almost $400 million since turning pro in 1996.

Mayweather earned $105 million during the past 12 months for 72 minutes of work in the ring for fights against Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana putting him at the top of Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the second time in three years.

Photo Credit:  Michael Jordan (cbssports.com), Floyd Mayweather (Sports Illustrated.com)

Year In Review: How Do Black People Spend Their Money?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Money/Economics, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2013 by Black Man

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Originally posted on November 5, 2010.  Updated December 27, 2013.

As we look at the year in review, the most popular article posted on this website/blog was an article detailing how black people spend their money.  The article was “How Do Black People in America Spend $507 Billion Dollars Annually?”

This article has been the most read and commented article for 3 years running.  Once I learned that this was the most popular and discussed article on the website, two questions immediately came to my mind:

  1. What does that say about the topic in terms of being relevant to our site visitors?
  2. Has anything changed?

This has been a hotly debated topic not only on this site, but in our office, at social events and in beauty and barber shops across America.

We’ve updated our original article with some information from an article written in September 2013, by Stacy M. Brown posted on the Washington Informer.com website titled, “Big Spenders, Small Investors:  Blacks Have Little to Show for Hard-Earned Dollars.”  In that article, Ms. Brown writes, “If black America counted as an independent country, its wealth would rank 11th in the world.  However, African Americans continue to squander their vast spending power, relegating blacks to economic slavery instead of financial freedom, according to several consumer reports detailing the use of cash in the black community.”

If history is any indication of future behavior, this updated article will be hotly debated in 2014.  Let’s hope that we can make some progress in this area and close the wealth gap.

Happy New Year!

Gary Johnson, Founder & Publisher – Black Men In America.com

Other highlights from Big Spenders, Small Investors:  Blacks Have Little to Show for Hard-Earned Dollars” include the following:

  • African Americans consistently outpace the total market population in overall growth, smart phone ownership, television viewing and annual shopping trips according to the new study, “Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report,” a collaborative effort by the Nielsen Company in New York and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), located in Northwest Washington, D.C.
  • Black buying power continues to increase, rising from its current $1 trillion level to a forecasted $1.3 trillion by 2017.
  • Despite the strong economic outlook, blacks continue to spend most of their money outside of the African-American community and, according to Nielsen and NNPA, advertisers have repeatedly slighted the black media, spending only three percent, or $2.24 billion, of the $75 billion spent with all media last year.
  • Each year, African Americans spend more than $47 billion on Lincoln automobiles, $3.7 billion on alcohol, $2.5 billion on Toyotas, $2 billion on athletic shoes, and $600 million each year on McDonald’s and other fast foods, according to Target Market News Inc., a Chicago-based marketing research group.
  • Blacks also spend wildly to keep up their appearances.  The black hair care and cosmetics industry counts as a $9 billion a year business, but while African Americans are spending the most, they are profiting the least, said officials from the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association (BOBSA) in Palo Alto, Calif.  Beauty product lines designed for African Americans were once 100 percent owned and operated by blacks, today other ethnic groups control more than 70 percent of the market.
  • The current home-ownership rate reveals that 73.5 percent of whites own homes while approximately 43.9 percent of African Americans are homeowners, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies State of the Nation report for 2013.
  • Sixty percent of African Americans have less than $50,000 saved in company retirement plans and only 23 percent have more than $100,000.

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The loyalty blacks have to their church also has proven costly, said officials at Faith Communities Today, a nonprofit based in Hartford, Conn.  A 2013 study revealed that black churches have collected more than $420 billion in tithes and donations nationwide since 1980, an average of $252 million a week.

