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Black Community Should Heed Damon Dash's Advice on Entrepreneurship

by Todd A. Smith

 

Hustle for the Next Generation

 

Many adjectives can describe former hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, and usually not those of the fluffy variety.


Words like bold, brash, defiant, proud and profane can describe him as well as the word wrong.

 

However, on “The Breakfast Club” radio show on March 13, Damon Dash was largely right in his description of the word boss.


While everyone has a boss or someone to answer to, whether they are employers or employees, his determination to own his own businesses and pass those businesses and jobs down to others is what’s needed in the African-American community.


While all cannot be employers because employees are a necessity for all businesses, more African-Americans need to think about owning their own businesses so they can be a blessing to others financially and not just a blessing to themselves financially.


After Dash criticized “The Breakfast Club” co-hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God for asking him questions about his former colleague Jay-Z, he went on to criticize the co-hosts for not working for themselves and having to answer to a boss.


He stated that a real man shouldn’t have to answer to another man and that employees are selfish because they only think of making money for themselves, and not passing jobs and opportunities down to their children.


Dash stated, I hustle for my last name, not my first name.


Unfortunately, Dash was very wrong for blasting the working class because without employees no employer can realize their vision.  Twenty-four hours is simply not enough time to accomplish one’s daily business goals.  The employer-employee dynamic is something that is mutually beneficial to all involved because the employer and the employee need each other to eat.


Being able to provide jobs to those in our community and pass a legacy down to our children will allow us to grow wealth, which will allow us to offset some of the racism that African-Americans face in the workplace.


If Black-owned businesses are able to hire a more diverse workforce, workplace racism will no longer have the same potency in its sting as it has today.


According to Census.gov, Black-owned businesses accounted for 1.9 million companies in America.


“Of the 1.9 million Black-owned businesses in 2007, 106,824 had paid employees, an increase of 13.0 percent from 2002,” according to Census.gov.  “These businesses employed 921,032 people, an increase of 22.2 percent; their payrolls totaled $23.9 billion, an increase of 36.3 percent.  Receipts from Black-owned employer businesses totaled $98.9 billion, an increase of 50.2 percent from 2002.”


While Damon Dash can definitely be criticized for his business mistakes, (selling his interests in Roc-a-Fella Records and Rocawear were definitely bad deals considering what they sold for later), mistakes are often some of the best teaching moments.


I have learned more from my mistakes than from what I have done right.


When I speak to youth groups I often warn them not to make the same mistakes I made in high school.


My mistakes qualify me to give them advice because I know firsthand how mistakes can ruin God’s potential for your life.


Hopefully Damon Dash’s rant and his past businesses mistakes will motivate more to start their own businesses.


And when those businesses are lucrative and blessings to others, those future businesspeople can avoid the pitfalls that claimed Damon Dash years ago.

This article was published on Friday 20 March, 2015.
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