Within the Black community, there’s a wealth of educators and coaches who has been working for years to help people improve their financial situation, but sometimes they don’t get the same credit as their white counterparts.
A few weeks ago, entrepreneur and sales coach Grant Cardone made headlines for comments over whom he identifies to be 50% of his audience: Black people. He shared that he targets Black people under 40 by employing “street terms,” “not big nomenclature,” and “keeping everything tight and simple.”
His statements during his interview with Lara Trump were problematic for several reasons. Every Black person under 40 is not from the streets. There’s also a negative connotation associated with “the streets,” a term often used about Black people. Someone with a 50% Black audience that brings him millions in income annually should know that. In addition, his statement implied that Black people under 40 are not intelligent or educated enough to understand financial information and need to be addressed in street terms.
In the past, Cardone has made statements that show a lack of cultural sensitivity. For example:
We can invest in learning from coaches and educators who are knowledgeable and culturally aware, not people who see us as dollar signs. Often, we quickly elevate white male leaders and overlook the ones who look like us and who have been doing amazing work for years.
“We cannot be funding the businesses and livelihoods of racist people,” says Rachel Rodgers, founder of Hello Seven and Author of We Should All Be Millionaires tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.
We can align with knowledgeable leaders who also respect us and our community.
Black business and financial coaches to know
Tiffany Aliche, “The Budgenista,” is an award-winning financial education teacher and author of The New York Times bestseller, Get Good With Money. She has helped over 2 million people improve their finances through her Live Richer Academy. In 2019, The Budgenista Law made financial education mandatory in middle schools in New Jersey.
Rachel Rodgers is a best-selling author who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs scale their businesses to well beyond six figures. Hello Seven currently has a membership community of over 2,500. Rodgers has been in business for over a decade, serving small businesses first as an attorney and now as a business coach, after noticing a lack of coaches serving historically excluded communities.(Image: iHeartMedia)
Earn Your Leisure is a financial literacy media company founded by Rashad Bilal, Troy Millings, and Michael Macdonald, providing endless resources to help people elevate their financial situation. What started as a podcast at the intersection of financial literacy and culture has now developed into a movement to provide education and entertainment worldwide.(Image: Instagram/TeriIjeoma)
Teri Ijeoma is the founder of Trade and Travel. Ijeoma, a former school assistant principal, has helped over 30,000 people learn how to trade in the stock market. To date, her course is the most popular in Teachable’s history.John Hope Bryant (Photo courtesy of Bryant)
John Hope Bryant is the founder of Operation Hope Inc., a leading nonprofit dedicated to financial literacy and economic empowerment serving over 4 million people and directing more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities. He is the author of The Memo: 5 Rules for Your Economic Liberation.(Image courtesy of Jatali Bellanton)
Dr. Jatali Bellanton is an investment banker turned financial literacy educator and real estate investor. She has spent the past decade teaching adults and kids about money and wealth building. Her Kids Who Bank curriculum has been taught in close to 300 schools nationwide.
How to protect our communities from culture vultures
We have to do our due diligence when selecting who we want to learn from. Should we trust every Black person to be our coach or educate us? No.
“You have to do your due diligence to make sure that the people you choose to learn from are experienced, have respect for you and your identity, and care about helping you. The best way to know that is to speak to folks who worked with that coach and see what their experience was like,” Rodgers says.
When looking for someone to guide you on your wealth-building journey, here are questions to ask yourself, according to Bellanton: “Have they created the success you would like to achieve? Do you align with their teaching style? Do you agree with their risk tolerance level?”
Once we have done our research, we should value the expertise of the people who look like us just as much as we would that have a white male like Grant Cardone.
We can learn from people from different backgrounds, but who we choose to learn from should respect us and see us as more than a dollar sign.
Farnoosh Torabi, host of the So Money podcast, has repeatedly used her platform to have uncomfortable conversations with her majority white audience about the racial wealth gap and how to close it.(Image: Instagram)
When asked to name a few coaches who are invested in closing the wealth gap, Rodgers didn’t hesitate.
“Pamela Slim, she is an incredible business coach and mentor who is a champion of the causes that affect people of color and has mentored so many young Black entrepreneurs, myself included,” she says. “Susan Hyatt is a coach and expert in real estate and entrepreneurship who has shown a real commitment to using her privilege to direct attention to issues that matter to Black people way before 2020.”
“I would love to see Black coaches who are serving majority Black communities stop putting white men on their stages,” she adds. “We have such a wealth of expertise and knowledge within our own communities, there is no reason why a Black community needs to learn from a white male entrepreneur. I have a personal policy not to put straight cis white men on my stages. The whole world revolves around them; they can find another stage. My stage is reserved for the brilliant speakers, coaches, and experts who share my values and come from a historically excluded background like me.”