Black Churches2

“What people fail to see and understand is that, the church pastors aren’t waiting for miracles to fund their lifestyles, they don’t have to pray, day in and day out, to make their ends meet,” said Northwest resident and author, Byron Woulard.  They are getting rich off God, not from God,” he said. Woulard, whose books include, the 2011, “Pawn Queen,” noted that the money spent tithing could buy as many as 93,333 homes valued at $150,000; pay for tuition up to $15,000 a year for 933,333 college students, and feed every homeless American for a year.  “It’s the best hustle on the planet. If you don’t get it here on earth, you’ll get it when you die and go to heaven,” Woulard said. “And, it just so happens that not one person in the history of this planet has died, went to heaven, and come back to tell everyone that it’s true.”

Stacy M. Brown Stacy M. Brown’s article posted on the Washington Informer.com website concludes with what is described as an inescapable fact:    When black folks make money, they are quick to spend it!

According to Dr. Boyce Watkins, a Scholar in Residence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Syracuse University in New York, also known as “the people’s scholar,” “We don’t use money to invest or produce,” said Watkins, 42.” When we get our tax refund, we go straight to the store.”

Tricked-Out-with-30-Inch-76-2-Cm-Wheels

The 17th annual report on “The Buying Power of Black America” also includes a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of the Black economy.

Copies of “The Buying Power of Black America” can be purchased from Target Market News for $99.00  for the hard copy version and $65.00 for the digital version.  For more information call 312-408-1881, or click here to purchase online.

Below is our original article posted in November 2010.  Have their been any improvements?  You be the judge.

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“How Do Black People in America Spend $507 Billion Dollars Annually?”

With $836 Billion in Total Earning Power, only $321 Million Spent on Books while $7.4 Billion Spent on Hair and Personal Care Products and Services

New ‘Buying Power’ report shows black consumers spend as economy improves

New 16th edition shows expenditures rise to $507 billion

(November 1, 2010) African-American consumers are cautiously increasing their spending in some key product categories, even as they continue to make adjustments in a slowly growing economy. The finding comes from the soon to be issued 16th annual edition of “The Buying Power of Black America” report.

In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. That’s an increase of 16.6% over the $435 billion spent in 2008. African-Americans’ total earned income for 2009 is estimated at $836 billion.

The report, which is published annually by Target Market News, also contains data that reflect the economic hardships all consumers are facing. There were significant declines in categories — like food and apparel — that have routinely shown growth in black consumers’ spending from year-to-year.

“These latest shifts in spending habits are vital for marketers to understand,” said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News and editor of the report, “because they represent both opportunities and challenges in the competition for the billions of dollars spent by African-American households. Expenditures between 2007 and 2008 were statistically flat, so black consumers are now making purchases they have long delayed.  At the same time, they re-prioritizing their budgets, and spending more on things that add value to their homes and add to the quality of life.”

The median household income for African-Americans dropped by 1.4% in 2009, but because of students going out on their own, and couples that started their lives together, the number of black households grew 4.2%. This increase meant that many household items showed big gains. For example, purchases of appliances rose by 33%, consumer electronics increased 33%, household furnishings climbed 28%, and housewares went up by 37%.

Estimated Expenditures by Black Households – 2009

Apparel Products and Services $29.3 billion
Appliances 2.0 billion
Beverages (Alcoholic) 3.0 billion
Beverages (Non-Alcoholic) 2.8 billion
Books 321 million
Cars and Trucks – New & Used 29.1 billion
Computers 3.6 billion
Consumer Electronics 6.1 billion
Contributions 17.3 billion
Education 7.5 billion
Entertainment and Leisure 3.1 billion
Food 65.2 billion
Gifts 9.6 billion
Health Care 23.6 billion
Households Furnishings & Equipment 16.5 billion
Housewares 1.1 billion
Housing and Related Charges 203.8 billion
Insurance 21.3 billion
Media 8.8 billion
Miscellaneous 8.3 billion
Personal and Professional Services 4.1 billion
Personal Care Products and Services 7.4 billion
Sports and Recreational Equipment 995 million
Telephone Services 18.6 billion
Tobacco Products 3.3 billion
Toys, Games and Pets 3.5 billion
Travel, Transportation and Lodging 6.0 billion

Source: Target Market News,

“The Buying Power of Black American – 2010″

“The Buying Power of Black America” is one of the nation’s most quoted sources of information on African-American consumer spending. It is used by hundreds of Fortune 1000 corporations, leading advertising agencies, major media companies and research firms.

