Gary J. Head Shot

After years of personal frustration, one-day Gary Johnson conducted an honest self-assessment of his abilities and decided that he was not living up to his potential.  He learned how to develop goals and achieve personal success and fulfillment.  He joined the Central Intelligence Agency at 19 years old and resigned as a senior manager in the agency’s Office of Training & Education, now renamed Learning Enterprise.  Gary shocked his colleagues by announcing that he was leaving his “good government job” to spend more time with his children.

With the support of his family, Gary exercised his faith and his courage to execute his dream of being a self-employed businessman who would get involved in his community.  That’s what he wanted to do with his life.  That was in 1995.

Gary had a plan.  He was determined to define his own success.  He knew he needed a college education.  He worked full time and went to night school for over 11 years.  He has a degree in Secondary Education, and another degree in Organizational Behavior.  He also was accepted into and attended the Antioch University School of Law, where he studied in the Masters of Legal Science program.

Gary learned how to set goals.  He also learned how to network, be mentored and be strategic within an organization.  In the end, Gary used his personal power to define his success.  The same personal power that we all have, but don’t always know how to use.

Today Gary Johnson has inspired and entertained thousands of people with his powerful story telling ability.  At the age of 23, Gary was assigned to The White House where he worked for three Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs.  Throughout his 40-year career, Gary worked as a Mail Clerk, Intelligence Watch Analyst, Security Officer, Special Agent/Investigator, Supervisor, Manager and Training Consultant, Senior Business Strategist and Talent Acquisition Expert for the government, the military and many Fortune 500 companies in every industry.  Some of those companies include:  Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan, Chase, John Deere, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Abbott Labs, American Honda Motor Company, The World Bank, Astra/Zeneca, the American Petroleum Institute and many more.

Gary is the Founder and Publisher of Black Men In America.com, an online news and magazine, Black Boating and Yachting.com and several other online sites.  Gary is also the author of the book 25 Things That Really Matter In Life,”:  A Quick and Comprehensive Guide To Making Your Life Better—Today!

 

To learn more about Gary click here.

Gary with Top Hat March 2014

Gary Johnson is a proud member of the NOMMO Speaker’s Bureau.  Visit the NOMMO website at www.nommospeakers.com.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

Posted March 11, 2018

Harold Bell is a pioneer in sportstalk radio and television in Washington, DC.  He has interviewed hundreds of leading sports figures from “A” to “Z” the list, includes Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, George Foreman, Red Auerbach, Jim Brown, Johnny Sample, Dave Bing, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Don King, Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines, Angelo Dundee, Earl Monroe, Sugar Ray Leonard, Gary Williams, Earl Lloyd and Chief Zee (Redskin Hall of Fame mascot).  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–-sports talk radio with classic interviews with sports celebrities, politicians and news makers of the day.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 50 years with the help of his wife Hattie through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site.  You can check out Harold’s work on this site by clicking here.

How Do Black People Spend Their Money?

House

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men In America.com

Updated December 25, 2017 (Originally posted on November 5, 2010).

How black people spend their money 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.  As we look at the year in review, this article has been the most read and commented article for 8 years running.  Once I learned that this was the most popular and discussed article on the website, I decided to do some research and share this information with others.

Here are the facts:
  1. 96.1 percent of the 1.2 million households in the top one percent by income were white.
  2. America’s 100 richest people control more wealth than the entire Black population.
  3. The 5 largest white landowners own more land than all Black people combined.
  4. The average Black family would need 228 years to build the wealth of a white family today.

I predict that even after reading this article there a significant number of Black people who will NOT change their habits and work toward changing their situation.  Over time, when things go unchallenged, they seem normal.  After centuries of slavery, black people must realize that they need to work toward building generational wealth and learn to invest their money and establish Trust funds for their wealth that can be passed down to future generations.

Generally speaking, Black people are still living for the moment with a “to hell with the future” mindset when it comes to money.  Too many Black folks tend to only worry about themselves and the money that they have NOW.  That way of thinking is crippling and must STOP now.

A common scenario for many Black folks when they get a “huge” chunk of money or their tax refund deposit is to run to the nearest appliance store, high-end mall or car dealer–(we just love those shiny new rims).  According to The State of Working America, Black people spend 4 percent more money annually than any other race despite the fact that they are the least represented race and the race that lives in poverty at the highest rate.

If current economic trends continue, the average Black household will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts hold today. For the average Latino family, it will take 84 years. Absent significant policy interventions, or a seismic change in the American economy, people of color will never close the gap.  (Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation For Economic Development).

Dr. Boyce Watkins shares the secret to money that most rich people understand.  Check out this short video.

Faced with that reality, I wanted to know:  How long does money stay in the various communities? 

A dollar circulates:

  • 6 hours in the Black community
  • 17 days in the White community
  • 20 days in the Jewish community
  • 30 days in the Asian community

The gaps in wealth and income between white and black Americans are stark – and haven’t narrowed significantly in 50 years.  Credit Suisse and Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy took a closer look at disparities between whites and Blacks.  There are some notable differences in how each group approaches their money.  Here are a few:

  • The wealthiest 5% of Black Americans are slightly less likely to hold financial assets (stocks, bonds, and so on) in their asset mix. Of the financial assets they do invest in, wealthy Blacks are more likely than wealthy whites to invest in safer assets, preferring CDs, savings bonds, and life insurance to higher risk (and higher reward) assets.
  • Wealthy Black Americans have more money in real estate holdings than equally wealthy white Americans. The former hold 41% of their non-financial assets in (non-primary residence) real estate, while the figure for the latter is just about 22%. Adding in primary residences brings those numbers to 57% and 34%, respectively. Even after the housing bust, real estate is considered a lower-risk investment.
  •  Wealthy Black Americans are less likely to hold equity in business assets. Looking at this group’s non-financial assets, 9% are equity in business assets. That figure is 37% for comparably wealthy Whites. The numbers are similarly stark if you look at this as a percentage of total assets: 21% of the wealthy Whites’ total assets are invested in their own businesses, versus just 6% for wealthy Blacks. Because both groups are equally likely to run their own companies – 23% in both cases – the researchers calculate that this means white business owners are investing in their businesses at a rate 7 times higher than Black business owners. In raw dollar terms, it means that Black business owners have about $68k in their businesses, while White business owners have roughly $468k.

“The American Dream remains out of reach for many African-American and Hispanic families,” said Signe-Mary McKernan, co-director of the Opportunity and Ownership Initiative at the Urban Institute. “Families of color, who will be the future majority population of this country, are not on a firm wealth-building path.”

inequality wealth lag

There are three main reasons for the widening gap, according to McKernan. Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to be homeowners or participate in retirement accounts, which build wealth.

Federal government programs aimed at helping Americans buy homes and save for retirement rely on tax breaks and aren’t as available to Blacks and Hispanics, who typically have lower incomes. The bottom 20% of taxpayers, in terms of income, received less than 1% of federal subsidies for home ownership or retirement.

And the earnings gap between the races makes it harder for Blacks and Hispanics to save.

inequality white retirement

Blacks and Hispanics have also socked away a lot less for retirement in 401(k)s and IRAs. And as these voluntary retirement plans replace pensions, black and Hispanic families are left on shakier ground in what should be their Golden Years.

According to the Curators of Dopeness blog, Black people love to spend money on fashion.  Black people get made fun of for not having on the newest Jordan’s or a brand name shirt that’s “in style”.  Expensive purses and high heels are a must if you’re ever stepping out.  Your hair needs to be flawless at all times.  So in order to compensate for lack of confidence or trying the whole “look good, feel good” approach, Black people spend their dollars on looking good.  This is some dumb shit that needs to be taken out of this culture because you need to crawl before you walk.  First handle the foundation then move up to Jordan Brand products and red bottom shoes..

Check out this 1954 film made to educate white merchants on the spending habits of Black Americans.

The Secret of Selling the Negro Market is a 1954 film financed by Johnson Publishing Company, the publisher of Ebony magazine, to encourage advertisers to promote their products and services in the African-American media. The film showed African-American professionals, housewives and students as participants in the American consumer society, and it emphasized the economic power of this demographic community. The film, which was shot in Kodachrome Color, featured appearances by Sinclair Weeks, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and radio announcer Robert Trout. The film had its premiere in July 1954 at the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was shown on a non-theatrical basis.

Watch this film and measure how far we’ve come over the last 60+ years.

White people love to spend money on fashion too.  White people love to buy expensive cufflings, designer purses, custom suits.  Their efforts are more to make sure they look presentable to potential employers.  They really don’t care about being made fun off on a day off.  That’s why you see white people with sandals on or those really high shorts.  White people tend to over do it on the suits but they tend to last them a very long time so they treat them more like investments than clothes.

Black people love to spend money on cars.  Chrysler 300’s, Dodge Chargers and the new model mustangs are a favorite.  Black people also customize cars and don’t really bother with leasing.  The car becomes an investment instead of just something to drive.

White people love to spend money on cars too.  They lease new cars.  Most of the BMW’s and Benz’s that you see are leased.  They have a more economic car and then a leased car.  They figure it’s just a car and pretty soon I’ll need another one so I’ll just rent the newest one out.  Leasing a car is throwing away money that could be used somewhere else.  More on cars later in this article.

According to Tingba Muhammad of the Nation of Islam Research Organization (NOIRG) wasteful Black spending is rooted in slavery.  Earlier this year, Minister Louis Farrakhan gave speech on the root of black spending behaviors and what black people need to do to correct some of these bad habits.  According to the research 42 million Blacks have a spending power amounting to $1.1 trillion, which gives each man, woman, and child an annual spending power of $26,200 dollars.  Black spend their money overwhelmingly with white businesses on the following products and services.

  • tobacco                                    $3.3 billion
  • whiskey, wine, and beer         $3 billion
  • non-alcoholic                          $2.8 billion
  • leisure time spending            $3.1 billion
  • toys, games, and pets           $3.5 billion
  • telephone services                $18.6 billion
  • gifts                                         $10 billion
  • charitable contributions       $17.3 billion
  • healthcare                              $23.6 billion

The NOIRG theorizes that when most Blacks emerged from slavery, it frightened the hell out of White people. They knew that money and knowledge in Black hands meant that Blacks would have the power to determine their own destiny apart from White domination and control. The first impulse Blacks had after slavery was to get as far away from whites as possible. They even set up over 60 all-Black towns, in which they managed free of white authority. This trend had to be stopped because with Black independence came the total loss of the labor that whites totally depended on.  This created a tremendous amount of oppression.  Blacks responded to this oppression by becoming fast spenders.

So, today, many Blacks don’t trust banks, or the courts—Blacks “trust” only that which they can hold in their hands at that very moment. As destructive as that behavior is to Black progress is exactly how profitable that behavior is to whites—who will do anything to keep Blacks on that thinking track.

Hmmmmm!  Something to think about.

Another school of thought is shared by blogger Matthew Corbin who wrote 5 Reasons Why Black People Are Still Broke.  Here are Corbin’s 5 reasons:

  1. Black people spend more money than the make
  2. Black people don’t support black businesses
  3. Black people don’t save their money
  4. Black people don’t know how to invest
  5. Black people aren’t working towards getting out of poverty

Click here to read Corbin’s explanation for each reason.

Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States.  Some say life under a Trump administration won’t be that bad, in fact, it Donald Trump may do more for Blacks than the last several presidents.  Time will tell.  Trump says he will be great for blacks.  Click here to read Donald Trump’s plan for the black community.

The following information comes from the website Racism In America.com.  As the largest racial minority in the United States, blacks make up approximately 13.2% of the population, but have a spending power of over one-trillion dollars. So why is it that Blacks have the lowest net worth of all racial classes?

During the Civil War, small banks were established throughout the country to be financially responsible for freed and runaway slaves’ deposits. However, many of those individuals lost their money because the banks “lost” their deposits. And after the Civil War, Blacks had practically no economic resources, access to capital, or entrepreneurial abilities, making it almost impossible to build, accrue, and pass on wealth. But in an attempt to financially assist soldiers and emancipated slaves with transitioning into “freedom,” Congress established the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company–a financial institution for Blacks. The bank’s objective was to help Blacks “increase their financial strength.”

In the 21st century, many Blacks still don’t possess bank accounts, but instead rely on check cashing services, prepaid debit cards, and cash apps on their cell phones.  Living an “all cash” lifestyle allows for more spending and less saving. However, because of the history of being financially defrauded, Blacks have grown to rely on tangible items to justify their finances. In other words, many of them feel more secure being able to see and spend their money instead of trusting a financial institution. Consequently, the more items bought and the more expensive items may be, signifies many Blacks’ interpretation of their net worth and status as opposed to what a savings account may reflect or indicate.

Studies have shown that managing: household expenses and budget, money and debt, investments, and to save for college education are areas that many Blacks aren’t financially literate.

In a 2013 survey, Prudential Research reported that 40% of Blacks considered themselves to be spenders, 51% savers, and only 9% that actually invest.  To this date, Blacks only possess 5% of America’s wealth, oppose to Whites that own 61%, Asians 28%, and Hispanics 6%.

Therefore, the real reason why Blacks spend their money and don’t save is because systematic racism prevented them from safely investing in banks, and is currently impacting their ability to own property, land, or businesses, thus leaving them with nothing to pass down to future generations. They were forced into a mindset of poverty–spend now before it’s gone, impacting them generationally. Historical experiences blinded Blacks from recognizing the importance of financial literacy and because of their monetary ignorance, blacks possess the least amount of wealth in America.

I decided to post this article as a clear example of how, in this case, this Black person spends his money.  Why do many Black folks feel the need to flaunt their money?  In many cases, what’s “money” to them, is “small change” to people in other ethnic groups.  I’m not a psychologist, but it is an interesting question to ponder.  The previous 1954 video on Black consumers shopping and spending habits may shed some answers.

A recent report from Nielsen, “The Increasingly Affluent, Educated and Diverse,” explores the “untold story” of Black consumers, particularly Black households earning $75,000 or more per year.  According to the report, Black people in this segment are growing faster in size and influence than whites in all income groups above $60,000.  And as Black incomes increase, their spending surpasses that of the total population in areas such as insurance policies, pensions and retirement savings.

According to Nielsen, “African-American households spend more on basic food ingredients and beverages and tend to value the food preparation process, spending more time than average preparing meals. Other popular buying categories include fragrances, personal health and beauty products, as well as family planning, household care and cleaning products.”

The authors of this report emphasize that as the social and cultural clout of the Black consumer is on the ascendancy, it is incumbent upon advertisers and marketers of consumer brands to develop a long-tern game with the Black community.

As The Atlantic notes, Black buying power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion this year, and $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

 LetsBuyBlack365 is a national grassroots movement that utilizes the online community and local networking to harness Black buying power, with a goal to create jobs and resources to help Black people.

A few years ago we updated our original post 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.”

We also incorporated 2014 data from the Nielsen Company.  If history is any indication of future behavior, this updated article will be hotly debated in 2018.  Let’s hope that we can make some progress in this area and close the wealth gap.

Compared to all consumers, Black people as a group spend 30 percent more of their total income — even though we make $20,000 less than the average household. A whopping 87 percent of annual retail spending consists of Black consumers. But where does our money go? Hudson Valley Press Online gives us the scoop via an article from Nielsen’s SVP of public affairs and government relations, Cheryl Pearson-McNeil.

When it comes to shopping at the mall, we make eight more annual trips than any other group pulling in an average of 154 visits. Blacks also patronize dollar stores the most; we make seven more trips than the average group making a total of 20 trips. Lastly, Black Americans made more visits to convenience/gas stores by a small margin: making a total of 15 annual visits.

