Thursday, March 31, 2016

Black Economic & Entrepreneurship Development Conference & Expo

Friday, March 11, 2016

How African-American Religious Organizations Can Apply PowerNomics® Principles

African Americans are truly a faithful and spiritual people, and many consider The Black Church to be an invaluable resource for African Americans. In fact, Black churches are not only places of worship for Black people, but also learning centers and places where food, shelter, job training, moral support, and critical knowledge can be obtained. Therefore, what better place to learn how to apply Claud Anderson's PowerNomics® Principles, which will ultimately help African-Americans to learn and understand the importance of pooling their resources together to  grow and sustain stronger and more unified African-American community?
We need the ongoing support of our spiritual leaders if we are going to successfully champion and implement the PowerNomics® Principles. If there is going to be specific action and change within our communities, it starts with getting our pastors and Black spiritual leaders on board now rather than later. I would recommend that you might have a discussion with your spiritual leader on what strategies can be taken to see that he instills in the congregation a culture that will readily accept the PowerNomics® principles.
As Claud Anderson suggests in his book PowerNomics®, Black churches should more readily accept and promote Black empowerment and the steps needed to obtain that power both inside and outside of their communities. Black ministers should also use the power that they have within their congregation, just as they did centuries ago to help improve the quality of life of Black people by reducing the racial, wealth and power inequality. Ultimately, one of the steps that Black churches should specifically implement is building Black alliances across religious denominations. This will  allow us to not be separated while we are trying to form one all-encompassing community.
Black churches should in effect use the new PowerNomics® paradigm to shift the traditional passive/docile indoctrination role that churches have sometimes played within the Black community in the past. PowerNomics® challenges us to think outside of the box to effect the change that we need within our community. If church leaders can work together towards common goals to implement the PowerNomics® plan, then there will be many rewards for doing so. 

Escaping the Willie Lynch Syndrome

Just who was Willie Lynch, and what effect did his cruel and extreme methods of social conditioning have on enslaved Africans more than 400 years ago and African-Americans today? In this article, I will discuss Willie Lynch's background, the methods he used to socially condition African people, and the lingering effects this conditioning continues to have on African-Americans. Following, I will offer possible solutions to overcoming the “Willie Lynch Syndrome”.
According to a copy of the Willie Lynch Letter, which is presently available on, “William “Willie” Lynch was a Caucasian slave owner who delivered a speech on the banks of the James River in 1712.” He essentially laid out a plan to systematically and psychological divide enslaved Africans using tactics of divide and conquer. He said, “Those enslaved under his doctrine would not be able to recover for at least 300 years.”
Dr. Claud Anderson, an African-American author of Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice (1994), noted in another one of his books PowerNomics® (2001) that, “the victims of this [Willie Lynch] experiment were approximately 15 million African slaves on plantations throughout the Americas between the 1700’s and 1800’s. The goal of the experiment was to gain full control of African slaves and to transform them into a fearful, dependent, and loyal labor force that would ultimately build wealth for Europeans and others invested in the Transatlantic Slave Trade business.” 
According to the Willie Lynch letter, he further advised slave owners to foster division using, “Fear, envy and distrust for control. Pit young versus old, light skinned versus dark skinned [accomplished over time through miscegenation] and most importantly, male versus female.”
As a result of this extreme conditioning”, Dr. Anderson said about the conditioning, “enslaved Africans internalized European values and had a terrifying fear of their brutal oppressors. The system eroded the notion of group self-interest and caused the African captives to abandon a code of conduct, develop self-hate, and exhibit symptoms of distrust and lack of cooperation with other oppressed Africans.”
 “The result”, according to Dr. Anderson and other empirical observations, in a little over 300 plus years since this speech and ideology implementation, “African-Americans still suffer from the lingering effects of the Willie Lynch ideology. We are [sometimes] afraid to be African-American or identify with African-American society, support other African-Americans who want to help the African-American community.” “African-Americans who were descendants of the enslaved Africans have the shortest life expectancy [of the major largest ethnic groups in the US], low self-esteem, remain divided across many categories [for example religion, culture, identity] and are non-competitive economically. Still today, [some African-Americans] remain fearful [of other Caucasians] and continue to seek their approval and rewards that come with [identifying as Caucasian] and buy into this whole concept of “African-American individualism” [instead of community] once they have made it financially.”
Our weakest African-American communities demand our compassionate attention and practical solutions, but what are those solutions? An important solution is to eliminate poor habits of mind and behaviors that are counterproductive to African-American advancement. Instead of clinging to individualistic paths to success, African Americans must realize their self-worth and support African-American communities. Further, they must set a code of conduct that is conducive to economic advancement, improve our diets, and focus on supporting our families and extended families. Once we realize that mental chains of bondage are still largely responsible for impeding African-American collective advancement, then perhaps healing can begin and solutions can reverse detrimental circumstances.

