Competition to Give Rapper $1,000 for Spitting 16 Bars on Financial Literacy - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

After receiving over 100 song submissions, a new rap competition aimed at enlarging the insight of young African Americans about the finance world has been trimmed to 25 tracks. The just-announced shortlist comes after the launch in July of Stock Market Tracks, a rap competition collaboration by Invstr and STEAM16 that aims to “teach the world about finance one bar at a time.”

A fantasy finance and mobile investing app aimed to educate the next generation of investors, Invstr is offering the contest to empower youth and enhance their understanding of Wall Street. The winner will be selected from the shortlist on Oct. 1 and collect a $1,000 first place-cash prize. A whopping 22 of the 25 tracks on the shortlist were from black artists. To listen to all the music videos, visit Stock Market Tracks’ Instagram page, @StockMarketTracks.

The criteria for selecting the top 25 tracks included staying on topic, using clean language, following the guidelines of 16 bars per one minute, along with video and lyric quality. While most similar competitions are about finding the best singer/performer, the goal of Stock Market Tracks is to educate through entertainment and promote financial literacy. Organizers leveraged the competition to make the stock market something young people talk about.

While some progress has been made in recent years, the event comes as African Americans under 40 are investing in the stock market at lower rates than their white peers. The data showed the investment patterns for blacks in other age groups were also less than for whites. Another survey revealed that only 23% of millennials aged 18 to 37 report that the stock market is the best place to put the money they won’t need for 10 years or more.

Ron Livingston, the founder of STEAM 16, a New York City-based youth group that educates youth in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) fields by using rap music, says the competition is just one way that the org plans to get young people interested in the stock market.

“This is a first step, and one that we hope will change people’s minds about stock market investing,” Livingston told Black Enterprise. “In the African American community, we talk a lot about power through ownership and investing. But investing isn’t just about buying real estate, which can lead to a lot of debt and credit issues if not done properly.”

He added, “It’s also about investing in the stock market—which you can use your mobile phone to do right now via apps like Invstr that make investing easy and accessible for all. You can buy a low-cap stock on your phone at $1 and potentially watch it grow to $2 and more over time. We hope that contests like ours, and investing education in general, will democratize the stock market and encourages people of all backgrounds to invest.”