However, Black trips to grocery stores and warehouse clubs (like Costco) are a bit more scarce. “Less time is spent at grocery stores, with three fewer trips. The exception to grocery store shopping, though, is with Blacks who earn upwards of $100K annually. We also make three fewer trips to warehouse stores and two fewer trips to mass merchandisers than the total market. However, more upper-income Blacks (73%) shop at warehouse clubs than non-Blacks annually,” Pearson-McNeil said.

It could be that the lack of grocery stores and other healthy establishments in Black neighborhoods that contribute to this trend. This is why it’s not at all surprising that Black people frequent McDonald’s and Burger King more than other U.S. household.

What you probably won’t see in our carts are diary products such as milk and yogurt. “[T]his could be because many of us are lactose-intolerant,” Pearson-McNeil adds.

But probably the largest retail disparity between Blacks and other groups rests in the hair and beauty industry. We spend about nine times more on hair care and beauty products in comparison to other demographics.  “In fact, 46% of Black households shop at Beauty Supply Stores and have an average annual total spend of $94 on products at these stores,” Pearson-McNeil says.

All the aforementioned figures were pulled from Resilient, Receptive, and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report. With African Americans approaching $1 trillion buying power, one must wonder why aren’t marketers paying more attention to Black consumer trends.

** The average Black household contains 2.57 persons. In addition, Black households averaged 1.25 owned vehicles. Most of these households were renters, living in apartments or flats.8 Their dwellings averaged 5.45 rooms (including finished living areas and excluding all baths) and 1.49 bathrooms. Black households’ annual expenditures averaged $36,149, which was 79.8 percent of their average income before taxes. The amount spent on housing ($13,530) consumed the biggest portion of annual expenditures, accounting for more than one-third of the total. This was followed by transportation ($5,946) and food ($5,825). The remaining expenditures made up roughly 30 percent of total spending: personal insurance and pensions, healthcare, entertainment, cash contributions, apparel, and education, in addition to personal care, tobacco, alcohol, reading, and miscellaneous expenditures.

Black Americans are just 13 percent of the U.S. population, and yet, we’re on trend to have a buying power of $1.4 trillion by 2019.  A new Nielsen study hints that marketers may want to start developing a better consumer-producer relationship with African Americans if they want to make big bucks.

Titled “The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers,” the report finds that the Black American sweet spot, in terms of buying power, lies in ethnic hair and beauty aids (surprise, surprise). Black American dollars make up a whopping 85.8 percent of the industry.

floyd-mayweathers-luxurious-lifestyle-2-10

**Here are highlights of the spending patterns of low-income versus high-income Black households:

  • On average, low-income Black households spent $16,627 in total annual expenditures, compared with high-income Black households who spent approximately $50,000 more.
  • Housing was the biggest expenditure for both types of households. For the high-income Black households, housing was 34.2 percent of the total annual expenditure. For the low-income Black households, it was nearly half of the total annual expenditure, at 45.5 percent.
  • Food was another large spending category for both types of households. However, it made up only 12.7 percent of total expenditures for high-income Black households, compared with 23.5 percent for low-income Black households.
  • Transportation and personal insurance and pensions made up only 11.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, of total expenditure for the low-income Black households. However, for the high-income Black households, these shares were 17.1 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.
  • Cash contributions, such as charitable donations, was a smaller expenditure category in which low and high-income Black households differed. Cash contributions were 2.1 percent for the low-income Black households and 4.6 percent for the high-income Black households.
  • Among the remaining expenditure categories, alcoholic beverages, apparel and services, healthcare, entertainment, personal care, reading, education, and miscellaneous expenditures, low-income and high-income Black households had similar expenditure shares.
  • Tobacco and smoking supplies was the only expenditure category in which low-income Black households spent both a higher share and a higher actual dollar outlay than their high-income counterparts. For low-income Black households, tobacco and smoking supplies was 1.5 percent ($248) of their total expenditure but made up only 0.3 percent ($218) of total expenditure for high-income Black households.13

Reginald A. Noël, “Income and spending patterns among Black households,” Beyond the Numbers: Prices & Spending, vol. 3, no. 24 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2014), http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/income-and-spending-patterns-among-black-households.htm

Floyd Shoes

According to Nielsen:

  • Blacks are more aggressive consumers of media and they shop more frequently.
  • Blacks watch more television (37%), make more shopping trips (eight), purchase more ethnic beauty and grooming products (nine times more), read more financial magazines (28%) and spend more than twice the time at personal hosted websites than any other group.
  • Blacks make an average of 156 shopping trips per year, compared with 146 for the total market. Favoring smaller retail outlets, blacks shop more frequently at drug stores, convenience stores, and Dollar stores.
  • Beauty supply stores are also popular within the black community, as they typically carry an abundance of ethnic hair and beauty aids reside that cater specifically to the unique needs of black hair textures.

bling-bling-rapper-hip-hop1Bronner-Bros-Hair-Show_blog-39331

While the numbers indicate that Black folks are an important part of the buying public, companies spend just three-percent (3%) of their advertising budgets marketing to black consumers. According to Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a Vice President at Nielsen, “The Black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market,” she explains.

However, Noel King, a reporter for NPR’s Marketplace, cautions companies against trying to reach Black consumers without knowing our needs.  “If you want to market to those groups, then you should know what particular group buys your stuff,” says King. “Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, health care, and pensions.”

Despite our collective buying power, statistical data reflects that much of that money is spent outside of the Black community and not with Black-owned businesses.

Compare these numbers about “dollar circulation” reported by the NAACP:

“Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days.  How long does a dollar circulate in the Black community? 6 hours!  Black American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar blacks spend in this country goes to black owned businesses.”

If the “dollar circulation” data does not get your attention, consider the following information from an article written by financial expert Ryan Mack:

55 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or under-banked meaning they do not have a bank account or the appropriate bank account (Federal Deposit Corporation Survey)

  • “About a quarter of all Hispanic (24 percent) and Black (24 percent) households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6 percent of white households. These percentages are little changed from 2005.” (Pew Research)
  • “The median amount Black households reported saving on a monthly basis is $189, compared to $367 among White households…. [This is] the first time in a decade that Black households have reported saving less than $200 per month.” (Ariel Investments 2010 Black Investor Survey)
  • “Blacks on the average are six times more likely than Whites to buy a Mercedes, and the average income of a Black who buys a Jaguar is about one-third less than that of a White purchaser of the luxury vehicle.” Earl Graves, Black Enterprise Magazine
  • Although Blacks make up 13-percent of the U.S. population, just seven-percent (7%) of small business are owned by Blacks. Access to capital, clientele, and other resources hinder many Black folks from starting business, despite a long history of entrepreneurship.

Highlights from “Big Spenders, Small Investors:  Blacks Have Little to Show for Hard-Earned Dollars”:

  • Blacks 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 $1.1 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 Black 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, Blacks 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 homeownership rate reveals that 73.5 percent of whites own homes while approximately 43.9 percent of Blacks are homeowners, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies State of the Nation report for 2013.
  • Sixty percent of Blacks have less than $50,000 saved in company retirement plans and only 23 percent have more than $100,000.
Photo:  Hundreds of people gathered in the church to say goodbye to Michael Brown. (Richard Perry/The New York Times)

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.

“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.”

Rich Blacks vs. Poor Blacks:  Income and Spending Patterns

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey provide information on annual household spending.  Looking at demographic subgroups of the population can provide a deeper understanding of consumption preferences and spending behavior for a particular group. Using data from the CE Survey, the following charts compares and contrasts the spending patterns of low-income Black households to their high-income counterparts.

Average annual expenditures of all, high-and low-income Black households, 2010–2012 combined
Category All Black

households

High-income Black

households

Low-income Black

households

Total average annual expenditures $36,148.98 $67,114.17 $16,627.29
Tobacco and smoking supplies $239.06 $218.26 $248.34
Housing $13,529.96 $22,956.40 $7,569.19
Total food $5,825.34 $8,514.41 $3,910.12
Transportation $5,945.94 $11,469.17 $1,915.35
Personal insurance and pensions $3,678.55 $10,043.75 $315.33
Cash contributions $1,347.50 $3,081.13 $349.31
Healthcare $1,794.27 $3,240.21 $689.57
Apparel and services $1,000.48 $1,907.43 $474.05
Education $503.25 $1,354.23 $190.31
Entertainment $1,362.24 $2,485.95 $635.57
Personal care $318.71 $645.89 $117.30
Reading $45.22 $97.22 $12.86
Alcoholic beverages $168.09 $329.53 $95.40
Miscellaneous expenditure $390.37 $770.58 $104.60

The only category which low-income Black households were not outspent was tobacco and smoking supplies. This particular statistic supports the phenomenon that tobacco tends to be a higher share of total expenditures for those with lower income as compared to those with higher income.

Source:  Reginald A. Noël, “Income and spending patterns among Black households,” Beyond the Numbers: Prices & Spending, vol. 3, no. 24 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2014), https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/income-and-spending-patterns-among-black-households.htm

Click Here To Change Your Life and Purchase This DVD “Generation One:  The Search For Black Wealth” Now!

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.”

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.

“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 Americans 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 Blacks 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

According to Forbes magazine, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., made more than $420 million in 2015.  He is the highest paid athlete in the world.

Click here to read how Floyd Mayweather, Jr. spends his money.

Portions of this article came from Clutch Mag online.

james_clingman-240x240

If you want to educate yourself and others about how to earn and spend your money responsibly, read the book, Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, by James Clingman.  Clingman is a friend to this site.  He’s also the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, www.blackonomics.comBlack Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense is available through the website www.professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle e-Books.

Black Dollars Matter Book Cover

If you want to educate yourself and others about how to earn and spend your money responsibly, read the book, Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, by James Clingman.  Clingman is a friend to this site.  He’s also the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, www.blackonomics.comBlack Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense is available through the website www.professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle e-Books.

There is a great organization called World of Money.  Founded in 2005, the World of Money is a New York City based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth through the engaged, local delivery of professional quality financial education. World of Money Founder and CEO, Sabrina Lamb, while attending a financial planning seminar, was inspired by a compelling question. Are children, in the course of their education and upbringing, getting this information on how to manage their financial life? After conducting some research on the subject, Ms. Lamb found that the answer to her question was a resounding “no”. So, after affirming the detrimental effects of this knowledge gap, she set forth to leverage her experience as an entrepreneur and love of working with children to create World of MoneyClick here to visit their website and learn more.

There are already over 35 Black owned banks and credit unions in the United States where you can put your money if you find these type of efforts for financial stability and reinvestment in the black community important.

Check out the list below!

  1. Omega Psi Phi Credit Union – Lawrenceville, Georgia
  2. Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union – Washington, DC
  3. One United Bank – Los Angeles,California
  4. FAMU Federal Credit Union – Tallahassee, Florida
  5. Credit Union of Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia
  6. North Milwaukee State Bank – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  7. Seaway Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  8. The Harbor Bank- Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Liberty Bank – New Orleans, Louisiana
  10. United Bank of Philidelphia – Philidelphia, Penn
  11. Alamerica Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  12. Broadway Federal Bank – Los Angeles, California
  13. Carver State Bank – Savannah, Georgia
  14. Capital City Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  15. Citizens Trust Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  16. City National Bank – Newark, New Jersey
  17. Commonwealth National Bank – Mobile, Alabama
  18. Industrial Bank – Washington D.C.
  19. First Tuskegee Bank – Tuskegee, Alabama
  20. Mechanics & Farmers Bank – Durham, North Carolina
  21. First Independence Bank – Detroit, Michigan
  22. First State Bank – Danville, Virginia
  23. Illinois Service Federal – Chicago, Illinois
  24. Unity National Bank – Houston, Texas
  25. Carver Federal Savings Bank – New York, New York
  26. OneUnited Bank – Miami, Florida
  27. OneUnited Bank – Boston, Massachusetts
  28. Tri-State Bank – Memphis, Tennesse
  29. Citizens Bank – Nashville, Tennessee
  30. South Carolina Community Bank – Columbia, South Carolina
  31. Columbia Savings and Loan – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  32. Liberty Bank – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  33. Liberty Bank – Kansas City, Missouri
  34. Citizen Trust Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  35. Liberty Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  36. Liberty Bank – Jackson, Mississippi
  37. Toledo Urban Credit Union – Toledo, Ohio
  38. Hill District Credit Union – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Are you currently putting money in a Black owned bank? Leave any testimonials you have below!

Photo credit:  Couple counting money — Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis

** Sources:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey, http://racisminamerica.org/the-real-reason-why-blacks-spend-their-money-and-dont-save/, CNN, Harvard Business Review, http://curatorsofdopenessblog.tumblr.com/post/72870270050/black-money-white-money

Here’s another related and informative article on black spending.

How Blacks’ Dollars Can Achieve Black Power by William Reed

By William Reed (Posted June 12, 2017)

What is your view of black economic development?  Most blacks say they are tired of being slighted and disrespected; yet the majority of us ignore tried and true capitalistic practices that would improve the race’s poor economics.  It’s too bad there’s no accumulation of Blacks oriented toward race-based economic empowerment and wealth building.  Black people collectively pooling economic resources aren’t the “wishful thinking” that many suggest.  The thing we need to recognize is “to do for self‘”.  When blacks across the nation make economic growth and development functioning realities collectively practicing means and methods that create jobs and opportunities we will be well on our way to respect and admiration.

It is generally accepted that there’s been progress for black Americans over the last 60 years, yet our overall status is bleak. Too many blacks are focused to rid the country of “white supremacy”.  Black politicians and civil rights “leaders” boast that they’ve gotten blacks to 72 percent parity with whites.    Truth is whites have “superior” understandings and adaptations of capitalistic procedures.  Blacks must “stay awake” to more than partisan politics.  Even as our poverty and unemployment rates continue to be higher than whites’, it’s a challenge to get most blacks to see benefits that can accrue if we come together and do more financially for betterment of our communities.

Black buying power is currently $1.3 trillion according to a Nielsen and National Newspaper Publishers Association Report.”  With such money and buying power blacks should be utilizing methods and practices that circulate those dollars to Black owned initiatives.  Each of us should look at our own actions and practices that keep us from spending substantial portions of money we get with Black-owned businesses.  Why do we not deposit in Black-owned banks when doing this enables black financial institutions to fund our projects, goods and services.

To “be equal” in American society, blacks must learn how to build business/investments, hold onto it and pass it on. Some skeptical blacks must see the value in spending their money with our businesses.  More blacks must “do more for self” to bring about Black Economic Power.”  The prevailing “Black Leadership” has its focus on partisan politics and elusive “’racial harmony”.  When will blacks learn that it’s imperative for concerned individuals, groups, organizations, churches and businesses push vital black financial and entrepreneurial cooperation to turn around disproportionate negative conditions that continue in Black communities?

Opportunities exist across the nation for black individuals, their organizations, churches, lodges, frats and entrepreneurs to provide educational programs, workshops and business conferences that teach and show people how and why to do for self.  America needs local black leadership demonstrating the power of the black dollar and increase community awareness to recycle dollars within our community, by banking with black-owned banks and buying from black businesses.  The solution to the high unemployment and income inequality black communities must come from us.  It includes development of black businesses.  Local or national groups, be them small or large: the thing is to do for self.  If we are serious about tackling unemployment in our community, the quickest fix is to start financially supporting Black-owned businesses.  Too many blacks rely on getting whites to remedy their financial problems.  Data suggests that if African-Americans invested more money in Black-owned businesses, these businesses would be sources of employment for more of us.

