Fashioning Our Economics
Fashioning Our Economics: The quest to secure our financial futures often eludes us as the future can seem so far off. The idea of ‘the Joneses’ and other symbols have been used to propagate a culture of consumerism within our communities. While hypnotized by their possessions, we fail to consider how the Joneses acquired their wealth. We can’t name wealthy African Americans (that aren’t entertainers) without stuttering, yet, our continuing to save for $1500 monogrammed handbags or identical chronograph watches pulls us further away from our financial freedom while allowing others to maintain theirs.
As a recovering shopaholic (self-diagnosed) on a journey to financial freedom, I would like to humbly share key lessons I have learned on managing finances as a young business owner and future law student; this list is in no particular order nor is it exhaustive. We’ll have moments of weakness, but it is paramount you don’t beat yourself up! This is not a sprint; bear in mind the light at the end of the tunnel is a new house and even better: an economy built For Us, By Us.
~ Save at least 20% of every dollar you receive. This includes monies earned from the 9 to 5, the side gig and the “just because” cash Aunt Jackie balled into your hand; EVERY penny counts.
~ Set a budget and penalties if violated. Making the budget is easy, but sticking to it can be hard. However, if you want to save money you can’t spend it- that simple. Be sure that you are setting reasonable expectations for yourself by including lines for pampering and entertainment. Various online banking apps have customized settings where you can get alerts about balances, deposits, and bill payment dates. If you violate your budget, set penalties such as paying double the next week or skipping a night out.
~ Stay away from store credit cards! They will eat you ALIVE! The interest is ridiculously high and it just encourages you to spend money that you don’t have.
~ Cook more… eat fast less. Eating lunch out every day will drain your pockets. Set time aside to go to the grocery store to stock up on what you need to prepare meals for the week. You can search for *recipes online to keep it interesting and tasty. It’s a healthier option that saves you a few bucks every month and maybe even takes a few inches off the waistline. What more incentive could we need right?
~ Date night in. Now, I love a night out as much as the next person, but the drinks, food, entertainment… it all adds up, especially if you’re out every weekend. Instead, you can stay in and invite other couples over for game night or have your own wine tasting with a few bottles of wine and make a cheese and veggie platter. I promise you, it’ll be a lot more romantic and comfortable.
~ Be trendy and shop thrifty. Designer labels and department stores do not serve us, the faster we realize this the sooner we can take control of our economy. According to Bianca Bailey for Atlanta Black Star, our “… designers represent less than 1% of apparel products sold in department stores, yet… the black community is on track to spend 1.1 trillion dollars by 2015.” Needless to say, if they aren’t checking for us we need to check on ourselves.**Thrift stores and consignment shops are great places to get great fashion forward pieces with character at a reasonable price.
~ BUY BLACK. In order to build our economy we must contribute to it. Our people are represented in every industry, it’ll just take some perusing to find them. Your budget is a great place to start the initiative; dedicate at least one line item to supporting black business per month. And please lets try not to complain about price points because you did not consider that when you purchased Mr. Monogram or your latest time piece. No one else can build our individual and collective wealth but us, so let’s get to Fashioning our Economy!
**Shops to check out in Bedstuy, Brooklyn are Tracy Chambers Vintage and Calabash, both owned by dynamic black women. Bianca Bailey is the creator of Consignments Cousin’s Vintage, a source for everything vintage in the Atlanta area.
Written by Uri B.
Negros Americanos succeeded in carving out a niche in a culture that oftentimes forces its participants to assimilate. They are an unmistakable embodiment of what Hip Hop was born to be; genuine, socially charged, and full of self expression. They navigate between the happenings of their personal lives and sounding off on social matters, drawing inspiration straight from the source; their hearts. From traveling across the globe and setting their dreams in motion, to returning home in order to share the wealth acquired, It is a wonder to watch them journey together so effortlessly. This is something they were born to do, and from the looks of it, they are having the time of their lives doing so.
As an Artist, I especially appreciate the journey of Negros Americanos. As Creative Souls, they are doing what we all wish to do; to follow our dreams. I feel they are so far above just being called Rappers that they are, in fact, returning the word to its original meaning. They speak from the heart, and that is missing in today’s music. Their songs take me from heavy, soulful beats that carry weighted lyrics, to more playful vibes that leave me thinking nonetheless. Their music says to me that it’s okay to be a Witty, Over-analytical, Love-struck Philanthropist of a Revolutionary who’s a sucker for a mean groove; they lead by example. They are of the few who have restored my faith and love in Hip-Hop.
Look out for their dope upcoming album “Take Flight” this Spring as well as their bilingual documentary “Lost in the Wilderness: The Story of Negros Americanos.”
Follow their musical journey at www.NegrosAmericanosMusic.com and join them on social media at @NegrosAmericanos on facebook and instagram!
Written by Lauren “Lola Valentine” Jones for Taji Mag.
Release Mar 7 2015 | Vol2 of Taji is a well-rounded abundance of Black Culture! This issue’s feature is KinVel – model, musician, and artist. Our Special Spotlights are the regal Your Queens; exquisite wearable art of Tafari Tribe, fashionable ceramic accessories by Viclay; artistic works of Giovanni “Lyrical Thought” Marie; chic marries crochet at ZenBaby; and bi-lingual hip hop duo Negros Americanos.
Save the date! Taji Vol 2. releases on March 7th and the release party is on March 8th, 2015 at The OMhh store from 2-5p! Join us at 503 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217 as we celebrate with good vibes, champagne, sparkling apple cider, and giveaways
The Black-Owned Business Collective (BOBC) is currently a facebook group that focuses on informing the community of, you guessed it, Black owned businesses. The group is full of both business owners and consumers looking to connect with one another. The BOBC spawned from the global community announcement to Blackout on Monday, September 8th and then every Friday, if not everyday. To Blackout is to only shop at or with Black owned businesses to start funneling our money back into our communities. Black people have a large amount of spending power, but we do not collectively use it to uplift us as a whole. We get paid and typically shop at big name brandt stores instead of with each other. A major complaint from those who wanted to Blackout was that they didn’t know of any Black owned businesses in their area or online, thus the BOBC was born. There is a growing list, located under the group’s Files, of businesses not only in the states but abroad as well as online only. They have discovered Black owned grocers, toiletry distributors, spring water, gas station, motor oil, sneaker and shoe brands, and a slew of restaurants, clothing and apparel, and skin, hair, and healthcare products just to list a few. The BOBC survives on community participation and guidance from the admins. The group is strict about only posting Black-owned businesses and information related to it. Unrelated posts are deleted and repeat offenders are removed from the group. The admins feel that if you are looking to purchase a mattress, but when you arrive at the mattress store, you see nothing but basketballs, you will walk out. The group works similarly. The name of the group boasts what people expect to see when they go to the group’s page. If there are Multi Level Marketing schemes, businesses not owned by Blacks or a bunch of motivational memes, those looking to join as well as those actively participating will lose interest. This is not a movement where we can afford to lose steam. We commend the group’s active participants as they continuously post new businesses and the list is updated weekly. We also commend those who silently browse the group and shop the businesses posted as that is equally as important as discovering businesses to share with the collective. If you know of a Black owned business, join the group at www.facebook.com/groups/blackbusinesscollective and post it in the group. The admins will add it to the list and be on the lookout for the group’s website launch in 2015!
Save the date! Taji Mag, a Black Beauty & Culture magazine highlighting the artistry of our essence, launches Dec 7, 2014 at The OMhh store from 2-5p! Join us at 503 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217 as we celebrate with good vibes, champagne, and sparkling apple cider