The report is an analysis of consumer expenditure (CE) data compiled annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The CE data is compiled from more than 3,000 black households nationally through dairies and interviews. This information is also used for, among things, computing the Consumer Price Index.

The report provides updated information in five sections:

- Black Income Data
– Purchases in the Top 30 Black Cities
– Expenditure Trends in 26 Product & Services Categories
– The 100-Plus Index of Black vs. White Expenditures
– Demographic Data on the Black Population

Click here to read comments in response to the original article.

Tavis Smiley: Black People Are Not Better Off Under Obama

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on October 16, 2013 by Black Man

TavisSmiley

By Black Men In America.com Staff Writer

Last week Tavis Smiley, who seems to show up more frequently on the FOX News Channel appeared on the Sean Hannity Show.  While discussing the government shutdown the conversation shifted near the end of the interview.

Host Hannity“Are black Americans better off five years into the Obama presidency?”

Smiley“Let me answer your question very forthrightly: No, they are not,” Smiley said. “The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category.”

Smiley:  “On that regard,” he added, “the president ought to be held responsible.”

Smiley:  “I respect the president. I will protect the president. And I will correct the president. He’s right on this government shutdown. Republicans are thwarting the rule of law with the Constitution. If they let this debt go into default, they’re trampling again on the Constitution.”

You can click here to watch the entire interview Of course, not everyone agrees with Tavis.  James E. Causey, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Tavis is wrong. Causey writes:  “Things are bad, but blacks are better off than we were before Obama took office.  Click here to read Mr. Causey’s article.
What do you think?

Reasons an Emerging Black Middle Class Can Fail

Posted in African Americans, Black Men, Guest Columnists, Money/Economics with tags on August 25, 2013 by Black Man

Thomas Duffy

By Thomas Duffy

The strange and tranquil response about the so-called one percent controlling all the wealth, which seemed to have tried to take hold of how politics are played also, should have brought the worst out in most people. But I realize there’s a segment of the white social structure that’s more distinct by middle class status and locale that seem not to care, so they usually help to give rise to those types. Their ignorance is the failure to understand there are usually no rewards for compliance. Regardless if it’s done because of race, [which I believe is more likely] or any other underline reason, it always affect people who need some support and even when their people end up on the short end of the stick, their justification is to fight against big government. Strange but few are careful to not totally agree to change what some believe are entitlements, primarily because it sounds like it would be their Social Security and Medicare. Adding to this is the rhetoric of politicians that some believe gives it more credence, yet few would believe the alter interest for these politicians, could take them back to more difficult times also. Of course it shouldn’t be surprising why they’re supportive to dump what they have adapted to be Obama-care, but again few would believe it would have any effect on them or their people. Furthermore to their ignorance, they fail to understand all politicians have government jobs, besides some of these same guys who really care more about the one percent, receive federal money from the government they said they despise, to not grow crops on farms they purchased just for that purpose. So maybe their hardships should get little government help if and when tragedies occur, because “fools are as fools do.”

For the first time in many years blacks were involved in something as a group without conflict, and that was helping to elect this president, I say helping because others voted for him also. The exhilaration and tears of happiness leading up to when we believed our chance had finally come, only festered in the demeanor of political diehard’s who lost their vision of how they would restore old traditions back to their favor. Only the most depressing for them suddenly became a gift, with the midterm elections being the catalysts.