The stand we suggest all blacks adopt is empowering the black community toward taking control and redirecting its wealth and investments.  Blacks need more education on consuming and capitalism.  More blacks must establish locations where people come and learn economic and financial principles on how to create and sustain Black businesses where they live.  Let’s more of us hold power networking conferences for training and networking to bolster and educate Blacks.   We all have to engage what we know and have toward operational unity.  Enterprising individuals and organizations can sponsor regular business networking socials and gatherings.  Do them at Black-owned establishments.  Be sure to invite blacks in banking.  Those provide opportunities for entrepreneurial blacks to meet one another, exchange ideas and partner.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Black Boating and Yachting.com, a site that highlights the adventures of boating enthusiasts..

 you think.

If Donald J. Trump invited you to a meeting, would you accept the invitation?

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men In America.com

Here are some of the notables who have met with Donald Trump since he won the 2016 presidential election:

  • NFL Hall of Famer and Activist Jim Brown
  • NFL Hall of Famer and Broadcaster Ray Lewis
  • Rapper/Songwriter/Producer Kanye West
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET) Founder Robert Johnson
  • Comedian and Game Show Host Steve Harvey
  • Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King, III

After his meeting with Donald Trump, Steve Harvey said,  “I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area. I feel that something really great could come out of this.” 

Left to Right:  NFL great Jim Brown, former professional football player Ray Lewis, and Pastor Darrell Scott (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Other famous people who are friendly with or support Donald Trump are boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Reality Show Contestant and Trump Advisor Omarosa Manigault, Trump Religious Advisor Pastor Darrell Scott, Dr. Ben Carson, Russell Simmons, Rev. Run, Mike Tyson, boxing promoter Don King, singer Azealia Banks, former NFL star Terrell Owens, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, former NFL great Herschel Walker, former NFL Linebacker Shawn Merriman, actress Stacey Dash and who can forget Trump black female supporters Diamond and Silk.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith delivered a commentary on the black community attacking black leaders for meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.  Smith believes that it is counterproductive to call and label people who meet with Donald Trump as “sellouts.”  Smith called on other prominent black leaders to meet with Trump instead of bashing those who do.

So, what would you do?  Would you meet with Donald Trump?  Why?  Why not? 

Please scroll down and share your response.

Photo Credit:  NFL great Jim Brown, former professional football player Ray Lewis, and Pastor Darrell Scott (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

To learn more about Gary click here.


A Collection of Thoughts on President Obama’s Legacy

December 31, 2016

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men in America.com

Barack Obama the person is a hugely popular and likeable person.  From everything we can gather he is a solid husband, father and family man.  Barack Obama, the President, is a different story.  Despite his popularity in the polls, the majority of Americans feel that he has taken the country in the wrong direction.  For President Obama, it appears by his actions that he thinks it is vitally important to help Americans understand how his two terms have reshaped American life.  He knows that once he leaves office, President Trump may undo much of what he accomplished, including reforming the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

In terms of his legacy, will President Obama be remembered for who he is?  Or remembered for what he did?

Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, President Obama and the Democrats at times, have behaved like arrogant sore losers who can’t accept the fact that their party lost what was arguably the easiest and most winnable presidential race in the last 40 years.

President Obama campaigned across the country for Hillary Clinton claiming that a vote for her would continue his policies.  He claimed that he would be personally offended if folks did not vote for Clinton.  On election day the majority of the people rejected the President’s policies by either casting their vote for Donald Trump or not voting.  Those are the facts.  The President, the Clinton campaign and a lot of Americans are having a hard time swallowing this defeat.  Several college campuses cancelled classes, established “cry-ins” and brought in therapy dogs, Play-Doh and coloring books to help the students cope with the election results.  I’m not lying.  Click here to read more about this.

It appears that the President can’t bring himself to think that people would reject his policies.  Instead, he said that “they” (the Democrats) didn’t do a good job of messaging and getting the word out.  The word and the message was received and it was rejected.  Why?  Everyone has an opinion.

A month before the election, President Obama, the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton got cocky.  Most polls reflected that Hillary Clinton had double-digit lead over Donald Trump.  Obama and the Democrats talked about running up the score in key swing states.  President Obama was seen as Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon.  A sitting and popular President campaigning for her was a move toward positioning the Democrats to retake control of the legislative branch.  Here we are, 3 weeks after the election and the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and President Obama got their asses kicked.  Not only did they loss the presidency, the loss Congressional and Senate seats.

Hillary Clinton ran a terrible campaign.  There was NOTHING clever or smart about her strategy.  One of her main campaign slogans was:  “I’m with her.”  What does that mean?

Ms. Clinton could not connect with young people, even after the campaign and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) rigged the primaries and stole the election from Bernie Sanders.  She was deemed as dishonest and untrustworthy by many in the American public.

Now soon to be ex-President Barack Obama said he will position himself as the leader to help rebuild the Democratic party.  President Obama appears to have a hard time accepting that his agenda was unpopular to many voters.  The old saying, “What goes around, comes around,” has bitten Obama.  After he won the election to become President, Barack Obama repeatedly reminded his adversaries that he won the election and on a few occasions told them that it was their turn to get in the back of the bus.  Now that his team has loss, President Obama is concerned about his legacy. 

The President’s legacy is arguably tarnished in the eyes of some for his failure to be honest about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.   The President is on record over 30 times making a series of promises and commitments to the American people, many of which turned out to be false or outright lies.  For purposes of this article, let’s call them “broken promises.”  For example, President Obama repeatedly assured Americans: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”  According to healthcare giant Aetna, in 2016, Obamacare tossed over 2 million Americans out of their health plans.

According to Chris Conover, a contributing writer for Forbes.com, here are the most glaring statements connected to Obamacare:

  1. Universal coverage
  2. No new taxes on the middle class
  3. Annual premium savings of $2,500
  4. No increase in the deficit
  5. You can keep your plan if you like it

 

Here are the facts:

Up to 9.3 million people lost their coverage during the first open enrollment period.  As of mid-September 2016, 18 of Obamacare’s 24 CO-OPs had failed, leaving 932,181 members to scramble to find alternative coverage; there’s only 6 CO-OPs remaining.  In addition, At least 811,000 additional Obamacare plan members are involuntarily losing coverage in 2016 due to the withdrawal of UnitedHealth, Aetna and Oscar from various Obamacare exchanges.

In many speeches across the country President Obama said:  “We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”  Can you guess what one of the worst parts of all those plan cancellations is?  Obamacare often forced patients to switch doctors and hospitals in the middle of their treatment.

At a rally in Florida in September 2016, President Obama claimed “a handful of people” would face hefty health-insurance premium increases for 2017.  Last year, eight states had Obamacare plans whose premiums increased by 39% or more.  Half the states saw increases of 30% or more.

Premiums are projected to rise even faster in 2017.  Across Tennessee’s three exchange-participating insurers, the lowest average increase will be 44%. The highest will be 62%.  On average, premiums are going up by 25%, but in some states, the increase will exceed 100%. Given that 15% of exchange plan members do not get subsidized coverage, about 9.1 million will face the full brunt of premium increases for Obamacare-compliant plans in the non-group market.

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.” – President Obama, Sept. 9, 2009.

Less than four years later, the Government Accountability Office announced ObamaCare would increase the federal deficit by $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.

“You should know that once we have fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now — which means your premiums will go down.” —President Obama, July 16, 2012.

Not only did premiums go up, they have continued to rise.  The Congressional Budget Office now predicts that, by 2025, employment-based coverage will cost about 60 percent more than this year because of the Affordable Care Act.

With Obamacare being the President’s signature piece of legislation, it was embarrassing that the website didn’t work, the promises were broken and it was a huge public embarrassment that had to be re-worked for millions of dollars at the tax payers expense.  Where was the accountability for this?

President Obama’s legacy will likely be tarnished because of the President’s and the administration’s lies and deception connected to the Iran Nuclear Deal and for going against a long-held policy of NOT paying our enemies money in exchange for prisoners.  In addition, public and Congressional reports claim that the Obama administration misled the public about the Iran nuclear deal’s contents in order to stymie opponents. The deal was touted as keeping Iran from a nuclear bomb for 15 years, but the new disclosures reveal that Iran could be six months away from a bomb within a decade of the deal.

President Obama appears to have a hard time accepting that his agenda was unpopular to many voters.  There are elements of Obama’s agenda that remain unpopular. But a larger concern for aides is that Clinton failed to make the case for her own candidacy, and not be seen solely as an agent of the status quo.

There were times during the President’s two terms in office where he felt comfortable “talking down” to black folks and lecturing us on how to be better fathers and citizens.  OK.  We need to do better, but some folks were irritated by the format and the way the message was presented to us.  One has to be careful when you decide to publicly castigate your most loyal supporters, that you often ignored and neglected on issues important to them.

The President’s preface for the use of drones to fight overseas has gone unnoticed by many.  However, the Obama drone program has arguably taken more innocent lives than any other administration with almost no accountability.

This past election reflected another mid-term shellacking on President Obama’s watch.  According to most polls, despite his popularity, most Americans believe that President Obama has been moving the country in the wrong direction.  Most Democrats did not want to be seen or associated with the President.  They did not want him to campaign for them.  The massive debt he accumulated was a hard sell for any politician.  On January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in, the debt was $10.626 trillion. Today it’s $19.78 trillion.

It’s misleading to hold President Obama (or any other President) accountable for the deficit incurred during his first year of office. That’s because the previous Administration already set the federal budget for that fiscal year.

The average annual deficit by President Nixon was $11 billion dollars, President Ford $40 billion, President Carter $61 billion, President Reagan $165 billion, President H.W. Bush $235 billion, President Clinton $40 billion, President George W. Bush $250 billion and President Obama $1.3 trillion.

In fairness, Obama inherited a mess when he took office and if that wasn’t enough, this man was disrespected often as the sitting President of the United States.  Do you remember Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) putting her finger in the President’s face in front of reporters?  Brewer had the nerve to say that she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. WTF?  He should have grabbed her hand and firmly told her, “You got 10 seconds to get your fucking finger out of my face.”

Here are some other memorable moments of disrespect against President Obama:

  • 9 months into his presidency as he addresses Congress Rep. Wilson yells, “you lie” during the President’s State of the Union speech.
  • The whole “birther movement.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) publicly announced, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.”
  • Rep. Joe Wilson, yelling “You Lied,” during the President’s address to the nation.

Much of what President Obama accomplished happened with a “hidden hand” via Executive Order and because of that, and his perceived arrogance in doing so, many of those accomplishments can easily be undone by President Trump.  President Obama, talking about his Executive Orders once said:  “Where I can act without Congress, I’m going to do so.” — that just pissed off his opponents and strengthened their resolve to reverse his achievements–and they will just to teach him a lesson.  Had the President been able to advance his agenda by passing laws, his achievements would be difficult to reverse.

Here are a few thoughts and theories on why Hillary Clinton lost the election, President Obama’s legacy and how Donald Trump won the election:

  • Chicago, Obama’s hometown, witnessed 762 homicides last year, the most in two decades, and 1,100 more shootings than in 2015. Obama’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, the reason is the Ferguson effect, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald. What’s more, statistics show that police are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than white ones.
  • According to Peter Roff, a contributing editor to U.S News & World Report.com, under President Obama, the national debt rose to $19.9 trillion dollars according to the U.S. Treasury. Not all of that is his responsibility; just $9.2 trillion of it, which is still a pretty considerable number.
  • Politically, President Obama has been the worst thing to happen to his party since Bill Clinton. During the eight years he was president, the Democratic Party has lost 717 seats in state houses across the country, 231 seats in state senates, 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 12 governorships and 12 seats in the United States Senate. As he leaves the stage, 70 state legislative chambers are under GOP control – including those in 32 states where the legislature is all Republican, compared to just 13 for the Democrats. And in 24 of the 32 states with Republican-controlled legislatures, voters also elected Republican governors, whereas the Democrats control everything in just seven. (U.S News & World Report.com)
  • In November 2016 at the Men’s Day program at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, DC, Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan said President failed to do what should have been done.” Minister Farrakhan continued with his message to the President by saying, “Your people are suffering and dying in the streets,” of Chicago, so “you failed to do what should have been done.”  Farrakhan also said it is time to let Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump do “what he wants to because he is not destroying your legacy.”
  • According to a November 22, 2016 article written by Conrad Black in the National Review, Donald Trump won because the United States has had the 15 worst years of misgovernment by all branches and both parties, and the only period of absolute and relative decline, in its history. In addition, for the last six years two-thirds of Americans polled have steadily thought the country was going “in the wrong direction.” Click here to read more.
  • Filmmaker Michael Moore believed Trump won because nearly 70% of all voters thought Hillary Clinton was untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected.
  • Hillary Clinton did not fire up the Obama Coalition.  She got nearly 5 million fewer votes overall than Barack Obama.
  • Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because President Obama is an arrogant sore loser who refuses to believe that his policies were not in the best interest of all Americans.  Many Americans believe President Obama knowingly lied about the benefits of Obamacare and the Iran deal.  Add to that, his handling of the sluggish economy, his social agenda, the slow “wussy-like” response to ISIS, the IRS scandal and his Justice Department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server.

This does not include President Obama’s skirting Congress, his pushing amnesty for people who entered the country illegally, favoring Black Lives Matter, unilaterally imposing crushing environmental regulations and the numerous other unpopular policies that absorbed his attention.

I believe the actual substance of the President’s domestic policies and their impact on the country remain poorly understood.  I make my living teaching leadership development.  I used to work in the West Wing of the White House and I know a little “sumthin’ sumthin'” about the intelligence business.  I’ve studied President Obama’s leadership style.  I believe this is a President who has clearly conveyed to his staff, “do not bring me bad news or things I don’t want to hear.”  As a result, I believe President Obama has surrounded himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.  If you dare bring him bad news, you will find yourself out of favor with him.  Some key advisors have not served the President well.

Lt. General Michael Flynn who has accepted the job as Donald Trump’s next National Security Advisor, sounded the alarms about the threat of ISIS, when he was in charge of the Defense Intelligence Agency.  I find it incredible that President Obama never met with Flynn.

Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who are former Secretaries of Defense and Directors of the CIA said President Obama did not respect his armed forces’ chiefs and in fact rarely met with them.  Others have said that President Obama thinks he knows more than his generals and is not above telling them so. As Gates wrote in his memoir Duty, “The controlling nature of the Obama White House and the staff took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level.”  Not only did Obama not take the advice of his military chiefs, he never even met with them. At a recent Congressional hearing, four top military figures testifying on national security were asked whether they had voiced concerns to Obama. Each one said no, they had never met the man.

Two months before the election, President Barack Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual dinner.  He told the audience that he would take it as a “personal insult” if the African-American community fails to turn out for the presidential election and encouraged black voters to support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  Obama said his name may not be on the ballot, but issues of importance to the black community were, including justice, good schools and ending mass incarceration.  “I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said with a stern look and booming passion. “You want to give me a good send-off, go vote.”

Black folks, despite their loyalty to President Obama have not done well economically under his stewardship of the U.S. economy.  Blacks have been largely shut out from the nation’s economic recovery.  Many are intoxicated emotionally with having a black man and his wonderful scandal free family in the White House for eight years.  That is something to be proud of, however, not benefiting from the economic recovery is not emotional–that’s a tangible hardship that is easy to measure.

At various times during his career, President Obama faced criticism from some blacks that, because he didn’t grow up in the hood and he attended an Ivy League school that he simply wasn’t down with the cause or (here we go) “black enough.”

History will decide the full measure of the successes and failures of the Obama presidency.  Fortunately for the President, time passed tends to be kind to the legacy of ex-occupants of the Oval Office.  On the first day of 2017, President Obama reflected upon the successes of his presidency in a series of tweets via Twitter.  The President touted “the longest streak of job growth in our history” and said that “after decades of rising health care costs, today nearly every American now has access to the financial security of affordable health care.”  The President concluded his tweet series by writing: “It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.”

Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President said,“The president prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself,” Jarrett said in an interview broadcast on CNN on New Year’s Day. Critics of the Obama administration said Jarrett was trying to re-write history.  These critics and a few government watch dog groups site the IRS abuses, Benghazi (where 4 Americans lost their life), the Clinton scandals, the lies told about Obamacare, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and other Obama administration failures.

“This is delusional,” said Tom Fitton, Executive Director of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, said, “The Obama administration has a scandal rap sheet longer than my arm.”  Fitton also wrote that the Obama administration was more corrupt than the Nixon administration.

The bottom line is we cannot gloss over President Obama’s flaws.  We all have them.  He has succeeded as President of the United States for two terms.  That is a fact and history will record that.

I think the President should transition to civilian life quietly and I think history will judge him kindly.  This will NOT be the case.  President Obama has made it clear that he will not go away quietly.  He will move into a home in the city and he has vowed to be a voice and mentor to others in an effort to resurrect his failed Democratic party.  I think this is a mistake.  The strategy will only serve to remind people of his failures.  He will also make it easy for Republicans to “pile on” and highlight their successes as they collective work to reverse many of President Obama’s policies and Executive Orders.

About the Author:

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

Sources:  Multiple media, news and government sources.

 

 

Wealthy Preachers and How Mega Churches Spend Their Money

By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com Staff

December 18, 2016

There are “well-to-do” preachers, there are rich preachers and then there are obscenely wealthy preachers.  I want to talk about all of them but with a focus on the obscenely wealthy pastors who seem to get the most attention.  The question that I want to discuss and explore is whether or not these men and women of God deliberately prey on the poor and the gullible to ensure the wealth, power and dominance in the church and community.

Some of the rich pastors came to God later in life through the sports, politics or the entertainment industry.  Case in point, Al Green, George Foreman, Clifton Davis, R&B singer Peebles and former rapper Mase.  I can name 50 more who came out of that lane.  I grew up hearing the phrase “pimps in the pulpit” to describe predatory preachers who simply were less than forthcoming when it came to behaving in a trustworthy and honest manner.

I know that I am putting the spotlight on high-profile pastors, (some of whom have had trouble with the law, personal tragedies and other falls from grace) because they are high profile.  I’ve followed pastors for years.  Let me share my fundamental belief about men and women who hold these positions:

  • Many pastors honestly believe they are doing the work of God
  • Most pastors will never be famous and that’s OK with them
  • Many preachers entered the ministry to change the world and touch the masses in a positive way
  • Some preachers stumble along the way through no fault of their own and end up in dark place they can’t often escape
  • Many churchgoers have been culturally conditioned to believe whatever their preacher tells them and that doing so will get them closer to God
  • Many preachers learned early on that they have a “gift” to get people to follow them
  • Some preachers are jealous, thin-skinned egomaniacs who care about what is said about them
  • Many preachers feel pressure to perform and to outperform their peers

 

Let’s take a look at some high profile, well-to-do, rich and obscenely wealthy men and women of God and their estimated worth.

 

Clifton Davis ($3 Million)
Clifton Davis came to fame as a songwriter, singer and actor before becoming a minister.  Davis launched his career in the music business after writing hit songs like “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Lookin’ Through the Windows” for The Jackson 5. Taking his talents to the stage in the 1970s, Davis made his acting debut as the star on the television series “That’s My Mama” and has spent the last 45 years acting on shows like “Amen,” “Living Single” and “Grace Under Fire.”

Long before becoming a celebrity, Davis pursued his passion for theology and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University and was ordained in 1987. He has spent the last 25 years as the co-founder and pastor of the Welcome Christian Center in Huntington Beach, California while making guest appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network in addition to hosting Gospel Superfest for the last eight years. When he’s not behind the pulpit, parishioners and fans can find him talking politics as he plays Ephraim Ware on the popular television series, Madam Secretary.

Minister Louis Farrakhan ($3 Million)

Born as Louis Wolcott and trained as a violinist, Bronx native Louis Farrakhan launched his career as a professional musician in the 1950s at the same time he was introduced to the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI).  Joining the NOI in 1955 and briefly becoming Louis X, Farrakhan gave up his dreams of music and quickly rose through the ranks under the guidance of Malcolm X. With Malcolm’s assassination in 1965, Farrakhan then assumed the role as the national spokesman and representative of the NOI and the minister of the highly influential Harlem Mosque.

A widely polarizing and controversial figure, Farrakhan has spent the last three decades reviving the Nation of Islam while building his following as a minister in the northeast and amassing $3 million in personal wealth. Responsible for the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. in 1995, Farrakhan is now 83 years old but age hasn’t stopped him as he continues to spread his influence through weekly online sermons and speaking at large NOI events. He’s even returned to music with a sound that critics describe as “deep and full of energy that makes the violin gleam.”

Eddie Long ($5 Million)

Eddie Long was a sales representative for Ford Motor Corporation long before he ever went into ministry. Losing his job at Ford and moving to Atlanta, Long studied theology and became a pastor at a small Georgia church before taking over at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 1987. Growing the church from 300 to over 25,000 members in a matter of years, Long managed to build his wealth as well to the tune of $5 million.

According to Eddie Long, Jesus wasn’t broke, and leaders of churches shouldn’t be either. Long has earned millions in salary from his ministry, owns a million-dollar home on a 20-acre lot, has use of a $350,000 Bentley, and pulls in a host of other benefits too.

Bishop Long made headlines a few years ago when he was accused of using his teachings to coerce four young men in to having sexual relationships with him — with a fifth man emerging later. The accusers filed lawsuits against Long, claiming sexual misconduct on his part and stated that Long bought them expensive gifts, treated them to elaborate trips, and quoted scriptures in order to justify his acts. Long has denied all of the sexual allegations against him and the lawsuits have been settled out of court.  The details of each settlement have not been publicly disclosed.

Al Sharpton ($5 Million)

Al Sharpton is a civil rights activist, talk show host and Baptist minister.  Sharpton was ordained a Pentecostal minister at just nine years old. He then spent much of his early career as James Brown’s tour manager and an activist alongside Jesse Jackson before shifting his focus back to ministry and joining the Baptist church in the late 1980s.

Officially becoming a Baptist minister in 1994, Sharpton’s reputation skyrocketed thanks to hundreds of television and radio appearances that have padded his $5 million net worth. Despite his success, Sharpton encountered financial problems in 2014 when reports revealed that he “regularly sidestepped” his debts and owed millions in back taxes. Though Sharpton took a hit on his personal wealth, he has rebounded nicely as a trusted White House adviser and the host of his radio show, Keepin’ It Real with Al Sharpton.

Peter Popoff ($10 Million)

Born in war-torn Berlin in 1946, Peter Popoff moved to California with his family at a young age and completed his studies at the University of California before finally marrying and settling down in 1970. Before long, Popoff made his way to television ministry where his aggressive and energetic messages were broadcast across the United States and transformed him into an iconic faith healer known for yelling “break free of the devil” at some of his sickest followers.

Healing everything from anxiety and depression to heart conditions and paralysis, many thought Popoff was the real deal. The truth finally came out, however, in the mid-1980s when his methods were questioned and he admitted the miracles were a hoax. Falling out of the public’s favor and disappearing from the spotlight for nearly a decade, Popoff made a comeback in the late 1990s and is, once again, a success. Now 69 years old and worth $10 million, Popoff is often seen buzzing around California in his Porsche as one of televangelism’s biggest con men.

Jesse Jackson ($10 Million)

Perhaps first known as a politician and then as a religious leader and civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson has achieved great success in all of his endeavors. Spending much of his career focused on civil rights, Jackson was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968 but continued to focus on politics with presidential runs in 1984 and 1988. Serving as a shadow U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. from 1991 to 1997, Jackson continued to gain widespread fame and was given his own show on CNN called Both Sides of Jesse Jackson. Now worth $10 million thanks to his incredible influence and success, Jackson was finally awarded his Master of Divinity in 2000 as a result of his career accomplishments and life experience.

Juanita Bynum ($10 Million)

Born in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, Juanita Bynum established herself as a charismatic personality early in her life when she took the stage as a child theatrical star. After graduating from high school, Bynum turned her attention to ministry when she began giving sermons throughout the city until a video called No More Sheets was released in the 1990s and made her a household name. Riding the heels of her early success, she then became a regular on the Trinity Broadcasting Network with speaking engagements around the world.

Expanding her ministry into music, literature, radio and television, Bynum established herself as an international voice in ministry whose reputation long preceded her in 2004 when she held the largest Christian event in Kenya when over 750,000 people attended the National Conference. Bynum is 58 years old and worth $10 million.  She continues to build her wealth as the CEO of Juanita Bynum Enterprises in addition to the thousands of dollars brought in from her books, gospel albums and speaking engagements.

Cindy Trimm ($15 Million)

Hailing from Bermuda and identifying herself as an empowerment specialist, Cindy Trimm launched her career in politics when she took the title of Senator at only 30 years old. Realizing she could do even more in ministry, Trimm exchanged her political podium for the pulpit as she began leading sermons and writing books about spiritual growth and healing. Using her political prowess and reputation, Trimm’s popularity blossomed as she traveled the globe preaching and promoting her foundation to help rebuild and revitalize communities in need.

Honored as the Outstanding Christian Woman of the Year in addition to being named as one of the “top 100 doers and influencers in the world today” by Ebony magazine, Trimm has built her incredible $15 million net worth through her publications and guest appearances. Describing herself as a “catalyst for change” and a “voice of hope,” Trimm is currently serving as pastor for Florida’s Embassy Worship Center while expanding her ministry and enjoying the success of her book, The Prayer Warrior’s Way.

T.D. Jakes ($18 Million)

West Virginia native Thomas Dexter “T.D.” Jakes was called to ministry as a teenager when he spent the majority of his time caring for his invalid father. Enrolling at West Virginia State University and preaching part-time, Jakes was named pastor of a local Pentecostal church with only 10 members. As the church flourished under his leadership, Jakes established himself as a gifted speaker and spiritual mentor as he transitioned into radio ministry and continued to expand his congregation. The church’s growth finally came to a head in 1996 when Jakes and 50 other families moved to Dallas, Texas where he established The Potter’s House, which has over 30,000 members.

Kirk Cameron ($20 Million)

Making his acting debut at only 13 years old, Kirk Cameron became a household name in 1985 as the mischievous and charming Mike Seaver on the hit ABC sitcom Growing Pains. Cameron wrapped up the series in 1992 and continued to appear in television shows and films like Listen To Me, Fireproof and the Left Behind series before literally leaving it all behind to focus solely on his faith. Partnering with New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort in the 1990s, Cameron co-founded The Way of the Master ministry.

Teaching Christians about evangelism through the ministry, Cameron and Comfort host an award-winning television and radio program in addition to running Camp Firefly, a free summer camp for terminally ill children and their families. Cameron, who married his Growing Pains costar Chelsea Noble in 1991, has also teamed up with his wife to launch The Firefly Foundation as a way to give back even more. Between his acting career spanning nearly four decades to his work as an evangelist, it’s no surprise that this former sitcom star is worth $20 million and counting.

Rick Warren ($25 Million)

Born to a Baptist minister and librarian in San Jose, California, Rick Warren followed his father’s footsteps into ministry after attending California Baptist University and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Spending his early years in ministry co-writing two books, Warren established the Saddleback Church in 1980 when he preached his first sermon in front of 200 people gathered in a local high school theater. Using nearly 80 different locations for the next two decades, Warren guided the church to success with over 10,000 people in attendance establishing him as one of the most renowned pastors in the United States.

Expanding his ministry into writing, Warren is a New York Times best-selling author known for his insight into church ministry and evangelism thanks to publications like The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, which sold over 30 million copies. Now at 63 years old and worth $25 million, Warren relies on the income from his books as he has given 90 percent of his wealth back to the church in what he and his wife refer to as “reverse tithing.”

Creflo Dollar ($27 Million)

Creflo Augustus Dollar Jr.:  As the leader of his mega-church, the World  Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., and with a congregation of about 30,000 members, Dollar is best known for his prosperity-infused theological teachings — and rightly so.  The married Father of five reportedly owns two Rolls-Royce vehicles, a private jet, a million-dollar home, and a $2.5 million apartment in New York City, which he sold for $3.7 million last year.

Launching his ministry with only eight members gathered in a school cafeteria in 1986, Dollar grew his congregation to an enormous 30,000 devoted followers while bringing in $69 million in revenue in 2006 alone. Still growing in 2012, Dollar added a second location in The Bronx, New York to increase his reach.

Extending his ministry as an author and reputable speaker with engagements around the globe, the 55-year-old is often criticized for his lavish lifestyle. Owning multi-million-dollar estates in Atlanta, New Jersey and Manhattan, Dollar raised eyebrows in 2014 when his private jet was destroyed after veering off the runway. In only a matter of months, Dollar’s fundraising efforts had already generated another $60 million dollars to purchase a private Gulfstream G650 jet that he claimed was a necessity to bring his teachings to people around the world.

About 7 years ago Dollar and a bunch of other televangelist ignored the U.S. Senate’s request for their financial records.  Dollar claimed he was concerned about the privacy of his donors, and he said that if the IRS requested it, he would send it over. However, since it was Congress asking for the information, he wouldn’t do so without a subpoena.

His church made $69 million back in 2006, and the church also provided him with a Rolls Royce. In Dollar’s words “Just because it (my life) is excessive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.”

Unfortunately, the man, who has consistently refused to disclose his financial worth, was arrested in June of this year for physically attacking his 15-year-old daughter after they argued about her going to a party at 1 a.m.  The child told police that her pastoral dad strangled her, threw her to the ground, and hit her with a shoe, with her 19-year-old sister corroborating the accusations.  Dollar was charged with simple battery and cruelty to children, then released on $5,000 bail.

Joel Osteen ($40 Million)

Easily one of the most popular pastors in the United States today, Joel Osteen has earned the nickname as “The Smiling Preacher” thanks to his Texas-sized charisma. Born to a Southern Baptist pastor who founded the Lakewood Church, Osteen studied radio and television communications at Oral Roberts University but left Oklahoma and returned to Houston without a diploma in hand. Taking the reins and producing his father’s televised sermons for 17 years until his father’s unexpected death in 1999, Osteen found himself behind the pulpit of the largest Protestant Church in the entire country.

Now serving as Lakewood Church’s Senior Pastor, Osteen took a lesson from his father and continued to televise his sermons, which fostered the church’s growth from 5,000 to 43,000 in addition to over 7 million weekly viewers in more than 100 countries. Now recognized as both a preacher and a brand, Osteen is also a New York Times best-selling author because of the outstanding success of Your Best Life Now. And, to put his $40 million net worth into perspective, Osteen lives in a $10 million estate and doesn’t take a penny out of the church’s $70 million annual income.

David Oyedepo ($150 Million)

It should come as no surprise that the richest pastor in the world today is the Nigerian author, preacher and founder of Winner’s Chapel – David Oyedepo. Studying architecture early in his career before concentrating on missionary work, Oyedepo claimed to have an 18-hour vision in 1981 where God called him to preach. Inspired to establish the Living Faith Church World Wide, Oyedepo was ordained a pastor two years later by Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Within five years, the newly ordained Bishop was ready to expand.

Hailed as one of the most powerful preachers in Nigeria, Oyedepo’s expansion led him to his most prized creation, the Faith Tabernacle, which holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest church auditorium with 50,000 seats. In addition to numerous Winners’ Chapel locations scattered in over 300 cities around the globe, Oyedepo has built an incredible $150 million net worth all because of his vision and divine ability to preach not to mention cornering every field of the gospel market including publishing over 60 unique titles. Add in four private jets at his disposal and Oyedepo really does seem to have it all!

