Monday, June 18, 2018

Why The Hood Needs Traplord Owned Businesses

This is not my Aunt Hazel's salon but this image is a close
replica. Work with me. Camera phones weren't around in the 80's.
I have entrepreneurship and hustling in my blood. I grew up spending summers and weekends in my Aunt Hazel's beauty salon. The whole family worked there. My older cousin's, my aunts, even my mother did her time there while in college. She paid her own way through four years of Coppin State University using her earning from "the shop". My grandmother was a known hustler. Ruthie was known to sell Avon, have a few rental properties, sell moonshine. You name it. The same for my father. As an I.T. expert, he had a computer consulting business and then took over my grandmother's real estate portfolio. It's not surprise that I am a full-time entrepreneur.

One thing I noticed about my business owning family is who they hired. They hired family and people from the neighborhood. People that most traditional jobs would not have given a chance. The young and eager boy who looks unkempt because his home life is in shambles. The drug addict who is trying to do better but just can't shake it. The young girl with "too many kids for her age", whatever that means, who can't really afford childcare so she can't doesn't look for work but wants to be able to do something. Anyway, with the way present day society is set up, we need more of that. The black community needs more business owners who will give people in their own communities an opportunity. 

My father has been a full-time entrepreneur since 2004. I know the date because he was laid off from University of Maryland-College Park at the end of my last semester in college. He's had his ups and downs but overall, he is doing well. One day, my car battery died and I needed a jump. AAA was too far away, so I called my daddy - Daddy's Girls Antics. He came running, of course. He usually has his worker, Mike, with him but this worker's face didn't look familiar but he knew everything about me. My whole name. That I had a kid. I was freaked out a little bit but was rushing and didn't put it all together until a few hours later. It was Mr. Pete! Mr. Pete is one of my father's best friends. I remembered hanging out with him and his family as a child and then he disappeared for a LONG TIME and now he was back....working with my father. Interesting. So, I asked what the deal was.

A drawing Mr. Pete illustrated while imprisoned
Mr. Pete served 26 years in a federal prison. He had become addicted to drugs and committed felony murder while under the influence. A lot can happen while someone is incarcerated for 26 years. The guilt of your actions can eat away at you. Most of the time, relationships diminish and disappear. People turn their backs on you when they find out what you did. But not my father. He remained true to his a friendship that began in 1957.

While in prison, Mr. Pete learned who he was and worked on himself. Came home to show people that he changed. He wrote a book called "Look Into My Soul" but with no training programs in prison, he came home with no real skills but there was opportunity waiting for him. Work. Yes, manual labor, not ideal for a college educated man over 65 BUT it would be in an environment of love and encouragement. Now, Mr. Pete is able to learn a few trade skills and earn some money with his best friend since the 5 years old.

Predominantly African-American communities in the United States are forgotten. Our children are written off. The teenagers are judged and labeled as under achievers. The adults are stereotyped as stupid and lazy. However, study after study proves that when given opportunity and encouragement, ANYONE can thrive. Anyone. So, for us "woke" folk, it is evident that we are the only ones who can save us. This is exactly why I am looking for spaces for the Fancy Factory within the community. Yes, I could easily find a beautiful commercial space in Owings Mills but who would that serve? I want to serve my people because ultimately, we all we got. (Y'all remember that from New Jack City? Ok. I digress)

The "system" is not designed for residents of certain socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to flourish. We have to constantly fight to make a way EVEN when have support and opportunity. Imagine how it is for those young folks who don't have either. I have chosen to be the change I want to see and set up an operation that bypasses the system. We NEED black owned businesses in black neighborhoods who hire people within our black neighborhoods.

The second building I looked at that he shut down. LOL!
My husband and I argue about it because I've been looking at spots in the trappiest of the trap. I understand his concerns but I have to be the one to invest in my community before it gets snatched up by an investor who is not invested in the surroundings, only what they can take. Ugh! Don't get me started on these investors from out of town who are buying up everything in our city and leaving the buildings to rot.

Anyway, my family has laid the foundation for my future. It's not the easiest route to success but it's mine. Heavy is the head.....

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