So surprisingly their first step took little effort, because it was the old tradition of some of us not showing up to vote on important matters that gave it a push. Although there were political watchdogs, keeping an eye and ear on things, they still didn’t detect what was really taking place early on. The sudden negative rhetoric in town hall meetings and street rally’s from a new formed group took us away from discovery, so more of us concentrated on what seemed to have always pushed our buttons, [taunts of bigotry]. We grumbled with anger, disgusted about the way it was disrespecting the new president. But those who needed someone to blame, pointed the finger at that new group [tea party], with some belief it could change its frequency. But it only allowed it to spring up from everywhere, which helped to produce the distorted claims from white politicians in many states about alleged voting frauds, that was really a cover up towards changing voter’s rights.

Anyway, I believe the ability to rise to the equivalent of our antagonist is to only recognize reality as a motivator, not probability, which should warn the naive to limit any belief that they’re [really free] to do whatever they choose if they work hard and follow the rules.

We may feel proud of the few that have jumped the broom so to speak, but since it’s a small number compared to time and population growth giving that notion some validation, it has in no way completely turned things around for us. Remember, institutional bias and limited opportunity, still cause many of us to end up on the short list. Furthermore most of us have seen over the years if we do anything that’s positive, but to them is threatening, it’s referred to a certain group of white guys with the [supreme power] to change the rules. Oddly enough the push towards complicating our lives more than it is already, started to emerge in certain parts of the country soon after these same guys rulings on voting rights.

Looking at something as serious, or what I call a different brand of black person, they with little forethought showed they had become our weakest link. They are individuals who said things weren’t as bad as the rest of us knew it was. They are individuals who defend the status-quo regardless how it affects them. The surprising side of their character fails to accept that the Constitution, Bill of Rights as other earlier national documents written by white men, has never included them. But the real hard-sell is convincing them, the self-style founding fathers of this country weren’t African. So when they speak about them, it should be “those founding fathers”, “not our founding fathers” as some often declare.

Maybe this seems petty to some, but when whites who know the truth hears this, they feel we are less threatening, because we’ll say and do anything to be included. Yes it may not matter to most whites, but there’s still enough of a chunk of white males out there, to keep a mental note, to use it in their commentary.

Anyway, if I were a deeply religious person, I could say what has kept the black middle class from being an independently sound group, is nothing more than karma, just by showing the area where I worked, the institutions, agencies and positions of many in those settings, who misinformed, mistreated and lacked showing a genuine concern for their people. The success of a growing black middle class should be measured not only by their efforts, but the positive changes of the poor and elder blacks which seems to remain stagnant. Even with multitudes of success under duress, these deficiencies are a portion of what has helped to keep the vision of us still shuffling aimlessly around to be saved by a charitable federal government.

Changing the focused on this for a moment, to reveal how employees of certain banks have recently declared to have chosen to lower their integrity by lying to customers about loans. This information could lessen blacks input, but since there are other self-inflicted reasons, they must take a portion of the blame, since it was they who seem to take their usefulness for granted; believing anything that would happen in favor of whites [who many often focused their lives on] would also include them.

On the other side of the coin, the decline of what we know to be the more notable black middle class may not have resulted from most of the same circumstances, but it was destined because of ignorance, poor perception regarding risks, where most were too conciliatory with financial choices that were self-indulging and wasteful.

But as serious and perhaps more provocative were politics and social viewpoints coming from middle class whites that were usually contrary or bias for any chance of unification for support, because there’s no true diversified middle class. This is where the success of a definitive middle class faces a quandary, since these measures have hampered any chance to build an essential grouping to address more than circumstances relating to labor. When I listen to the president talking about restoring the middle class, I usually believe it would be fragmented, because it would probably elevate whites as blacks remain stagnant.

Why is this important? When proceedings of various factions within the black middle class who’s in a position and savvy enough to address some of the problems thrust upon the most vulnerable, probing and often critical white observers usually claim some need of assistance will be affixed, that will outweigh their ability to tackle the matter for positive results. Of course it’s stereotypical in content, but it has become the way so-called white social pundits write books and downplay our abilities regardless of status to do most things without first pointing the finger at the establishment as a lead in to ask or expect a handout. Remember regardless of the intelligence or real political agenda of this president, or what he has done to improve the condition and lives of whites also, he’s still labeled the food stamp president by some.