George Foreman ($250 Million)

Two-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold medalist, George Foreman is one of the greatest boxers to ever live. Launching his career in the ring in 1969, Foreman continued throwing punches until the 1990s with an impressive record of 76 wins and five losses including 68 knockouts that earned him a membership in the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Officially retiring in 1997 at 48 years old, Foreman is an ordained minister but that isn’t where he’s built his incredible $250 million wealth.

Truth be told, we’ve all helped Foreman earn his millionaire status by purchasing one of his famed George Foreman fat-reducing grills. Marketed on convenience and healthy eating, the grills have earned Foreman over $130 million. In terms of his ministry, Foreman claims that after a near-death experience in 1977, he announced his faith as a born-again Christian and took a break from the ring to become an ordained minister. Spending the next few years preaching on street corners and at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston, Foreman opened a youth center and made special appearances on The 700 Club where he told the world that the devil finally got “knocked out” of him.

Pat Robertson ($500 Million)

When it comes to pastors, one of the biggest names in the industry and often the first that comes to mind is Pat Robertson. Born into a prominent political family in Virginia, Robertson was drafted into the Marine Corp in 1948 and returned home to complete his law degree from Yale in 1955. Failing the New York bar exam, Robertson experienced a life-changing religious conversion that inspired him to enroll at the New York Theological Seminary. Shortly after his graduation, Robertson was well on his way to success when he established the Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960.

Officially ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1961, Robertson has proven that he can be both spiritual and business savvy. Spending the last 50 years as the host of one of the most popular Christian programs on television (The 700 Club), the 87-year-old is also known as a media mogul and founder of organizations such as the ABC Family Channel and Regent University as well as the subject of many pop culture jokes on shows like South Park and The Simpsons. And, although his actual net worth is unknown, an estimate between $200 million and $1 billion makes this Southern Baptist minister the richest pastor in the world.

How 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money

Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen find what determines pastor salaries (and who might be most underpaid).

Morgan Lee

2014 Courtesy of Leadership Network

Two organizations that know megachurches well have released a new study they describe as “by far the biggest-scale, cross-denominational response anyone has ever collected about church finances.”

Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen Search Group surveyed 727 of America’s largest churches regarding their finances earlier this year. Though the researchers acknowledge their examination of church financial trends is not “randomly based nor is it statistically accurate for all larger churches,” they explain the findings “do indicate many general trends, and is likely the most comprehensive financial perspective available on large churches.”

Of the 56 million Protestants who worship weekly in the United States, 13 million attend a church of 1,000 or more participants. In North America, 1,650 churches have 2,000 or more participants.

According to the 2014 edition of the Large Church Salary Report, the typical large American church (1,000 to 7,000 members) was founded in 1977, seats 800 worshipers, and offers five weekly services at two campuses. The church’s 52-year-old senior pastor was hired in 2005, it employs 25 staff members, and attendance has been recently growing 7 percent per year.

Nearly 50 percent of large churches spend between 39 percent and 52 percent of their annual budget on staffing costs, translating to 1 full-time paid staff for every 51 to 90 attendees. The salary of the senior pastor comprises, on average, 3.4 percent of a church’s budget and at least 30 percent higher than the next highest-paid employee.

Pastor salaries are influenced mostly by church size (70 percent), with region the only other influential variable (20 percent). Race, age of the pastor, age of the church, and theology do not impact salaries. Southern pastors are among the highest paid, followed by the Northeast and then West and Midwest. Canadian pastors make less than all their American counterparts.

The top three metrics measured by the majority of large churches were total attendance and giving compared to budget. Less than half track adult baptisms/conversions, adults in small groups, or new members.

For the largest churches, those boasting attendance of 10,000 or more, nearly 50 percent report “not passing the plate.” In contrast, only 20 percent of other large churches indicate that they do not directly solicit tithes during services. Eighty-one percent of churches report offering the opportunity to donate online, which the study concluded led to higher giving rates than churches relying only on traditional means.

The study also revealed that one-third of churches with 1,000 to 2,000 attendees have adopted the multi-site model, as have half of churches with 2,000 to 3,000 attendees.

Sources:  Multiple web, news and media sources.  http://myfirstclasslife.com, Research charts courtesy http://www.christianitytoday.com

First Photo Credit:  (Richard Perry/The New York Times)

End of Year Update:  How Do Black People Spend Their Money?

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men In America.com

Floyd Shoes floyd-mayweathers-luxurious-lifestyle-2-10

Updated December 12, 2016 (Originally posted on November 5, 2010).

How black people spend their money 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.  As we look at the year in review, this article has been the most read and commented article for 5 years running.  Once I learned that this was the most popular and discussed article on the website, I decided to do some research and share this information with others.  The first question that I wanted an answer to was: How long does money stay in the community? 

A dollar circulates:

  • 6 hours in the Black community
  • 17 days in the white community
  • 20 days in the Jewish community
  • 30 days in the Asian community

According Tingba Muhammad of the Nation of Islam Research Organization (NOIRG) wasteful black spending is rooted in slavery.  Earlier this year, Minister Louis Farrakhan gave speech on the root of black spending behaviors and what black people need to do to correct some of these bad habits.  According to the research 42 million Blacks have a spending power amounting to $1.1 trillion, which gives each man, woman, and child an annual spending power of $26,200 dollars.  Black spend their money overwhelmingly with white businesses on the following products and services.

  • tobacco                                    $3.3 billion
  • whiskey, wine, and beer         $3 billion
  • non-alcoholic                          $2.8 billion
  • leisure time spending            $3.1 billion
  • toys, games, and pets           $3.5 billion
  • telephone services                $18.6 billion
  • gifts                                         $10 billion
  • charitable contributions       $17.3 billion
  • healthcare                              $23.6 billion

The NOIRG theorizes that when most Blacks emerged from slavery, it frightened the hell out of white people. They knew that money and knowledge in Black hands meant that Blacks would have the power to determine their own destiny apart from white domination and control. The first impulse Blacks had after slavery was to get as far away from whites as possible. They even set up over 60 all-Black towns, in which they managed free of white authority. This trend had to be stopped because with Black independence came the total loss of the labor that whites totally depended on.  This created a tremendous amount of oppression.  Blacks responded to this oppression by becoming fast spenders.

So, today, Blacks don’t trust banks, or the courts—Blacks “trust” only that which they can hold in their hands at that very moment. As destructive as that behavior is to Black progress is exactly how profitable that behavior is to whites—who will do anything to keep Blacks on that thinking track.

Hmmmmm!  Something to think about.

Another school of thought is shared by blogger Matthew Corbin who wrote 5 Reasons Why Black People Are Still Broke.  Here are Corbin’s 5 reasons:

  1. Black people spend more money than the make
  2. Black people don’t support black businesses
  3. Black people don’t save their money
  4. Black people don’t know how to invest
  5. Black people aren’t working towards getting out of poverty

Click here to read Corbin’s explanation for each reason.

The 2016 presidential election is over and Donald Trump was the winner.  The message to non-Trump voters is: “Suck it up, buttercup.”  Some say life under a Trump administration won’t be that bad, in fact, it Donald Trump may do more for blacks than the last several presidents.  Time will tell.  Trump says he will be great for blacks.  Click here to read Donald Trump’s plan for the black community.

The following information comes from the website Racism In America.com.  As the largest racial minority in the United States, blacks make up approximately 13.2% of the population, but have a spending power of over one-trillion dollars. So why is it that blacks have the lowest net worth of all racial classes?

During the Civil War, small banks were established throughout the country to be financially responsible for freed and runaway slaves’ deposits. However, many of those individuals lost their money because the banks “lost” their deposits. And after the Civil War, blacks had practically no economic resources, access to capital, or entrepreneurial abilities, making it almost impossible to build, accrue, and pass on wealth. But in an attempt to financially assist soldiers and emancipated slaves with transitioning into “freedom,” Congress established the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company–a financial institution for blacks. The bank’s objective was to help blacks “increase their financial strength.”

In the 21st century, many blacks still don’t possess bank accounts, but instead rely on check cashing services, prepaid debit cards, and those alike. And living an “all cash” lifestyle allows for more spending and less saving. However, because of the history of being financially defrauded, blacks have grown to rely on tangible items to justify their finances. In other words, many of them feel more secure being able to see and spend their money instead of trusting a financial institution. Consequently, the more items bought and the more expensive items may be, signifies many blacks’ interpretation of their net worth and status as opposed to what a savings account may indicate.

Studies have shown that managing: household expenses and budget, money and debt, investments, and to save for college education are areas that many blacks aren’t financially literate.

In a 2013 survey, Prudential Research reported that 40% of blacks considered themselves to be spenders, 51% savers, and only 9% that actually invest.  To this date, blacks only possess 5% of America’s wealth, oppose to whites that own 61%, Asians 28%, and Hispanics 6%.

Therefore, the real reason why blacks spend their money and don’t save is because systematic racism prevented them from safely investing in banks, and is currently impacting their ability to own property, land, or businesses, thus leaving them with nothing to pass down to future generations. They were forced into a mindset of poverty–spend now before it’s gone, impacting them generationally. Historical experiences blinded African-Americans from recognizing the importance of financial literacy and because of their monetary ignorance, blacks possess the least amount of wealth in America.

I decided to post this article as a recent and clear example of how, in this case, this black person spends his money.  Why the need to flaunt your money?  We’re not in the psychology field, so we won’t even venture to speculate.

A new report from Nielsen, “The Increasingly Affluent, Educated and Diverse,” explores the “untold story” of African-American consumers, particularly Black households earning $75,000 or more per year.  According to the report, Black people in this segment are growing faster in size and influence than whites in all income groups above $60,000.  And as African-American incomes increase, their spending surpasses that of the total population in areas such as insurance policies, pensions and retirement savings.

According to Nielsen, “African-American households spend more on basic food ingredients and beverages and tend to value the food preparation process, spending more time than average preparing meals. Other popular buying categories include fragrances, personal health and beauty products, as well as family planning, household care and cleaning products.”

The authors of this report emphasize that as the social and cultural clout of the Black consumer is on the ascendancy, it is incumbent upon advertisers and marketers of consumer brands to develop a long-tern game with the Black community.

As The Atlantic notes, Black buying power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion this year, and $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

 LetsBuyBlack365 is a national grassroots movement that utilizes the online community and local networking to harness Black buying power, with a goal to create jobs and resources to help Black people.

A few years ago we updated our original post 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.”

We also incorporated 2014 data from the Nielsen Company.  If history is any indication of future behavior, this updated article will be hotly debated in 2016.  Let’s hope that we can make some progress in this area and close the wealth gap.

Compared to all consumers, African Americans spend 30 percent more of their total income — even though we make $20,000 less than the average household. A whopping 87 percent of annual retail spending consists of Black consumers! But where does our money go? Hudson Valley Press Online gives us the scoop via an article from Nielsen’s SVP of public affairs and government relations, Cheryl Pearson-McNeil.

When it comes to shopping at the mall, we make eight more annual trips than any other group pulling in an average of 154 visits. Blacks also patronize dollar stores the most; we make seven more trips than the average group making a total of 20 trips. Lastly, Black Americans made more visits to convenience/gas stores by a small margin: making a total of 15 annual visits.

However, African American trips to grocery stores and warehouse clubs (like Costco) are a bit more scarce. “Less time is spent at grocery stores, with three fewer trips. The exception to grocery store shopping, though, is with Blacks who earn upwards of $100K annually. We also make three fewer trips to warehouse stores and two fewer trips to mass merchandisers than the Total Market. However, more upper-income Blacks (73%) shop at warehouse clubs than non-Blacks annually,” Pearson-McNeil said.

It could be that the lack of grocery stores and other healthy establishments in Black neighborhoods that contribute to this trend. This is why it’s not at all surprising that African-Americans frequent McDonald’s and Burger King more than other U.S. household.

What you probably won’t see in our carts are diary products such as milk and yogurt. “[T]his could be because many of us are lactose-intolerant,” Pearson-McNeil adds.

But probably the largest retail disparity between African Americans and other groups rests in the hair and beauty industry. We spend about nine times more on hair care and beauty products in comparison to other demographics.  “In fact, 46% of Black households shop at Beauty Supply Stores and have an average annual total spend of $94 on products at these stores,” Pearson-McNeil says.

All the aforementioned figures were pulled from Resilient, Receptive, and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report. With African Americans approaching $1 trillion buying power, one must wonder why aren’t marketers paying more attention to Black consumer trends.

** The average Black household contains 2.57 persons. In addition, Black households averaged 1.25 owned vehicles. Most of these households were renters, living in apartments or flats.8 Their dwellings averaged 5.45 rooms (including finished living areas and excluding all baths) and 1.49 bathrooms. Black households’ annual expenditures averaged $36,149, which was 79.8 percent of their average income before taxes. The amount spent on housing ($13,530) consumed the biggest portion of annual expenditures, accounting for more than one-third of the total. This was followed by transportation ($5,946) and food ($5,825). The remaining expenditures made up roughly 30 percent of total spending: personal insurance and pensions, healthcare, entertainment, cash contributions, apparel, and education, in addition to personal care, tobacco, alcohol, reading, and miscellaneous expenditures.

Black Americans are just 13 percent of the U.S. population, and yet, we’re on trend to have a buying power of $1.4 trillion by 2019.  A new Nielsen study hints that marketers may want to start developing a better consumer-producer relationship with African Americans if they want to make big bucks.

Titled “The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers,” the report finds that the Black American sweet spot, in terms of buying power, lies in ethnic hair and beauty aids (surprise, surprise). African-American dollars make up a whopping 85.8 percent of the industry.

**Here are highlights of the spending patterns of low-income versus high-income Black households:

  • On average, low-income Black households spent $16,627 in total annual expenditures, compared with high-income Black households who spent approximately $50,000 more.
  • Housing was the biggest expenditure for both types of households. For the high-income Black households, housing was 34.2 percent of the total annual expenditure. For the low-income Black households, it was nearly half of the total annual expenditure, at 45.5 percent.
  • Food was another large spending category for both types of households. However, it made up only 12.7 percent of total expenditures for high-income Black households, compared with 23.5 percent for low-income Black households.
  • Transportation and personal insurance and pensions made up only 11.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, of total expenditure for the low-income Black households. However, for the high-income Black households, these shares were 17.1 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.
  • Cash contributions, such as charitable donations, was a smaller expenditure category in which low and high-income Black households differed. Cash contributions were 2.1 percent for the low-income Black households and 4.6 percent for the high-income Black households.
  • Among the remaining expenditure categories, alcoholic beverages, apparel and services, healthcare, entertainment, personal care, reading, education, and miscellaneous expenditures, low-income and high-income Black households had similar expenditure shares.
  • Tobacco and smoking supplies was the only expenditure category in which low-income Black households spent both a higher share and a higher actual dollar outlay than their high-income counterparts. For low-income Black households, tobacco and smoking supplies was 1.5 percent ($248) of their total expenditure but made up only 0.3 percent ($218) of total expenditure for high-income Black households.13

Reginald A. Noël, “Income and spending patterns among Black households,” Beyond the Numbers: Prices & Spending, vol. 3, no. 24 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2014), http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/income-and-spending-patterns-among-black-households.htm

According to Nielsen:

  • Blacks are more aggressive consumers of media and they shop more frequently.
  • Blacks watch more television (37%), make more shopping trips (eight), purchase more ethnic beauty and grooming products (nine times more), read more financial magazines (28%) and spend more than twice the time at personal hosted websites than any other group.
  • Blacks make an average of 156 shopping trips per year, compared with 146 for the total market. Favoring smaller retail outlets, blacks shop more frequently at drug stores, convenience stores, and Dollar stores.
  • Beauty supply stores are also popular within the black community, as they typically carry an abundance of ethnic hair and beauty aids reside that cater specifically to the unique needs of black hair textures.

bling-bling-rapper-hip-hop1Bronner-Bros-Hair-Show_blog-39331

While the numbers indicate that Black folks are an important part of the buying public, companies spend just three-percent (3%) of their advertising budgets marketing to black consumers. According to Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a Vice President at Nielsen, “The Black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market,” she explains.

