For many Black business owners, Juneteenth is a reminder that Black entrepreneurship would not have been possible without the emancipation of slaves. The federal holiday marks a critical moment in history that halted the creation of wealth for white plantation owners and started the hard-fought journey toward Black financial wealth.
Yet because of the social, political, and economic barriers that developed after slavery, achieving Black wealth is a challenge that continues today. According to a Federal Reserve study released in 2020, the median net worth of Black families in the United States was about $24,000, while the approximate median net price for white families was $188,000. Many Black social influencers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders are raising their voices on Juneteenth to spread the message of economic freedom.
“I feel the Juneteenth remembrance should have a level of economic understanding as a part of it,” said Rashad Bilal of the Earn Your Leisure podcast in an interview with CNBC. Troy Millings, the co-host of Earn Your Leisure, agreed with Bilal in the same CNBC interview,
“Maybe it’s not just this holiday, week, or Black History Month. What if we can have this economic conversation daily?”
Many prominent figures in the influencer community agree, especially given the surge of Black-owned businesses in America and the opportunity for Black individuals, families, and communities to generate generational wealth.
LaTasha Woods, an Author, and Financial Literacy Consultant, is on a mission to spread financial literacy and credit education to the Black community, and with reason. According to a 2017 Financial Report, experts forecast that the median wealth of Black households will fall to $0 by 2053 if they don’t look for opportunities to invest. She believes it is crucial to teach the younger generation, in particular, to prevent them from learning through trial and error and get them on the right path to financial freedom as soon as possible.
There are also many inspiring leaders within the entrepreneurial space advocating for financial empowerment for the Black community, individuals, families, and business owners to generate generational wealth. On the Agenda Podcast, Najah Roberts, Founder & CEO of Crypto Blockchain Plug, advised how investing in Bitcoin might be the most incredible opportunity Black Americans have had to close the country’s wealth gap. She stressed the importance of communities having financial sovereignty and control over their money, which can help uplift entire generations. She pointed out that financial literacy is rarely taught in schools, and she believes that’s by design. According to Roberts:
“The Emancipation Proclamation was signed over 150-something years ago. And then, in this country, Black people in America held less than 1% of the wealth. And here we sit, in 2022, and factually, Black folks in America own less than 1% of the wealth. […] Bitcoin allows us to have some self-sovereignty and to be able, for the first time in history, to have control of our money — because he who holds the money rules everything. And so, if we are holders of our money, we can rule our lives. And I’m excited about that for our community.”
In a recent conversation with digitalundivided, Natasha Bansgopaul, Co-Founder & COO of VegaX Holdings, expressed her passion for providing access and opportunities for wealth creation and wealth generation for Black people, urging the community to invest in cryptocurrency:
“This [investing in cryptocurrency] is important because this is one of the few unique wealth generation opportunities we can participate in because we are aware of said wealth opportunity before it has happened.”
Kezia Williams, an emancipation activist, is the CEO of Black upStart, a company that provides education and support to early-stage entrepreneurs. For years, she has inspired Black consumers to support Black-owned businesses on Juneteenth and post their receipts with the hashtag #myBlackReceipt.
In an interview with CNBC, Williams advised, “Invest in those Black entrepreneurs who will use those dollars that you spend with their business to give back to their communities and create products and services that our community needs and also build wealth for their family that can yield generational returns.”
While celebrating Black achievement this Juneteenth, let’s all also continue to build pathways towards financial freedom for the Black community and get one step closer to ending the racial wealth gap. Check out these Black-owned businesses that you can support this Juneteenth!