But I will end this with another social impediment; they are blacks [mostly men] who help add more negatives to the most critical of whites who are determined to keep us from settling into a life of normality because of their narcissistic pointless rhetoric. I’ve read articles and heard commentary from them who’s suppose to be educated, who should keep silent. They know the difficulty this president has been going through, yet they have even lashed out to the point of personal resentment, because they somehow felt it’s his responsibility to extend himself primarily to blacks to help improve their lives. Ironically their public display of showmanship is often a disgrace because they are really individuals who wanted to be deemed important as others who have shown their only real effort to help things to get better for blacks, are in their complaints.

The Fall Of Detroit: A Story Told In Pictures and Words

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Money/Economics, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by Black Man

detroit-carries-sign-2012.si

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com (July 27, 2013)

The city of filed for bankruptcy last week.  The Motor City is reportedly $18.5 billion dollars in debt.  This is the the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.  Looking back it was pretty clear that the city was mismanaged for decades and that led to a steady population drop over the years and a staggering loss of tax revenue.  I’m not an economist, but I don’t think you need to be one to know that there will be staggering aftershocks as a result of this filing.

Detroit is not alone.  They just got here first.  The Wall Street Journal recently cited Oakland, Philadelphia and Chicago as other big cities with the potential to follow Detroit’s lead and file bankruptcy.

How did this happen?  I don’t have enough time or space to tell you, but the keyword here is “decline.”  Here are the highlights.

  • In 1960, the richest per capita city in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was Detroit.
  • Sixty percent (60%) of all of Detroit’s children are living in poverty.
  • Fifty percent of the population has been reported to be functionally illiterate.
  • Thirty-three percent (33%) of Detroit’s 140 square miles is vacant or derelict.
  • Eighteen percent (18%) of the population is unemployed.
  • And 10.6% of Detroit’s 713,777 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, considered themselves white.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Detroit had five decades of fiscal mismanagement, corruption and cronyism.

From all of my research I would say that the main reason for Detroit’s economic problems was the loss of jobs.  According to the U.S. 2010 Census data, Michigan lost 48% of all its manufacturing jobs from 2000-2010 with Detroit being impacted the hardest.  This led to massive “white flight” and exits by rich folks (including Blacks) and others people of means leaving the city with a shrinking tax base.  In other words, those who could afford to leave for greater opportunity elsewhere did just that leaving the city with a poorly qualified workforce and few job opportunities.

Given the economic environment around the country and the world, I hope and pray that a solution can be found to stop this economic decline and that we don’t see a spread of bankruptcies in other major U.S cities.   As I read through pages of Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and newspapers and economic journals and articles, I felt compelled to tell this story in pictures and song for people who don’t have the time to do research and get the facts.  Click on the video to view.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

To learn more about Gary click here.

Business Exchange: End the War on Drugs Now

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Money/Economics, Politics with tags , , , , on May 30, 2013 by Black Man

War On Drugs Poster

By William Reed

There is no easy way or walk to freedom; no shortcuts to justice; no quick fix for conceiving and constructing the good and sustainable society and world we all want and deserve. Indeed, to achieve the good we all want in the world, we must work and struggle long and hard. We must be in it for real, for the good, and for the long. – Dr. Maulana Karenga

It’s time for each and every Black American to take action by tweeting about, shouting about, and phoning and faxing about the challenge that has been issued by Elder Ron Daniels. Daniels is head of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and has launched an online petition campaign to recruit an “Army of Advocates and Organizers” to end the War on Drugs (www.ibw21.org).

First, to honor Daniels and his living legacy of activism and progressive politics, it’s time Blacks collectively heeded his call to “End the War on Drugs.” Secondly, show our ire that the War on Drugs has been proven to be a racially biased “war on us” that has disproportionately targeted African Americans.