However, Noel King, a reporter for NPR’s Marketplace, cautions companies against trying to reach Black consumers without knowing our needs.  “If you want to market to those groups, then you should know what particular group buys your stuff,” says King. “Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, health care, and pensions.”

Despite our collective buying power, statistical data reflects that much of that money is spent outside of the Black community and not with Black-owned businesses.

Compare these numbers about “dollar circulation” reported by the NAACP:

“Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days.  How long does a dollar circulate in the Black community? 6 hours!  Black American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar blacks spend in this country goes to black owned businesses.”

If the “dollar circulation” data does not get your attention, consider the following information from an article written by financial expert Ryan Mack:

55 percent of African Americans are unbanked or under-banked meaning they do not have a bank account or the appropriate bank account (Federal Deposit Corporation Survey)

  • “About a quarter of all Hispanic (24 percent) and black (24 percent) households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6 percent of white households. These percentages are little changed from 2005.” (Pew Research)
  • “The median amount Black households reported saving on a monthly basis is $189, compared to $367 among White households…. [This is] the first time in a decade that African-American households have reported saving less than $200 per month.” (Ariel Investments 2010 Black Investor Survey)
  • “Blacks on the average are six times more likely than Whites to buy a Mercedes, and the average income of a Black who buys a Jaguar is about one-third less than that of a White purchaser of the luxury vehicle.” Earl Graves, Black Enterprise Magazine
  • Although Blacks make up 13-percent of the U.S. population, just seven-percent (7%) of small business are owned by Blacks. Access to capital, clientele, and other resources hinder many Black folks from starting business, despite a long history of entrepreneurship.

Highlights from “Big Spenders, Small Investors:  Blacks Have Little to Show for Hard-Earned Dollars”:

  • 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 $1.1 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 Black 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, Blacks 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 homeownership rate reveals that 73.5 percent of whites own homes while approximately 43.9 percent of Blacks are homeowners, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies State of the Nation report for 2013.
  • Sixty percent of Blacks have less than $50,000 saved in company retirement plans and only 23 percent have more than $100,000.
Hundreds of people gathered in the church to say goodbye to Michael Brown. (Richard Perry/The New York Times)

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.

“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’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.”

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.

“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

According to Forbes magazine, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., made more than $420 million in 2015.  He is the highest paid athlete in the world.

Click here to read how Floyd Mayweather, Jr. spends his money.

Portions of this article came from Clutch Mag online.

james_clingman-240x240

If you want to educate yourself and others about how to earn and spend your money responsibly, read the book, Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, by James Clingman.  Clingman is a friend to this site.  He’s also the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, www.blackonomics.comBlack Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense is available through the website www.professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle e-Books.

Black Dollars Matter Book Cover

If you want to educate yourself and others about how to earn and spend your money responsibly, read the book, Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, by James Clingman.  Clingman is a friend to this site.  He’s also the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, www.blackonomics.comBlack Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense is available through the website www.professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle e-Books.

Photo credit:  Couple counting money — Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis

** Sources:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey, http://racisminamerica.org/the-real-reason-why-blacks-spend-their-money-and-dont-save/

There is a great organization called World of Money.  Founded in 2005, the World of Money is a New York City based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth through the engaged, local delivery of professional quality financial education. World of Money Founder and CEO, Sabrina Lamb, while attending a financial planning seminar, was inspired by a compelling question. Are children, in the course of their education and upbringing, getting this information on how to manage their financial life? After conducting some research on the subject, Ms. Lamb found that the answer to her question was a resounding “no”. So, after affirming the detrimental effects of this knowledge gap, she set forth to leverage her experience as an entrepreneur and love of working with children to create World of MoneyClick here to visit their website and learn more.

There are already over 35 African-American owned banks and credit unions in the United States where you can put your money if you find these type of efforts for financial stability and reinvestment in the black community important.

Check out the list below!

  1. Omega Psi Phi Credit Union – Lawrenceville, Georgia
  2. Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union – Washington, DC
  3. One United Bank – Los Angeles,California
  4. FAMU Federal Credit Union – Tallahassee, Florida
  5. Credit Union of Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia
  6. North Milwaukee State Bank – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  7. Seaway Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  8. The Harbor Bank- Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Liberty Bank – New Orleans, Louisiana
  10. United Bank of Philidelphia – Philidelphia, Penn
  11. Alamerica Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  12. Broadway Federal Bank – Los Angeles, California
  13. Carver State Bank – Savannah, Georgia
  14. Capital City Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  15. Citizens Trust Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  16. City National Bank – Newark, New Jersey
  17. Commonwealth National Bank – Mobile, Alabama
  18. Industrial Bank – Washington D.C.
  19. First Tuskegee Bank – Tuskegee, Alabama
  20. Mechanics & Farmers Bank – Durham, North Carolina
  21. First Independence Bank – Detroit, Michigan
  22. First State Bank – Danville, Virginia
  23. Illinois Service Federal – Chicago, Illinois
  24. Unity National Bank – Houston, Texas
  25. Carver Federal Savings Bank – New York, New York
  26. OneUnited Bank – Miami, Florida
  27. OneUnited Bank – Boston, Massachusetts
  28. Tri-State Bank – Memphis, Tennesse
  29. Citizens Bank – Nashville, Tennessee
  30. South Carolina Community Bank – Columbia, South Carolina
  31. Columbia Savings and Loan – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  32. Liberty Bank – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  33. Liberty Bank – Kansas City, Missouri
  34. Citizen Trust Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  35. Liberty Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  36. Liberty Bank – Jackson, Mississippi
  37. Toledo Urban Credit Union – Toledo, Ohio
  38. Hill District Credit Union – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Are you currently putting money in a black owned bank? Leave any testimonials you have below!

Note To College Students:  Grow Up and Go Back To Class

trump-protestors

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men In America.com

On Friday, November 18, 2016, I had a great day.  I was invited to be a guest lecturer at the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC. My book, 25 Things That Really Matter In Life,” (a great Christmas gift stocking stuffer) is on sale at the University library. I was asked great questions about my book, my career and what I think it takes to be successful in business and in life.

Now to more serious business.  I was very curious to find out if there were any mass walkouts and crying safe zones on campus to support the students who were upset that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.  Some colleges and universities are encouraging students to cry, cuddle with puppies and sip hot chocolate to soothe their fragile psyches.  Some colleges and universities actually delayed exams, cancelled classes and offered grief counseling to students distraught over the election results.  Are you kidding me?  It appears that we are raising college age kindergartners.

safe-spaces

Dozens of students at Cornell University gathered for a “cry-in” to mourn the results of the presidential election with school staff providing tissues and hot chocolate. GTFOH?  Other colleges have reportedly brought in therapy dogs, Play-Doh and coloring books to help the students cope. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Why would a college or university participate in such coddling of students? What am I missing? Someone PLEASE enlightenment me.  Is this the result of the “everyone gets a participation trophy” era?

“I literally couldn’t get out of bed,” said University of Pennsylvania sophomore Amanda Agyapong, 18, a psychology pre-med major from Ghana who has spent the last 11 years in the United States.  She skipped class Wednesday morning, so devastated that she said she didn’t want to leave her room. It was only when the Black Cultural Center offered to host a lunch that she decided to go and be with other students.  Similar incidents have been reported on the campuses of Brown University and University of Northern Iowa.

Other therapy sessions included:

  • University of Pennsylvania brought in a puppy and a kitten for therapeutic cuddling.
  • Tufts University held arts and crafts sessions for students.
  • University of Michigan Law School scheduled an event called “Post-Election Self-Care With Food and Play” with “stress-busting self-care activities” including coloring, blowing bubbles, sculpting with Play-Doh and “positive card making.”
  • Boston University skipped the hot chocolate and therapy animals, but scheduled a set of post-election discussions aimed at helping students process a democratic election that didn’t go their way.

safe-space4

These young men and women are our future.  What’s going to happen when they graduate and get jobs in the real world and their bosses yell at them?  What if they screw up and they have to stay late to make up for a mistake?  Or have an argument with a co-worker?  Are they going to have a panic attack and ask to go to the “Safe” zone?  Employers and the real world will kick their ass and tell them to “shut the hell up” and get the hell out of the company.  There are no crying rooms, coloring books and therapy dogs in the real world.

What’s going to happen when these college kids get out in the real world and their boss yells at one of them? Can you imagine their panic when they realize there’s no pony in the next room that they can stroke to make them feel better?  What happens when they have a disagreement with a co-worker?  Will they want to go home because the company doesn’t have a room with coloring books, Legos and Play-Doh?

In real life, sometime you win and sometime you lose. You can’t always have things your way.  If I heard that one of my sons skipped class for a “cry-in,” we would have a “come to Jesus meeting” like you would not believe.

I asked one of the professors at American University if they had any “cry-in” areas or therapy dogs. He replied that he was not aware of any of those things on campus. He said you might find something along the lines of “Trump 2016,” written on the pavement in chalk.

Kristin Tate, the 24-year-old author of “Government Gone Wild,” said it best:  “We are grooming our students to be sensitive crybabies when we need to be showing students how to deal with world situations and how to be adults –there are no ‘safe spaces’ in the real world.”

The therapy dogs weren’t limited to college campuses.  Democratic staffers were so upset over the Trump victory that “therapy dogs” were brought into the U.S. Capitol to soothe their hurt feelings.  Two golden doodles, two American Eskimo dogs, and a beagle mix were walked around the Cannon Office Building where many members of the House of Representatives have offices, according to NBC News.

safe-zone-hilary-2

Gary J. Head Shot

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

Sources:  Multiple media and news sources.

 

Are Blacks Better or Worse Under Obama?  Depends On Who You Ask and What You Want To Believe

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

September 5, 2016

One of the topics that consistently comes up in conversations that I have with friends and colleagues is whether or not black people have prospered or been hurt by President Obama’s economic and social policies.  That depends on who you ask and what you want to believe.  This article is about the President’s policies.  This is not about Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and the great role models they have been as a married couple and as parents who are raising two wonderful and well-behaved daughters.

This article is a “prop for discussion” about the President’s policies.

According to most economists, the economic policy of the Obama administration is a combination of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and increased public services such as scientific research, infrastructure, health care reform and education meant to boost the economy and future prospects.  The President advocates using government regulations to stem what he believes to be crony capitalism. and tax revenue to stabilize and promote economic growth.

Critics claim that the President wants to “redistribute wealth” and take from the rich and give to the poor.

What does all of that mean?  Has that policy been effective?  Let’s explore this and see what we can conclude.

Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Tavis Smiley, the president of the NAACP are among those who say black have fared worse under President Obama and his policies.

A recent Gallop poll, Mother Jones and President Obama contend that blacks have done well under his policies.

Sean and Barack

The topic was raised again on Sunday, September 4, when rapper turned mogul Sean “P Diddy” Combs said on Rev. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC television show, “This is politics. You put somebody in office you get in return the things that you care about for your communities. I think we got a little bit shortchanged. That’s not knocking the president. …He’s done an excellent job, you know, but I think it’s time to turn up the heat because the black vote is going to decide who is the next president of the United States.”

Combs who recently opened a charter school in Harlem is an Obama supporter who also donated money to Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate race, wants black people to get something tangible for their political support.

The polls say one thing and the facts say something else.  I did some research, probably not enough to satisfy everyone, but there’s enough empirical facts and data to help you make decision one way or the other.  Keep in mind there is a difference between an opinion poll and facts.  When it comes to this President, my experience has been that some people ignore the facts and believe what they want to believe.

In an effort to be transparent, I will share my position.  Economically, I suffered the first 2 years of President Obama’s time in office and prospered since 2010.  In fact, 2016 has been my best year since 2001.

So let’s look at the polls and the data.  A new Gallup poll published in September 2016 that measures the well-being of Americans, most people across all racial and ethnic groups actually say their lives have largely improved under President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama Thumbs Up

“The percentage of US whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians who are thriving have all increased during the Obama era,” Gallup reported.

The poll asked participants to register whether they believed they were “thriving, struggling, or suffering” and found that 55.4 % of Americans considered themselves to be “thriving”—the highest percentage recorded by Gallup since it started measuring this evaluation nine years ago.  Blacks reported their lives improved under Obama’s first term but declined during his second term.

free spirit mansion

Broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley, a longtime critic of President Obama has claimed for years that black people have lost ground in every major economic category.  Based on the Obama administration’s statistics by the most basic economic-performance metrics — with one key exception — black Americans are worse off now than when Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009. The one bright spot is the unemployment rate. For black Americans overall, that number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has decreased by about 30%.

During Obama’s tenure, the percentage of black Americans struggling below the poverty line has advanced, according to the most recent Census Bureau data, from 25.8 in 2009 to 26.2 in 2014 — up 1.6 percent. Real median income among black households during those years, according to the Census Bureau, sank from $35,954 to $35,398 — down 1.5 percent.

The number of black food-stamp participants exploded from 7,393,000 to 11,699,000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports — up 58.2 percent. Also, from Obama’s oath of office through the fourth quarter of 2015, the percentage of black Americans who own homes decreased from 46.1 %to 41.9 %, according to the Census — down 9.1 %.

“After seven years of President Obama’s experiment with bigger government, more spending, and higher taxes, the result is an economy that is underperforming and denying opportunity to millions of Americans,” lamented House Budget chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.).

The 2015 State of Black America Report, Urban League president Marc Morial complained that “Black America remains in a recession and remains in crisis when it comes to jobs and the economy.” He continued: “Black unemployment is twice that of white unemployment. Wages are stagnant. Many people who are working are simply not earning what they need or should earn to make ends meet.” The Urban League’s National Equality Index found black Americans going backwards economically, from 57.4 % equality with whites in 2009 to 55.8 % in 2015 — down 2.8 %.

Barack Unemployment

Here are some basic facts about life in black America under President Barack Obama written by Demetrius Minor of the Independent Journal Review.

  1. In spite of Obama’s $275 billion in housing-market bailouts, home ownership has waned.
  2. In the first quarter of 2009, 67.3% of Americans owned homes. By the first quarter of 2014, the Census Bureau figure was 64.8%.
  3. Black home ownership has sagged from 46.1% in 2009 to 43.3% in 2014.
  4. The poverty rate for blacks is now 25.8%.
  5. Fewer than half of young black men are working a full-time job.
  6. The black workforce is decreasing, down from 58.6% in June 2007 to 52.8% in August 2012.
  7. The median minority family’s income is now almost fifth lower than it was when Obama took office with a net worth of just $18,100.
  8. In contrast, white median wealth has increased by 1% to $142,000.
  9. In 2009, white households were 7 times richer than black households. Now, white households are 8 times richer.

Conservative columnist and radio show host Larry Elder wrote about the increase in black poverty under Obama last year.  In 2009, when Obama took office, the black poverty rate was 25.8 percent. As of 2014, according to Pew Research Center, the black poverty rate was 27.2 percent.

There is more data that can make the argument one way or the other.  What do you think?  Have you been better off under President Obama’s policies?

Scroll down and leave your comments below.

Gary J. Head Shot

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

To learn more about Gary click here.

