Why African Americans Need to Learn Strategies for Building Wealth?

This is Black History Month, so I’m focusing this article on African Americans but the knowledge contained herein can benefit anyone.  The wealth gap is widening and African Americans need to learn new strategies for building wealth. “Median black household income was 59% of median white household income in 2011, up modestly from 55% in 1967; as recently as 2007, black income was 63% of white income.” [Source: PEW] It is often said that African Americans are a nation of consumers instead of creators. However, our survival depends on us changing from primarily being consumers to being the suppliers and creators of the products and services we consume.


African Americans have a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015. That’s a lot of dough to be distributed. Wealth is not a dirty or evil word reserved for those who are lucky, greedy, or lazy and seeking to take advantage of others!  Wealth is a vital birthright that offers the freedom to make choices that allow us to live joyful and fulfilling lives. Everyone has the right to life in dignity and to pursue their dreams.  

Watching my stepmother get denied medical services at age 85, and watching her toes blacken and almost rot off as she screamed in pain, taught me a very valuable lesson. Poverty is not pretty, spiritual, or dignified. She could not afford the care she desperately needed to live in dignity and I was powerless to help her. It takes money to help those you love, to choose the medical care of your choice, to buy the materials, training, and resources we need to excel in our crafts, to invest in our businesses, to give to charity, to tithe generously, to eat healthily, to travel, to vacation, to be there mentally for our families, or to live in safe and beautiful neighborhoods.

Growing up, I had only been trained how to trade time for dollars, which rarely if ever, builds wealth. At times my father was an entrepreneur, and during those times we worked even harder. I realized that if I kept following that old paradigm I would be destined to end up like those written about in a recent Forbes article, The Greatest Retirement Crisis in American History, which dismally projects that 75%  of those now approaching retirement have less than $30,000 in savings. And, that paltry amount won’t last that long, with the average nursing home stay (God forbid) being around $248.00 a day or $90,000 a year. So for that reason,  as well as, the dollar declining since 1972, and the cost of living projected to double over the next decade, the vast majority of people today are forced to delay their retirement. I did not grow up around wealth nor did my parents talk about wealth or teach me about it. They taught me to work hard, so I know how to do that. They worked hard their entire lives and still only barely eked out a living and died practically penniless.  They could not teach me what they did not know.  They did not know that the only way to build wealth was to have money work for you or people work for you.  That explains why the majority of small black entrepreneurs fail to build wealth either. They are primarily sole proprietors and thus still trading time for money.  To continue to part two, click here.

Warren Buffet advises aspiring wealth builders to have multiple streams of income.  Speaking, authorship, and training is my passion work.  I love doing it! But, I’ve learned that if I stop speaking or training, the income also stops.  I too want the freedom that comes with wealth, to be able to work with populations who can’t afford me, to be able to help my children and grandchildren, and to not have to worry about retirement after raising six children and working over 50 years already. 

Email me for more information about how to bring me in to speak to your group, OR train your employees. Luck has very little to do with wealth, but timing has everything to do with it. What if you had been able to be part of the beginning of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft?  How would your life be different now? You missed them but you haven’t missed them all. Email me to learn more about Talkfusion, a disruptive technology poised to be the next billion dollar brandI’ll direct you to an on-line presentation that explains it all.

Barbara Talley
To your wealth

RGIII – The Newest Member of the NBC (Not Black enough Club)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 8.28.02 PMESPN Commenter Parker made the remark that Robert Griffin (RGIII) wasn’t black enough and the Stuff#*@ hit the fan. As a celebrity, he’s now a proud member of the “Black, but Not Black Enough Club” joining the likes of POTUS Obama, Tiger Woods, Clarence Thomas, and OJ Simpson.  Comments flew from outraged people from both sides of the fence;  some  were agitated that ESPN would censor the black commenter from speaking his mind and others incensed that we’re still talking race in 2012.  Robert Parker called out Griffin on the air, asking: ”Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Some of Parker’s rationale for calling RGIII “NOT black enough” was his engagement to a white woman, talk of him being a Republican, and that he was “not real.” One African-American person commenting on the ordeal on www.yourblackworld.com responded:

“Being Black is a matter of political reality that affects and is affected by the words, deeds, actions, and experiences of other black people. That being said, EVERY black person that is a part of that experience has a right to an opinion. That includes “how black” somebody else is or isn’t based on how they conduct themselves, what they say, and what they are about. Ali understood this. Jim Brown understood this. Hell even Doug Williams understood this.” 