Special Note: All Dr. Claude Anderson quote references to “Black” have been changed to the word “African-American” to be consistent throughout this article. In addition the word “Caucasian” has replaced the term “White”.

Unite for Action's Review of Lee Daniels' The Butler (Movie)

After listening to the events that led up to the death of Trayvon Martin, then witnessing the torturing George Zimmerman trial go on for what seemed like indefinitely, understandably, a segment of the African-American community was opposed to seeing Lee Daniels' The Butler. I mean, who wants to see an African-American man proudly play a subservient role after that? An innocent boy dies simply because he was profiled and soon after we're presented with a movie about an infamous Black butler? Honestly, it's hard not to question whether or not the African-American community is moving forward or taking huge steps back. And aren't we all fed up with Hollywood romanticizing Black history and only focusing on the most tragic part of Black history? Quentin Tarantino's Django, starring Jamie Foxx, did a great job at making such a devastating part of Black history approachable and even entertaining, but again, the period movie features African-American slaves and the experiences of slavery serves as the backdrop to the movie. However, after much contemplation, we decided to see the movie, and were pleasantly surprised by its depth.
 In fact, The Butler is based on the life events of Eugene Allen who performed as a butler for 34 years and through 8 administrations. Most of the movie is narrated by Cecil Gaines, the character who plays Eugene Allen, as he shares the intricate details of how he "advanced" from being the son of a sharecropper, just learning how to pick cotton, to a highly-esteem butler at the White House. What's remarkable is that the movie reveals the unfolding of American history from the perspective of an African-American butler, which is not often told. As butler to 8 U.S. presidents you can imagine how much insight Allen must have gained. And interestingly enough, the movie cleverly portrays the most notable stages of Black progress from the onset of the SNCC, to the creation of the Black Panther Party, to the first Black president and how all of these events influenced decisions made in the White House.

                Ultimately, the point of the movie is to get viewers to see that there are many ways for African-Americans facing racism in America to date to make progress, and that even the most unsuspecting, and seemingly nonthreatening people, can make a difference toward this ongoing progress. Eugene Allen might have been a butler to 8 U.S. presidents, which to some pro-Blacks in his day would have been an act of extreme conformity. Today, we call it "selling out". But Allen also used his income to support his family and put his children through college. Equally important, the movie tells the story of Black love and strength of the Black Family. The movie is very inspiring and could easily serve as a much-needed reminder of just how many sacrifices were made so that future generations of African Americans could have more choices and career options.

Why Thuggish-Gangsta Hip-Hop Needs To Die

Hip-hop music has evolved over time along with certain movements. We had comical and political hip-hop of the 80’s and 90’s, conscientious hip-hop then “cool” hip-hop which eventually morphed into the problem of cool-thuggish gangsta hip-hop that is so prevalent in U.S. society today. If we are to begin to address the problems that cool-thuggish gangsta hip hop brings to the black culture, we need to address the root of the problem which is a culture striving to make it in a historically oppressive society.

In a capitalistic society, entrepreneurial endeavors thrive because of profits deriving from a target market. In this eco-system in which we live where everything is related and bound by the laws of cause and effect, there is a culture that perpetuates itself on this type of music. So our problem is not so much hip-hop but it is that the most profitable and successful types these days which seem to be the thug-gangsta hip-hop genre. It is glamorized and the children look up to these types as role models whom they try to emulate.

What we must do to address this problem
We need to make black “nerd” and conscientious hip-hop the standard of thing to which to aspire. In the 80’s and 90’s there were several hip-hop bands that rose to prominence (and some lesser known) because of their style of hip-hop. Artists such as Boogie Down Productions (BDP), X-Clan, Intelligent Hoodlum, Public Enemy, Lakim Shabazz and a slew of others who mostly advocated knowledge of self and unity to make it out of the economic rut that we are currently in.
To begin weaning ourselves of this culture so that it does not have a negative impact on the livelihoods of so many of the cool-thuggish gangsta hip-hop bands is they should look at transforming their words into a more conscientious style like both Public Enemy and BDP were successful in breaking away from cool-crime related songs in the 80’s. If the current thuggish-gangsta artists really cared about the black culture and had a love for self, they would start to rhyme and produce music about what it really takes to make it in this society and other successful groups have figured this out a long time ago.

Another thing we can collectively do is if this type of music continues to be produced then we must form a coalition to boycott or abstain from buying thuggish-gangsta hip-hop so that the record companies see that it is no longer profitable.

More positive role-models needed

While we have some positive role models in our community, blacks need to unite and do more in the overall community as leaders to make the change and progress that is needed. Imagine what type of change groups like Mobb Deep could have on black society in the United States if they started producing more black conscientious music.

