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Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ujima

Collective Work and Responsibility


If the Negro area, however, is to continue as a district supported wholly from without, the inept dwellers therein will merit and will receive only the contempt of those who may occasionally catch glimpses of them in their plight.

If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.

If the Negroes are to remain forever removed from the producing atmosphere, and the present discrimination continues, there will be nothing left for them to do.

Carter G. Woodson



I want to own a business. I want my business smack dab in the middle of my old stomping grounds. I want to operate and build in the hood. Period. I want to participate in building and maintaining our community together and making our brother's and sister's problems our problems so we can solve them together.


I have this dream that I'm working on. No, really I am... Got a business plan and everything. Check it: I envision me coming to work every morning, either lifting my security gates or extending my cloth awnings on my little storefront business. I imagine getting coffee and giving the head nod to dude on his way to the bus stop and exchanging hellos and pleasantries about family and friends with the shopkeepers next door. I imagine that there's a barbershop somewhere close, and that I can slide in early and get edged up, urging those cats to come thru and support mine as I have theirs. I'm also seeing in my mind my customers, mostly young folk coming through and exchanging info and enjoying being all up in mine. Music playing, sun shining in a neighborhood where the sun shines mostly on vacant lots and abandoned buildings. This day in my head is a new day. It's not just me, it's others fighting gentrification and reclaiming what was once seen as wasteland to provide the folks with goods and services necessary for both work and play. The hood is not a waste, some may want you to think that so regression can lower property values. I'll be frank, I hate urban drug culture like the next cat, but how can values in the hood be so low when we got the best mathematicians, scientists, athletes and marketing executives living there? Because I used to do a little dirt back in the day, I understand. Trust me, they do to.

You see our majority demographic, right? They come to us to get their "stuff", barter with our pimps, scout and recruit our athletes and follow our marketing schemes because our influence on capitalism in America is the standard.
But our street pharmacists, hustlers, ballers, athletes and branding specialists need influence as well. We need their talent right where it all started for them. Right here in the hood. We need positive influence that will prevent the demeaning street hustle and get us on track in business and trade. To create and maintain businesses keeps us out of suburban malls and downtown shops. The dollar circulates and life becomes better. Property values become stable, businesses and entrepreneurs support programs and schools, jobs are created and life gets better for the community. We already know this but the problem is limited knowledge on how to keep business off the ground. I'm sure we've all had an aunt or family friend with that hair salon or restaurant, or know (or know about) that drug dealer trying to get out of the game by opening a clothing store or barber shop. Thing is, why can't these businesses stay open in 2005? No ujima.

My business model has me working with other shop owners and the community to make sure we don't shut down, but grow and expand to continue to give our people what they need and want. I want my business to be a part of a collective effort between business owners. Now I do understand that competition makes life easier for the consumer, so I plan on going 501c and making this particular business non profit so that the shorties can benefit and the area can get much needed support in another fashion. I do have other things I'm working on businesswise for my growth and development, but my community comes first right now. What can I do to be of service to my people and build business and community as well? Who's willing to help me? How much more successful can we be if we attack the various plights of our area together?

Not everyone will be down, but trust me I have already come into contact with many at the ready to be down with the movement. It's going to take some time, finance and additional planning, but there are a few of us willing to come together for the long haul.
It takes a village to support a business. It takes that business to support said village. Those two things keep my dreams in technicolor. And attainable.

2 comments:

TheOneandOnlyInsanely said...

Thanks

Deeds said...

Interesting...

That's exactly what we need more black businesses...I want to move mine into a building soon...It's taking over my Apt:)