 

Remembering Muhammad Ali

By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher, Black Men In America.com

Posted June 4, 2016

Ali RIP

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

Posted June 4, 2016

He was a 3 time World Heavyweight boxing champion.  He was also a world citizen and a principled and courageous man known by the world as The Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) and to be honest, given his total body of work, I’m not sure if the word “greatest” is good enough.  I can make an argument that that word is not big enough.  The “GREATEST” compared to what?  I’m not sure if I can come up with the appropriate word, so I guess for now, the “GREATEST” will have to do.

Ali died Friday, June 3, 2016, at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications.  He was 74.

“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his legendary verbal grace and his physical dexterity.  A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ali and Lonnie

Muhammad Ali was more than a boxer or athlete.  Ali converted to Islam and refused to serve in the Vietnam War and was vilified by both black and white America for not supporting the war, a war that he believed to be unjust.  Ali was stripped of his boxing title during the prime of his career and was unable to earn a living.  Year later, Ali became an emblem of strength, eloquence, conscience and courage. Ali was an anti-establishment showman who transcended borders and barriers, race and religion.

Ali and Frazier

Much has and will be written about Muhammad Ali.  He was far from perfect and at times, even cruel.  For example, I did not like the way he talked about and treated Joe Frazier during the build up to their first fight in 1971.  Unable to earn a living as a boxer, Ali earned a living by going on the lecture circuit and accepting money from people.  One of those people who gave Ali money was Joe Frazier.  Years later, Ali apologized for his behavior toward Frazier.  Together, those two made boxing history with their paydays and for participating in 3 of the most memorable fights in history, particularly their third bout known as “The Thrilla in Manila.”  In that fight, Joe Frazier was not allowed to answer the bell rendering the fight to Ali.  Later, Ali said, that fight was as close to death as he had ever been.

Ali Thrilla in Manila

Several years ago I had the pleasure of flying to Phoenix, Arizona to conduct a workshop.  I was seated in the First Class section of the plane and took a seat next to Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s 4th white.  It was a long flight from Washington, DC to Phoenix.  Fortunately for me, Lonnie Ali did not mind talking about her iconic husband.  It was a great

There are dozens of documentaries about his life and career.  You don’t need me to tell you about his life and accomplishments.  For you younger people or those who don’t know much about Muhammad Ali, go to YouTube and watch Muhammad Ali on the “Dick Cavett Show,” or Ali on the “Mike Douglas” show or Ali with giving our own Harold Bell the first exclusive interview when he returned to the country after winning the championship in Zaire by defeating George Foreman.  I simply wanted to take time to pay respect to a man who inspired me as a young boy to speak up for what was right.  Muhammad Ali used his platform as the most recognized figure in the world, to make the world better by urging people to practice peace and love.  Muhammad Ali became one of the most influential and cultural figures of the 20th Century.  To me he was a symbol of peace and courage.  I define courage as “the willingness to act on what you believe to be true.”

I don’t want to hear about any of today’s athlete being on par with Muhammad Ali.  Get the hell outta here.  Today’s athlete is not talking about anything that matters on a level of what Muhammad Ali was talking about.  Ali was talking about the impact of war, civil rights, freedom speech in the segregated 1960’s when this country was divided.  Ali spoke the truth and was completely unafraid to take on the United States government.

Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali
Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali

Feel free to leave your comments about Muhammad Ali and what he meant to you in the “Comments” section below.

Ali Count

Click on the link below to watch the documentary “Muhammad Ali:  The Greatest of All Time”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kHo32RZD9M

USA Today compiled a list of 30 quotes (in no particular order) by Muhammad Ali.  These quotes are give you a small glimpse into the Muhammad Ali, “The Man.”

Muhammad-Ali-I-am-the-Greatest.-I-said-that-even-before-I-knew-I-was.

1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.

2. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

3. “I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”

4. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

5. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”

Muhammad Ali Greatest Poster

6. “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

7. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

8. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”

9. “Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.”

10. “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

11. “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”

12. “I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”

14. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

15. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

16. “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

17. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”

18. “I shook up the world. Me! Whee!”

20. “At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”

21. “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”

22. “He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”

23. “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”

24. “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”

25. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

Ali and Elvis
Ali and Elvis

26. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

27. “I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.”

28. “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”

29. “I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.”

30. “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”

Ali2

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the Passing of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest.  Period.  If you just asked him, he’d tell you.  He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing.  But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston.  I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right.  A man who fought for us.  He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t.  His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing.  It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail.  But Ali stood his ground.  And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course.  For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved.  But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves.  Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.  We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest.  We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world.  And the world is better for it.  We are all better for it.  Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

President Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali
President Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali

You can also learn more about Muhammad Ali by visiting his website www.muhammadali.com.

 

Sports Analytics Sparked by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

March 28, 2016

The latest buzzword in sports these days has to do with “analytics” also known as “sports metrics.”  Sports analytics is a big deal.  If you listen to sports talk radio or watch sports on TV, someone during the broadcast is going to make a reference to analytics.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon started a firestorm earlier this week with his article in the ESPN backed magazine “The Undefeated” with a mission to focus on race and sports.  Sports journalist Jason Whitlock was tapped by ESPN to lead the charge of “The Undefeated.” Wilbon’s article is Mission Impossible: African-Americans & Analytics: Why blacks are not feeling the sports metrics movement.”

Wilbon1Analytics5

“The Undefeated” was ESPN president John Skipper’s idea. It was Skipper who hired Whitlock and made him Editor-in-Chief.  The site suffered numerous and sometimes curious delays for over a year and a half.  Whitlock, who was not known for being a manager of people appears to have “shot himself” with a bunch of rants and bad management decisions.  In describing his vision for “The Undefeated,” Whitlock was quoted saying:  “I wanted to build a website, The Undefeated, dedicated to examining the intersection of sports, race and culture because I believe locker rooms, stadiums, arenas, and teams epitomize and best utilize America’s diversity.”

Jayson Whitlock
Jayson WhitlockIn late April, Deadspin ran a 10,000-word story titled How Jason Whitlock is Poisoning ESPN’s ‘Black Grantland,’” which detailed Whitlock’s difficulty attracting talent to the site, and the striking dysfunctions in his management of those who had joined it.

Every major professional sports team either has an analytics department.  Any team that doesn’t have a robust analytics capability is thought to be at a competitive disadvantage.

Everyone is not on the sports analytics bandwagon.  Take NBA great and now TNT network studio analyst Charles Barkley.  Barkley hates analytics.  Listen to what “Sir Charles” had to say:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZf9NFaCQHQ

Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith

Now check out ESPN “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith talking about Michael Wilbon and his column on sports analytics column.

For a real expert opinion, check out sports pioneer Harold Bell’s column on this subject:

ESPN’S WILBON UNDEFEATED? HIDING BEHIND THE NUMBERS ANALYTICS AND RACISM DON’T ADD UP!

Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali
Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali

By Harold Bell

It does not take a genius to count from zero to two or to understand pro sports and major media outlets are the last plantations in America.

For example, in 2016 the NHL has zero ownership, MLB has zero ownership, NFL has zero ownership, NBA has one black owner and many in the black community thinks he should be designated as “Other.” It is not about jobs in the black community its about ownership.

The NHL is led by a racist by the name of Gary Bettman and this is not based on he say, she say. I was up close and personal with Bettman (NBA Counselor), Ron Thorn (NBA VP) and Horace Balmer (Head of Security) in NY City in 1978.

I was there with John Phillips who was the Director of Basketball Marketing representing Nike.

In 1977 Nike sponsored a trip to the Bahamas, the home of NBA star Mychal Thompson of the L. A. Lakers (son Klay Thompson). The trip was in conjunction with a charity All-Star Game with other members of the NBA that included Magic Johnson.

The league balked at the 1978 game and John was called to New York City for a meeting in the league office. This is where I met Bettman and his henchmen, Thorn and Balmer.

The meeting got off to a cordial beginning with everyone smiling and shaking hands, but once the discussion started, Bettman claimed the game could not be played. When John asked the question, “Why?”  Bettman’s response was, “Because we own the players!”

I jumped up from the table and said “I beg your pardon, are you saying the players are slaves”? All hell broke loose and the meeting had to be adjourned to a later time and place. We never met again and that is how I remember Bettman. He showed his true colors. It was then I understood why Irving Johnson was named “Magic” he disappeared like a puff of smoke leaving me and John Phillips holding the bag.

In 2016, there are no “major media” outlets own by black folks (newspapers, radio and television). The 1% who control all the wealth can be found in their Ivory Mansions and luxury suites in sports arenas throughout America enjoying combat between the lions and their slaves. If you have any doubts that the plantation mentality is a figment of my imagination, look no further then Washington, DC, the Nation’s Capitol—its taxation without representation!

Wilbon, has been called “One of the most respected sports journalist in America and a pioneer”??? He would have us to believe, that the reason behind this country’s racist charade are ‘Analytics’? Come on man!

For example; was it analytics that got winning coaches Tony Dungee, Mark Jackson and Lionel Hollins fired.  Sonny Hill got kicked to the curb by CBS back in the day?

Remember, this is the same Michael Wilbon who as a sports columnist while at the Washington Post, claimed his sports editor George Solomon looked over his shoulder and told him what to write and what not to write. Why should we think anything has changed?

Michael Wilbon and Harold Bell
Michael Wilbon and Harold Bell

Remember, this is the same Michael Wilbon who volunteered and told me in the NBA Wizards’ press room, “ESPN wants me to appear on a segment of “Outside the Lines” to discuss the “N word,” but I have decided not to appear because the white host has no horse in the race”!

I was impressed, because he was finally taking a stand. He had been “A go along to get along Negro his entire media career.”

The following Sunday, who do I see sitting on the set of “Outside the Lines,” with the white host who had no horse in the race discussing the “N-word?  Michael Wilbon.

Major media outlets like “The Undefeated,” are still trying to dictate to us who our heroes are and who they are not. Our heroes are definitely not “Go along to get along Negroes.”

Nine out of ten barber shops in the inner-city will say “No” to Michael Wilbon and his partner in deceit, Stephan A. Smith, because they speak with ‘Fork Tongues’.

Want to read the rest of the article? 

Click here to go to Harold Bell’s blog, “The Original Inside Sports.

Photo credit:  Jason Whitlock photo courtesy John Amis/AP

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

To learn more about Gary click here.

 

The Facts About Welfare

Welfare Dollar Sign

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com Staff

Posted March 12, 2016

I was in the check-out line in the grocery store today.  Let me set the scene.  Friday evening during the 5:00 pm hour.  In my view, there were not enough Cashier’s so the lines were long.  There was a young black woman in front of me with an infant baby and a full cart of groceries.  (I can hear some of you yelling at me now:  “C’mon Gary, what does their race have to do with anything?  You always see things through a racial prism).  That is correct.  Read the entire story and then decide if you want to put me on blast).

The check out process was slowed because the young woman was using a several vouchers.  The Cashier had to stop periodically and process the vouchers one at a time after scanning certain items.  Some of the scanned items had to be removed because they could not be purchased with a particular voucher.  At one point our line did not move for minutes because of this voucher activity.  There were two middle age black women behind me who were pissed!   They starting making comments that could be heard by anyone within a 25-foot radius. This is some of what I heard from the two women in line behind me:  “What the hell is the hold up?”  “Looks like she got some vouchers.”  “Damn, how long is it going to take to process this welfare queen?”  “You see that purse?  “That doesn’t look like welfare to me.”  “I wonder how many more kids she has at home.”  “I bet she’s driving a nice car.”  “Those people are always gaming the system.”

Wow!  I ignored the first couple of statements hoping they ladies would either stop talking or at least lower their voice.  That didn’t happen.  I was trying to figure out a way to add some calm to this situation without causing an incident.  The last thing I needed on a Friday afternoon was a scuffle in the grocery store with three women over welfare.

The young woman heard the comments.  She appeared to be upset that she could not get the Cashier to process the vouchers faster.  The cashier had to scan the items and then insert the voucher into a machine and then the woman had to sign her name on the back of the voucher.  None of this was electronic.   This process was repeated five times.  At one point the young woman turned to me and said, “I’m sorry.”  I smiled and replied loudly, “Handle your business young lady, I’m not in a hurry.”  I stared at the baby and was reminded that I have a granddaughter around the same age.  That’s when I decided to strike up a conversation with the woman.  I asked if that was her daughter.  She replied, “Yes,” (with pride).  I told her that her daughter was a “cutie pie” and very well-behaved.  That young woman is somebody’s daughter or granddaughter.  She’s someone who matters to someone.

Welfare Mom-Daughter

The two women behind me were still sighing out loud and making comments about how the line is not moving because of this woman and her vouchers.  For the record, at no point did I think the two women behind me were “bad people.”  I thought they were grossly misinformed about the facts about people who receive welfare benefits.

Many people feel ashamed and scrutinized because of the myths and stereotypes that exist about people on welfare.  Need-based assistance in the U.S. — such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — is often subject to public scrutiny, causing those who receive it to feel shame.  These stereotypes are so strong and have been around for so long that even black people have bought into them.  These statements are not based on the facts.

Last year Gene Alday, a Republican member of the Mississippi state legislature, apologized for telling a reporter that all the African-Americans in his hometown of Walls, Mississippi, are unemployed and on food stamps.  “I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks,'” Alday said to a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper. “They don’t work.”

Let’s look at the data and analyze the FACTS. 

Nationally, most of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are white.  According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.

Welfare Chart 2016

The SNAP program is one of the nation’s largest welfare programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported that the program has gone from 17 million recipients in 2000 to almost 47 million last year.  Earlier this year, it was reported that one in five children in the U.S. now relies on food stamps for at least some meals each day.

About 7 months ago, more than 30 people were arrested for food stamp fraud in the North Country of Brushton, NY.  All of the people arrested were white.  Investigators reported that people used their food stamps to get food or alcohol at the Old Time Butcher Block store in Brushton.

Welfare Cheats 2016

Let me highlight what I believe are several common myths about welfare recipients and introduce some facts and data that I think will help us all gain a better understanding of the program.

Myth #1: Welfare recipients are often characterized as lazy, simply waiting for the next month’s benefits.

Fact:  73% of people receiving public benefits are members of working families.  Even though welfare recipients are in the labor force, they aren’t earning enough money to support a family and provide food for their children and pay bills, such as rent and utilities.

Myth #2: Welfare recipients are mostly people of color.

Fact: 40% of SNAP recipients are white, making white people the largest racial group on food stamps.  When it comes to TANF recipients, approximately 30% are white, 30% are Latino and 30% are black, with several other racial groups making up the remaining 10% of recipients.

Myth #3: Undocumented populations are stealing welfare benefits from citizens.

Fact: Undocumented populations are ineligible for all welfare programs, except emergency medical care.  “It’s illegal to afford public benefits of the TANF or food stamp variety to undocumented immigrants … who have not been in this country for a situated amount of time as legal residents.  For example, food stamps are only available to immigrants with legal status who have lived in the country for five years, are receiving disability-related assistance or are under 18 years old.  Some programs also allow states to make their own guidelines for immigrant populations, leading to disparities in assistance from state to state.

Myth #4:  People are getting rich off of welfare.

Fact: No one is getting rich off of welfare.  Welfare benefits are modest.  The average benefit of the SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps is $1.50 per meal.  Can you adequately feed yourself on that small amount of money?  Similar to SNAP, most other government assistance programs seek to provide only the barest minimum amount of help that an individual or family needs to survive.

Myth #5:  Welfare doesn’t work.

Fact: Government assistance is extremely effective at helping people get out of—and stay out of—poverty.  In 2013, food stamps helped lessen the burden of poverty for 4.8 million people. 

