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).
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.
Too often I encounter people of all races, including native Africans and African-Americans, with very limited knowledge about Africa and very negative perceptions of African-Americans. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who instilled in me the value of Black History. I learned about many Black inventors, pioneers, historians, scientists, and all of their invaluable contributions to American society. Later, I had the opportunity to attend Howard University, one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges in America, to learn extensive lessons about Black history in several courses which centered on African-American Studies. The information that I learned in those courses was truly empowering and has motivated me to excel at everything I do and to also give back to my community. However, what about the many students who aren’t as fortunate, who have no one in their lives or in their communities who appreciate being Black in America, who are proud of being of African descent? Where will these children get their empowering education about who they are and from where their ancestors come?
Undoubtedly, African-Americans are a highly creative, inspirational, and dynamic people. Despite being one of the most marginalized and socio-economically oppressed groups in America, no group has contributed more to America’s rich historical and cultural landscape than African-Americans. And of course African-Americans are descents of Africa, which is well known for its ageless history of first inventions and unparalleled world wonders. During the Harlem Renaissance Movement, for example, many immensely talented African-Americans artists and thinkers expressed themselves through art, music, dance, and literature. African-Americans are responsible for the invention of jazz music, rhythm & blues, rap, hip-hop, soul, neo-soul, rock and roll and an ever-evolving host of creative dance styles. However, I can visit some African-American homes and see no evidence of African-Americans embracing who they are and what they’ve contributed to the world.
All of us want to be successful at whatever we set our minds to doing, but there are two emotions that keep so many us from maximizing our potentials. That is, fear of taking risks and fear of failure. What’s the common denominator? Fear. Fear is so powerful that many would rather be stuck in a rut, stuck in a bad marriage, stuck at job that is not fulfilling, or just stuck in limbo rather than to allow personal growth to lead them toward much-needed changes. When confronted with the idea of investing in oneself by starting a business, I often hear people say, “Starting a business is not for everyone”, which is true. However, if no one in a community, or at least very few in a community, are willing to start businesses, and they’re all too willing to invest their gifts, time, and money into others’ dreams, then what does that say about the community? I think it says that the members of the community lack trust in each other, and equally important, this speaks volumes about the community’s self-confidence and community expectations.