I’ve always admired Jay-Z as a lyricist, however, not enough to really sit and listen to his albums for myself (with the exception of 4:44, I actually listened to that one). I’d listen to features, or what was playing on the radio, and yet still, I’ve been influenced by Jay-Z. Representation truly matters because to see a Black man leading in so many spaces and industries, creating his own platforms, it inspires me to be courageous enough to do the same.
I was really interested in the idea of "bright hustling" which Dyson describes as "positive, legitimate, legal black hustling [that] encompasses a wide range of activities: creating multiple streams of income, renting a room in your house, earning passive income through real estate investments, opening a small business, building banks, donating blood for money, coming up with a computer software app for mobile devices, getting a Ph.D., playing professional sports, becoming a lawyer, doctor, engineer, hairdresser, barber, factory worker or accounting, and just doing everything in one’s power to get ahead.”
Keeping with the major theme of the book that Jay-Z is the ultimate representation of what it means to be American because of his hustle. My question is why hasn’t hustling produced a transformation in Black communities yet? We have many successful Black entertainers, athletes, bright hustlers, who own businesses and yet still, Black neighborhoods are disproportionately red-lined, with food deserts, impoverished schools, and over-policed. Is it simply because wealthy Black folks are not “buying back the block” like Jay encourages them to? Could it also be because capitalism is part of the problem itself so it can’t be the solution?
Black capitalism is a concept I'll continue to grapple with. It definitely takes resources to undo historical, legal injustices in the Black community, but what else?