Why Network Marketing Programs "Pyramid Schemes" Must Be Avoided

Few can deny the lure of a fast buck, especially in an economy as crippling as the economy we have today. Now more than ever people are seeking ways to earn extra income from jobs they never before had to consider and from suspicious businesses that promise quick cash with very little effort.  In this article, I will explain why each of us must take care to do our research and make sure that we don't  walk right into financial ruin by participating in network marketing programs, also known as "multi-level marketing" (MLM). 

Network marketing isn't a new concept. The foundation of this type of marketing is rooted in the idea of people coming together (networking) and pooling their resources to achieve predetermined goals, which is not a bad idea at all. In fact, the primary goal of every nonprofit organization is to attract and pool the resources of new donors. And the goal of our organization, United for Action (UFA), is to attract and pool the resources of new members. However, an organization's objective and its purpose is what truly reveals its motives.

From the outset, pyramid schemes are network marketing programs that are illegal. Unlike most businesses offering products and services to consumers, participants in pyramid schemes must pay to join and they profit mainly from payments made by subsequent participants. Most pyramid schemes offer compensation in the form of services, but the true intention is to get participants to convince others, as many as they can, to sign up and also participate in the program creating a hierarchy of compensation. In other words, the more people you get to enter the program, the more money the eldest members of the program earn. And the money doesn't come from consumers getting valued products or services, but mainly from people who agree to pay to join the scheme. The most attractive aspects of pyramid schemes are the promises of independent business ownership and an unlimited earning potential. But frustrated and disappointed participants soon discover that they've wasted valuable time and money in a dead-end program.

Anyone can become victims of pyramid schemes, and seemingly, the latest pyramid schemes have morphed into online businesses offering opportunities to work from home. But what makes us more susceptible to such schemes is our lack of financial literacy and education. Not enough of us know what to do with money, how to make money work for us, and where exactly to invest money. Personally, I had a colleague who quit her job at a Fortune 500 to devote her time and money to a pyramid scheme. Eventually, her “independent business”, as she would call it, disintegrated. Fortunately, she was rehired by her previous employer, but only as a consultant. Her experience proves that anyone can fall prey to these highly-enticing schemes, especially when the "network marketing program" is confidently presented by very convincing and very impressive salespersons who are veterans in the company. Next, I will briefly describe some very important differences between network marketing pyramid schemes and affiliate marketing.

Network Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing

Now let's be clear, marketing is not a devious term and not all network marketing opportunities are illegitimate.  And in a society where few of us can escape million-dollar advertisements on television, in the media, and elsewhere, it would be difficult not to see the obvious benefits of marketing and attracting new consumers on an ongoing basis. But again, focusing on the purpose of a business and how it operates is key. For example, like network marketing, affiliate marketing is performance based. Participates are rewarded for each customer or visitor brought on by the affiliate marketing. But the differences between network and affiliate marketing are clear. First, there is usually no admission charge for becoming an affiliate. In fact, participating in an affiliate programs usually involve getting rewarded by a business for referring someone to the business. Have you ever been rewarded by a business for telling a friend about a new product or service that you absolutely love? And because of your referral, your friend decided to patronize the business and use the services also? Well, you've just participated in affiliate marketing! Your referral is one of the marketing strategies the business uses to attract new business. Such marketing is often harmless and merely takes a "word-of-mouth" to work.

Please be advised, that pretty much any networking venture that you partake will take resources in the form of time and maybe even money and other resources. The key to being successful at any type of marketing takes much study time, preparation and practice to master it fully. Remember, to do your research before doing any type of marketing for any type of company. Learn about the founders, their mission and if they are an organization that truly stands for what you believe in. 

The Case for Mandatory Black History Curriculum in All US Public Schools

Knowledge of self, your history, and where you have come from is very important. It is important to know and celebrate your history and accomplishments in order to continue to progress in this society. As the saying goes, “Those who don’t know their past are doomed to repeat it”.

Besides what my mother taught me about my Black heritage growing up, I also had the luxury of learning more formal aspects of our history through books, music, one High School Black history course and more extensive black history studies while attending Howard University.
Had I not attended Howard University where our rich black history is taught more in-depth, I might have been ignorant to not only the many injustices that have occurred, but also to knowing the underlying cause of many of the issues that we typical analyze on a day-to-day basis.

In order for Blacks to progress, we need mandatory Black history curriculum taught in ALL public schools. Just like reading, math, and American history are taught and required at all levels, so should Black history. I propose that from grades one through five, we have a black history curriculum that does not sugarcoat how the enslaved were treated and the many accomplishments they made to this society in light of being enslaved. Each year should build upon previous years as not to regurgitate the same facts. There is enough rich black history and current events that impact the Black population to have unique curriculum from grades one through twelve. In high school, Black history should be mandatory all four years no matter what type of educational track the student is on.

For too long, our history has been watered down and ignored by the majority and it is time that we stood up and fought to have our history taught in all public schools so that we teach people not to be ignorant of our past and can progress.