There are entrenched forces that have a vested interest in policies that have produced mass incarceration of African Americans and spawned the prison-jail industrial complex. To combat the injustice of the system and War on Drugs, it’s time Blacks take a principled stand that confronts the reality of the racial dimensions of crime and punishment in America. Racial bias in America´s criminal justice system is a fact of life, to which Daniels recommends “something akin to Martin Luther King´s ‘coalition of conscience’”… to persuade a majority of Americans to press for reforms to rectify the wrongs of the War on Drugs and decades of blatant neglect that have wreaked havoc on so many communities and ruined the lives of millions of Black families.

If each of us “took it personal” we’d push Daniels’ agenda to “End the War on Drugs.”  If we collectively show concern, we can overcome the media’s silence and lack of concern policymakers have shown toward addressing this devastating crisis. If not us, who?  Efforts by known civil rights/human rights leaders to dismantle the War on Drugs have been episodic and largely ineffective.  But, Daniels’ voice has been constant that “Black leaders, activists and organizers must not equivocate while millions of our sisters and brothers suffer in urban inner-city neighborhoods across this country.” It is imperative that we raise our voices and mobilize/organize to transform the conditions of millions of our Black brothers, sisters and family kin languishing in “America’s system of justice.”  It’s “just us” and to effectively address the “State of Emergency in Black America,” we all must put our collective weight toward confronting and combating the War on Drugs.

War on Drugs Obama

Call somebody now, and tell them “to take action to end the War on Drugs.”  Tell them to tell somebody else to “end this despicable war on us.”  The “War on Drugs” costs about $40 billion per year and its national price tag has totaled over $1 trillion. It has resulted in one of Washington’s largest bureaucracies, the Drug Enforcement Administration, with over 10,000 employees, 226 offices in 21 divisions throughout the U.S., and 86 foreign offices in 62 countries.

Our best hope rest with Blacks ready and able to challenge and change the terrible policies and practices the War on Drugs has wrought. It’s time to sign up for Daniels’ army. Sign up online (www.ibw21.org), in addition to initiating a call, visit your local lawmaker. Let’s follow Daniels’ lead when he says: “There’s a State of Emergency in Black America and each of us must step up.” Make it a point to tell people you know to contact their respective lawmakers and policy-influencers and say: “It’s time to end the War on Drugs.”  Black Americans, and their leaders, must all move toward individually, and collectively, raising our voices and mobilizing/organizing to better our lives and communities.

William Reed William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org

Who’s The Greatest?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists, Money/Economics with tags , , on May 13, 2013 by Black Man

William Reed

By William Reed

The sequester is but a bump on the road to America’s real ruin. For those who don’t know, the U.S. is no longer “the greatest nation.” Nor does it even make the list of the 10 most prosperous countries in the world.

Whether Black or White, middle to upper class, urban, rural or suburban, most Americans operate under the assumption that the U.S. still ranks as No. 1 in the world.  Yes, the U.S. remains the world’s largest economy, and we have the largest military by far, the most dynamic technology companies and a highly entrepreneurial climate.

However, Blacks who still preen at the thought of Obama being the “commander in chief” are going to have a “rude awakening” when it’s all over. A sobering 2012 index analyzed 142 countries in eight categories: economy, education, entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety & security and social capital. The index shows that the U.S. is no longer “the top dog” rather, 12th in prosperity; 3rd in oil production; 7th in literacy; 27th in math; 22nd in science; 49th in life expectancy; 178th in infant mortality; 3rd in median household income; 4th in exports and 39th in income inequality.

The first step in solving any problem is to recognize there is one. As we move toward the future, it’s important that we note that the decisions that created today’s growth – decisions about education, infrastructure and the like – were made decades ago. What we see today is an American economy that has boomed because of policies and developments of the 1950s and ’60s: the interstate-highway system, massive funding for science and technology, a public-education system that was once the envy of the world and generous immigration policies.