Welfare Pic

Many people fall on hard times and receive welfare benefits until their situation improves.  Some of those people are decorated war veterans, educators and hard working people who don’t earn enough money to support their families.  Government assistance in the form of childcare resources have helped a single mother or father keep their family together during an illness.  None of us knows when life will throw us a pitch that we can’t hit and we may need help from the government.  Any one of us may need to rely on welfare at some point in our lives.  Some people on welfare are hard-working and talented people who fell on hard times through no fault of their own. Realizing this is just one important step to building empathy and understanding for those who are less fortunate than us.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am thankful for those blessings and do not take them for granted.  The reality is that there are millions of people who truly need these government programs to help them get back on their feet.  And you never know—someday, we might be one of “those people.”

 

Gary J. Head Shot

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In America.com Dating and the Black Men In America.com Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help Page.com, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

To learn more about Gary click here.

 

10 Worst Mistakes People Make After Retirement

Black Mental Health 2couple13_article-small_14652

March 5, 2016

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

“I’ve worked years for my money…now it’s time for money to work for me.” – Gary Johnson

Thanks to our new contributor Mr. Free Spirit, all of us at Black Men In America.com have a heightened sense of awareness about what it takes to live a “good life” after you retire.   Money mistakes are a common learning experience from which we can all grow, but when you are already in your retirement phase, the results can be a little more catastrophic. It’s much easier to recover from mistakes when you are younger but retirees are depending on that nest egg and their ability to replenish savings is greatly diminished.

Financial Advisor Talking To Senior Couple At Home

I listed the 10 Worst Mistakes People Make After Retirement.  If you want more detail pertaining to a particular “mistake” simply click on the link to read more information:

  1. Not Changing Lifestyle After Retirement
  2. Failing to Move to More Conservative Investments
  3. Applying for Social Security Too Early
  4. Spending Too Much Money Too Soon
  5. Failure To Be Aware Of Frauds and Scams
  6. Cashing Out Pension Too Soon
  7. Not Being Effective Tax-Wise During Retirement
  8. Supporting Adult Working Children
  9. Being House-Rich but Cash-Poor
  10. Not Staying Active Socially and Physically

I also discovered a Senior Living Archives that you might find helpful.  Between this archives section and our archives of Mr. Free Spirit you have a pool of relevant articles and tips on how to prepare for your retirement, maximize the quality of your life and how to get the most out of your money.

Retirement Sign

Here are a few articles worth reading.

  1. 10 Reasons Many People Never Retire

  2. 8 Ways to Make Your Retirement Savings Last

  3. Why African Americans Should Care About Social Security

  4. How Home Ownership Keeps Blacks Poorer Than Whites

Couple counting money --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis

Do you have any retirement related comments, advice or stories?  If so, scroll down to the bottom of the page and share them in our “Comments” section.

Source:  The Financial World.com

Couple counting money — Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis

The N-Word: An Interactive Project Exploring a Singular Word

nword-promo-4x3

By Gary A. Johnson

The Washington Post has a fascinating interactive project exploring the use of the N-word.  Written by Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson with contributions by Lonnae O’Neal Parker, this N-word project is described by the Washington Post as follows:

“Following several incidents involving players using the n-word, the National Football League this year instructed game officials to penalize players who used the word on the field of play. The policy, though, was widely criticized as being heavy-handed and out of touch. As the league wrestled with the issue, a team of Washington Post journalists examined the history of this singular American word, its spread through popular culture and its place in the vernacular today.”

In short, this project features 34 people, 9 questions and 1 word.

According to search data on the social media analytics website Topsy.com, the word is used 500,000 times a day on Twitter — as “nigga.”

The N word project allows you to select several topic areas that lead to a custom video.  You can also watch and listen to 34 conversations or start a conversation by posting a question about the N-word and sharing it with your network.

Here’s a sample of some of the aspects of the word explored in this project:

  • Are we giving the word too much power or is the word just that powerful?
  • Why would anyone willingly use a word that’s only meaning is one designed to make someone feel bad for being born the way they are.
  • Why do white people want to use a word that would only make situations awkward in the context of their skin color?
  • Does avoiding the word actually deconstruct racism, or does it simply hide ongoing prejudice under a veneer of political correctness?
  • Why is it okay for African-Americans to say it, but only okay for whites to say the n-word when an African-American gives them a “pass”?

Click here to get started and join the conversation.

Photos courtesy Nikki Kahn and Michael S. Williamson

GJohnson 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.

Are We More Accepting Of Obesity In The Black Community?

Obese Man

By Gary A. Johnson

Americans are getting fatter and fatter by the year.  There’s no other way to put it.  Health and weight statistics for black Americans is even worse.

According to the publication Health, United States, 2013, 38% of black men in America are considered to be obese compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overweight or obese is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 pounds or more.

A 2013 study from the American Psychological Association reported that about 60 percent of black women are obese compared to 32 percent white women and 41 percent Latino women.

Carrying around those extra pounds increases the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes and High Blood Pressure – two diseases that disproportionately affect the black community.

Being overweight also increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. In fact, obesity could become more dangerous for your health than smoking cigarettes.

Yet, in the black community, many folks believe or have convinced themselves that being “big boned” is more acceptable.  We need to STOP that thinking right now.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you have read about my struggle to lose weight.  If you’ve ever visited my Instagram page, most of the pictures are of food that I cooked and then ate.  I’m a damn good cook.  I suffer for my food.

I am putting myself out there.  I am obese and my condition developed as a result of making a serious of poor choices over the past 20 years.  I went from weighing 195 lbs to my current weight of 310 lbs.

At one point I was carrying 324 lbs on this 6′ 4″ frame.  Fortunately for me, my body has been good to me.  I never smoked, used alcohol or drugs and I don’t drink sodas.  My weakness is food.  I am an emotional eater and I love to cook and eat.

Gary J.

Here I am “walking the trail” on top of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at National Harbor on the DC side.

Lately, I’ve been able to reverse some of these negative health effects.  Two years ago I gave up sugary fruit juice drinks.  I drink mostly water, green smoothies or a combination of Braggs Organic Vinegar and water.  If I drink tea, I don’t use sugar.  I will start my day with low-sodium vegetable juice in place of Orange juice.  These simple choices have made a difference in my health.  My last blood pressure reading was 116/78.  Not bad for a 300+ pound guy.  I started exercising (cycling, walking and weights) consistently and stopped eating at fast food restaurants.  I also started buying healthier and organic foods.  This costs more but I think it’s worth it.

Make no mistake.  I have a long way to go and need support.  I have lost over 30 lbs 4 times over the last 15 years.  The difference this time is that I am doing it sensibly (slow and steady).  No fad or crash diets. Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth the pain and effort?  Yes!

“Many African-American women view being obese as part of their culture,” says Thaddeus Bell, M.D., a family practitioner in South Carolina, in an online interview for icyou.com. It is understood within the African-American community that curvy, overweight women are considered more appealing to black men than normal- or under-weight women. There is almost a reverse distortion of body image – with thicker women fighting weight-loss and slender women wanting to gain weight in order to be accepted.

Obese Woman

This may account for the staggering statistic that 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. It is even more alarming that some of these women are making a choice to live at an unhealthy weight. African-American women of all ages report less exercise than their white counterparts. “Many of them feel that it’s not feminine or they’re afraid to sweat because it will ruin their hairstyle,” adds Dr. Bell.

Other hindrances include not having child care, not having enough time to be physically active, and not feeling safe being active in their neighborhoods.

African-American men aren’t off the hook either. African-American men also exercise less than white women, and have the highest prevalence of obesity among all male ethnic groups.

However, African-American men are more active than their female counterparts, which may be the reason that only 28.8 percent are obese, compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.

There is an interesting video called “Dealing with Obesity in the Black Community” on YouTube by Walter Lee Hampton II.  This is a no non-sense video about exercise, eating and living a healthier life.  I would also recommend reading Obesity and the Black American:  Causes, Culture, Consequences, and Costs.”
GJohnson 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.

 

The Ray Rice Apology:  Two Points of View

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

August 4, 2014
By Gary A. Johnson with contributions from Mildred Muhammad

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, this topic is considered to be “old news.” 4 days ago Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice, the modern day poster child for domestic violence held a press conference where he spoke for the first time since being arrested for knocking his fiancé unconscious at an Atlantic City casino in February. The NFL “punished” Rice with a two game suspension, which was widely regarded by most sports media observers as insufficient. The length of the suspension, compared with others handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell caused a firestorm of debate. The suspension was so controversial that at least one sports/media broadcaster (Keith Olberman) has called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign his position immediately.

Most of you have probably seen the TMZ video of Ray Rice dragging his then unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City on Valentine’s Day. Rice is seen holding up a motionless Palmer from behind — his arms hooked under her arms and shoulders — dragging her out of the elevator before plopping her down in front of the elevator doors and at one point kicking at her feet. I found that footage to be troubling and disturbing.

I watched the press conference live. I listened attentively in an effort to determine if this guy understands what he did and is truly sorry for his actions. Or was this Ray Rice’s attempt at damage control in an effort to keep his sponsors on-board and save his public image?

Here are two takes (opinions) on this topic. My take and the expert take or opinion of my friend and domestic violence expert Mildred Muhammad. I specifically asked Mildred to share any opinions or insights that she had about the Ray Rice apology. I want to educate myself and others about domestic violence and I want to learn from those who know more about this topic than I do.

Gary’s Take: I have never been a victim of domestic violence, but I have witnessed incidents with family and friends. After watching Ray Rice’s press conference I thought he came off as an individual who is on the right path. He is seeking counseling and it appears to get “it.” I base my assessment on the following observations:

  • Ray Rice had some prepared notes and folded them up and spoke extemporaneously from his heart.
  • He apologized to his wife, his daughter, his wife’s parents, the community, etc.
  • He consistently used the phrase “domestic violence.”
  • He said he took responsibility for his actions and noted that he is in therapy/counseling for what he described as the worst action of his life.
  • He said that when he gets right, that he will commit his life to helping victims of domestic violence.

And yet, there were aspects of that press conference that made me feel uncomfortable. At one point during his press conference Ray Rice said the following: “My actions that night were totally inexcusable. That’s not me. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life.” That’s not me? 

Ray, that was you.  The video does not lie.  Hopefully, continued counseling will help you come to terms that that was you.

Mildred

Mildred’s Take: First off, Ray Rice has been going through counseling. It’s a positive step that he apologized to his wife, (which he forgot to do in their joint press conference a few weeks earlier). It’s good that Ray apologized for his actions and took responsibility for what he did.

However, he’s positioning himself as a victim as well. He’s connecting his pain with his wife’s’ pain and her pain with his pain when the two are not the same. He knocked her out; she didn’t do that to him. Whatever she did to him in that elevator did not warrant him knocking her out. There are ways you can defend yourself without brutal force. We are talking about a running back who is tackled by 300 or so pound men. He’s hit all the time. A man has to realize that the power behind his punch, shove or hit is so much more than a woman.

His pain is associated with the shame of being captured on tape and how he let everyone down (his mother, her parents, coaches, teammates, etc). Had this not been publicized, we would not be having this discussion.

Ray Rice said his pain is associated with his daughter and how he will have to explain what he did to her mother. He did not speak to or discuss his wife’s pain or what she must be feeling and how this has affected her. On the other hand perhaps he shouldn’t. She is the only one who can speak to this and I don’t believe we will hear from her. She is being counseled and protected during this time, as she should be. I know she is in a lot of pain and probably blaming herself.

He did speak for his wife when he promised that “when the time is right” he and his wife would become active in raising awareness about domestic violence. Everything he says, he includes her instead of just speaking for himself. He speaks like he was the one assaulted and he is going to go out and speak to the world about domestic violence. I don’t think Ray Rice understands that he will be speaking as an abuser.

He doesn’t want to talk about what happened in the elevator because, during his counseling, he was made aware that he was wrong. If he says in public what happened in that elevator, he will make his situation worse. Right now, it sounds like he feels he was wronged. He’s speaking to two different things in one interview.

I hope Ray Rice continues his counseling so he can come to accept what he did and will be able to separate his pain from his wife’s pain.

What do you think?

Mildred D. Muhammad is the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammad – the convicted and executed DC sniper who terrorized the Washington DC metropolitan area in late 2002. To learn more about Mildred and her work via her website Mildred Muhammad.com and through our main website at Black Men In America.com.

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.” 

 

This Ross Is The Boss Too!

Rhonda Ross Pic

Rhonda Ross Logo

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

Last night, I had the pleasure of having front row seats to see singer Rhonda Ross perform at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, located just across the Washington, DC line in Bethesda, MD.  I also met Ms. Ross after the show.  Rhonda Ross is the daughter of singing legend Diana Ross and Motown-Founder, Berry Gordy, Jr.  This Ms. Ross proved that she too can be the BOSS and in a very different kind of way. 

Rhonda Ross is a singer, songwriter, actress and writer.  One of the things I learned about Rhonda is that she is most proud of being a mother and co-parent with her husband of 15 years Rodney Kendrick.

Make no mistake, Rhonda Ross is NOT trying to be her mother.  She is carving out her own path and establishing her own musical identity.  Rhonda holds her mother in the highest regard–as a mother, but she is not trying to emulate Diana Ross the singer.  I’ve seen Diana Ross perform live and there are some similarities.  Rhonda Ross has stage presence like her mother.  When Rhonda stood center stage in that long flowing dress with her arms outstretched, she reminded me of Diana Ross.  That’s where the comparisons end.  Rhonda sings in a slightly lower register and has a stronger voice.

Rhonda Ross

I would describe Rhonda Ross’ as a Neo-Soul and jazz song stylist.  In my view, Rhonda Ross’ music is purposeful and inspiring, largely due to the fact that she writes a lot of her music.  Last night Rhonda spoke with the audience between songs.  It was clear to me that she is a spiritual and religious woman with a lot of inner strength.  When she sang the song “Nobody’s Business,” she explained that “your joy comes from the inside and that it’s nobody else’s job to make you happy.”

Ross’ live performance moved her and some in the audience to tears when she sang a song that she wrote that pays tribute to her mother.  Other songs were motivating and inspiring.  There were probably more women in the audience than men.  The Masters of Ceremony (MC) was Dr. Jeff Gardere aka “America’s Psychologist.”  Dr. Jeff reminded the men that we should take heed and listen to the lyrics too.

If you get a chance to see Rhonda Ross perform, do it!  Treat yourself to some nourishing and fulfilling entertainment.  To learn more about Rhonda Ross click here to visit her official website.

I would personally like to thank Miriam Machado-Luces of TVA Media Productions, Ltd and Elva Mason of Mason Management for the royal treatment afforded me.  Ladies you are the best!

I have one last and deserving shout out that goes to Rick Brown, the Proprietor of the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.  Rick you have done a great job.  Everything was great from start to finish including the Coat Check personnel, Wait Staff, Ushers, Bartenders and Chefs.  Your establishment is one of the best kept secrets in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  I will be returning to your supper club soon.

Gary J. & Rhonda Ross

Gary Johnson and Rhonda Ross after the show.

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.

The Fall Of Detroit:  Told In Pictures and Song

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.

Black Men In America.com Administrator
Black Men In America.com is a popular website with a focus on black men. Approximately 45% of our site visitors are women. According to Alexa Internet and Ranking.com, Black Men In America.com is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 most popular web sites (online community) on the Internet in the Ethnic/African/African-American category. Although our focus is on black men, we welcome all people, points of views and perspectives. Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.
×
Black Men In America.com Administrator
Black Men In America.com is a popular website with a focus on black men. Approximately 45% of our site visitors are women. According to Alexa Internet and Ranking.com, Black Men In America.com is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 most popular web sites (online community) on the Internet in the Ethnic/African/African-American category. Although our focus is on black men, we welcome all people, points of views and perspectives. Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.
0

Comments (2)

  1. Pamela Balmer Murphy

    I was looking for an interview with my father, Horace Balmer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.