In closing, the conversation may begin with the question “What is Black Enough?” But, personally, I don’t think that is the right question to ask.  We need some honest education, engagement, and intelligent conversations around this emotionally charged issue of race.  It has become intertwined with culture, nationality, and ethnicity.  As a society, we pretend racism doesn’t exist.  Some even block it out all together. I’ve been told, “I don’t see your color.”  But, my color is part of me although it doesn’t define me. Let me explain it this way.  If I were a red rose in a vase of white roses, my color would be a beautiful attribute of my identity and I would be contributing to the beauty of the bouquet by being noticed.  First and foremost, I’d still be a rose, equal to all the other roses and not some other minor specie. The key is to get to the point where we recognize color but don’t judge by it.  I’ll sum it up in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who dealt with race and identity on a daily basis, but still understood the most important criteria for identifying a person was by their character.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Christopher Peterson after addressing this issue about character in Psychology Today  sums it up with: “Perhaps Dr. King’s dream would be realized if we choose to look at actual people and not the demographic groups in which we so conveniently and carelessly place them. Good one, Christopher!  While many might assert that this is a “non issue,” apparently it is a an issue and a big one for millions. A quick google search came up with the following hits in less than a minute:  817,000,000 results (0.32 seconds)  on the term “Black Enough”,  7,510,000 results (0.42 seconds) on the term “Black Enough Griffin” and  255,000,000 results (0.46 seconds)  on the term “Black Enough Obama.”  Hundreds of millions of people are searching, thinking, and interested in this term.  So I ask you three questions, 1) “What does it mean to be black enough?” 2) “Who gets to define what black is? And, 3) “How, where, and with whom do we address the question of race once and for all? (Please comment!)

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

“Ouch” – BLACK ENOUGH? Remark About RGIII Hits the RACE Nerve.

one planetSo, just what does it mean to not be “black enough?”  While it was the most recent controversy between two high profile black men in sports that brings this question to the forefront, the questions of race and identity and what it means to be black have never been sufficiently addressed.  First of all, I’m not into sports, so the fact that RGIII is a celebrity, makes little difference to me. But the race and identity discussion does catch my attention, since I am African-American, I work in Diversity, and this question unfortunately hits too close to home.  As a mother, I’ve been dealing with this issue on behalf of my children for decades unabated. My fifteen year old daughter was outraged just a few months ago when she experienced this in her “magnet school” that lacks much diversity. A kid at her school told her she wasn’t black like the kids at a different school.  I too faced this same challenge as a child when my father took us from the north to the south while doing migrant work.  My sisters and I were often mocked and ridiculed by the other kids who said, “We talked proper.”  It didn’t stop there, many times in my career have I heard the ignorant comment, “You’re different!” What’s that supposed to mean? Although it was usually meant as a compliment, it left me with the same distaste as it did as a child.  I interpreted that comment as:”I’ve got this definition of what it is to be black, and you don’t fit it!”  Rather than the person admitting that perhaps their definition of blackness was flawed, instead I was the anomaly.  “I was different!”  So I got it from both sides, both black and white.

Who gets to define what “black enough” is: black people, white people or no one?  Before I go on, let me point out one thing.  Color is just an accident of climate.  People who live closer to the equator have become darker over the centuries than those who live in more cooler climates. Race does not define a person’s values, character, or identity.  There are those with good character and values and those without it in every ethnic group.  And finally, we are all members of one human race. There is no black race, white race, or brown race.  We are all humans and part of one race, one human family.  You are more apt to pick up traits from your environment and culture than from people who have the same “color”  as you. We all have different traits, yet we are predominantly the same:  “There are more than three million differences between your genome and anyone else’s. On the other hand, we are all 99.9 percent the same, DNA-wise.” 99.9% says it all. Race and color are cloaks for other things, racism, imperialism, and a convenient way to separate people to justify preferential treatment for some and disparate treatment for others.

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

Native American Veterans

This is Native American Heritage Month. We’ve just celebrated Veterans Day, please enjoy these stories of Native American men and women who fought for this country even after broken promises, broken lives, and broken dreams.   Check out their audio or video stories on Experiencing War, at the Veteran’s History Library of Congress special project.

“Born on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Dan Akee was sent at age six to a boarding school in nearby Tuba City.  He saw action on four Pacific islands, and by the last, Iwo Jima, he was starting to show the psychological effects of prolonged exposure to combat. After returning home, he had persistent problems with nightmares and took to drinking.”

Learn more about Dan Akee and get first-hand experiences from Marcella R. Le Beau, Roy Daniel Bailey, Dan Akee,  Joseph Beimfohr, Steven L Bob Jr.,  Ed McGaa, Leroy Mzhickteno, Chester Nez, Lewis Sawaquat.

I’m Barbara Talley,  The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

America’s Diversity Votes and Wins!

Even beyond the excessive attempts to disenfranchise voters, in spite of an effigy of the President with a noose around his neck, and even with so many other disparaging and racial sentiments arising out of the 2012 campaign, I am more hopeful and proud of my country than ever. American’s voted that they care about each other.  Even when they may not agree with each others ideologies or lifestyles, they still voted that everyone should be included and deserves to be counted and have civil rights.  The landscape is changing and I am optimistic about the future for the following reasons!

  1. America’s first African-American president wins not only the majority of electoral votes but also the popular vote, the most successful Democratic candidate since FDR by margins.
  2. The 113th Congress will have at least 19 female senators – more than ever in U.S. history.
  3.  Hawaii elects America’s first Asian senator.
  4. Wisconsin elects America’s first openly gay senator.
  5. Nevada elects Steven Horsford, its first African American Congressman.
  6. Voting was up for African Americans, young people, and Latinos despite the unprecedented number (25) of voter suppression laws passed last year.

I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.