The economic bottom is falling out while the Black middle class waddles down “discount aisles at Walmart.” We are the group at the highest risk of economic downturns, but over the past 50 years, Blacks have bought into a mindset of dependency. Ninety-three percent of Black Americans recently voted for a continuation of that dependency on government for handouts from food stamps to welfare. Democratic leadership has caused Blacks to collectively accept the fact that America has become a debtor nation.

Suck it up. Let’s acknowledge that the big government agenda the Democrats have pursued over past years has stunted economic growth and led to staggering levels of wealth decline among Blacks. Cartoon character Pogo provides great insight: “We’ve met the enemy and they is us.” Our plight today is based on our past practices to “go along to get along.”

Much of America’s forward growth depends on the results of the 2014 congressional elections and 2016 presidential campaign. What kind of decisions will the masses of Blacks make about being open to the messages of Republicans?  In his book, America the Beautiful, fiscally and socially conservative figure, Dr. Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, Sr., an African-American neurosurgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pushed himself into the forefront of the public’s attention. In his book, Carson provides new perspectives on our educational system, capitalism versus socialism and our moral fabric, to which people should be attentive.  America the Beautiful is an incisive manifesto of the values that shaped America’s past and must shape her future, the book calls upon us all to use our God-given talents to lead and improve our lives, communities, nation, and our world.

America can be great again. Good leadership is what we need. All that’s required is leadership that will fight for moral values, stand up for what is right, and strike down the wrong laws for the right reasons. Maybe it’s “mainstream” Blacks have adopted that cause them to accept leadership that has followed the same path of profligate spending and reckless disregard of the long-term economic drain for short-term economic gains.  We have opted for mediocrity and self-indulgence and we have reaped the harvest that we have sown.

We become great again by becoming an informed and educated electorate, making the right decisions to go forward.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org.

NBA Hall of Famer Turned School Crossing Guard: It’s Not About The Money, It’s About The Kids

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America, Money/Economics with tags , , , on March 23, 2013 by Black Man

Adrian Dantley

By Black Men In America.com Staff

Washington, D.C. native and NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is one smart dude, who’s probably a bit cheap.  Since last fall, Dantley has apparently been working as a crossing guard in Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  In his new position, Dantley earns approximately $15,000 per year including a benefit package with health insurance.  NBA veterans aren’t provided health insurance.  According to reports, the 58-year old Dantley is not broke.  Say what?  A retired NBA player who still has his money?  Dantley is reportedly financially secure, likes working with children and does not want to sit around the house all day.

Dantley recently told CNN that he forked over $17,000 for health insurance coverage last year, which is more than his crossing guard salary, but health insurance comes with the job.

More power to A. D. for being a role model and keeping our kids safe.

NAACP’s Ben Jealous Says Black Americans Doing Far Worse Under The Obama Administration

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Money/Economics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , on February 12, 2013 by Black Man

Ben Jealous 2

February 10, 2012

In a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” NAACP CEO and President, Ben Jealous, told the show’s host that black Americans are doing far worse than when President Obama first took office. The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Jealous told show host David Gregory. “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.”

Statistics show that the African-American community is in bad shape under the Obama Administration.  The Labor Department reports that the black unemployment rate was at 12.7 percent when Pres. Obama initially took office. As the employment rate for the nation dropped below 8 percent, black unemployment increased to 12.9 percent and then to 14 percent for December.

Commentators such as Yvette Carnell, Dr. Wilmer Leon and Dr. Boyce Watkins at Your Black World have consistently stated that the president’s performance in the black community should be judged based on the quality of his results, not the color of his skin.  Also, Dr. Julianne Malveaux recently wrote that the Obama Administration needs to speak out more about existing racial disparities and persistent problems in black unemployment.

You can read the entire article courtesy of our friends at Your Black WorldClick here to go there now.

What do you think?

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