By Selena Hill, blackenterprise.com
Earlier this year, Jay-Z released 4:44, which was critically acclaimed as one of the most transparent and prolific studio albums that he ever recorded. In addition to spilling intimate details about his marriage to superstar Beyoncé, he rapped about entrepreneurship, the advantages of saving, and economic empowerment, especially for people of color.
“F— livin’ Rich and Dyin’ Broke” – Jay-Z
In the track “The Story of OJ,” the retired street-hustler-turned-music-artist stresses the importance of ownership as a means to financial freedom. “Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your mama rentin.’ Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood, that’s how you rinse it,” he raps. That one powerful lyric advises hustlers not to risk their lives over property that is either owned by the government or other; rather, Jay tells them to use their earnings to make investments back into their communities. Not only does this build equity and wealth, but it can also be used as a tool to stop gentrification in urban areas from pushing minorities and working class folks out of prime real estate neighborhoods where they live. While real estate investment is an intimidating and risk concept for many, Lynn P. Smith is showing people how to put Jay’s invaluable advice into practice through her organization, Buy The Block.
Buy The Block
Buy The Block is a crowdfunding intermediary platform that connects real estate developers seeking to crowdfund any type of property. It is also one of the only black-owned platforms in the country that is dedicated to making investments in real estate as a group more accessible. With the focus on the black communities around the nation, Buy The Block is currently on track to raise millions of dollars in funding for development projects in communities of color. It projects that it will eventually change the face of crowdfunding real estate investing in America by taking on more significant projects and contracts. Another goal is to curb gentrification by empowering African Americans to purchase property and remain in their communities.