[Admin Note: Earlier today on Twitter, somebody mentioned a post I wrote almost 10 years ago - literally almost 10 years ago as in June 2004 - as part of a convo they were having. I figured it must be a sign from The Sign Company to revisit and share. Mostly as a means of looking at life from the lens of a then just turned 25 year old and what my thought process was. This post was about my thought process as a parent almost 5 years before I had a kid. Let's see where I was coming from.]
I’m not a role model and may never be. But a thought I had yesterday really brought it home for me. I realized that when I have kids I’m not going to tell my kids to be geniuses or even to be smart.
I’m going to tell them to be smart enough. Why do you ask? I’ll tell you why.
Because I’m learning that smart people don’t get to be millionaires. Athletes, entertainers, black folks who started stuff back in the 1900?s offspring; they all get to be millionaires. Me? I’ve been considered smart my whole life and I’m broke. I’ve been to college, twice. Still broke.
Debunking a Popular Misconception: If you are smart you can be rich. This is wrong. If you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with or without the right idea, you can be rich. You know why? Smart people are risk averse because smart people know that they can get f*cked up financially by just one bad decision. So smart folks don’t take those chances because we realize we have something to lose. Smart enough people just have their balls and their word, so they take chances because at the end of the day, we all we got…oh yeah, and a million bucks in the bank.
There were a lot of smart enough people in the NBA draft the other day. Smart enough to stay eligible because they knew millions awaited them. I’ll bet lots of them fellas became honor students when they realized they could make the draft. As a result, the number of black millionaires just increased by like 20. And what’s worse, that might be 20% of all the black millionaires. 50 Cent is smart enough to know that 9 shots, which everybody is capable of getting, could make him a household name. Bingo…50 cent made like $21 million last year.
So I’m going to tell my kids to be smart enough; smart enough to make it through high school while dribbling that damn ball from the house to the school. Or singing they ass from the church to the house. I know lots of folks in college, graduate school, professional school. All of us have debt…Shaq doesn’t have any debt. Kobe doesn’t have any debt (aside from that potential debt to soceity…different talk show). 50 Cent, Dre, Cosby, Chris Rock ain’t got no debt. Jocephus from the University of Maryland Law School…debt. Anquenetta from UCLA Med school…debt.
I was doing a web search for black millionaires. It was quite eye-opening. I couldn’t find a single damn estimate. I kept finding stats like, “the number of black millionaires has risen 75% in the past 6 years.” Nowhere did they tell me what it rose from. Not one site had any estimates of the number of black millionaires. What I did find was that in America in 2003, there were roughly 2.3 millionaires…out of about 280 million people. That’s less than 1%. So I know our numbers must be really small. The fact that I couldn’t find any numbers indicated to me that there must not be that many…like maybe 100 or 200 at most…including rappers, actors, and ballplayers. Which probably accounted for the majority of them. So that’s what I’m pushing for.
My kid wants to be a rapper??? I’m going Richard Williams style on they asses. They are gonna be the best 12 year old rappers ever. Next Jay-Z…let’s make it happen. You wanna be the next 50…I’ll drop you off in South Side Jamaica Queens n*gga you heard me so we can start your legacy. Because smart rappers are broke too. Look at Talib Kweli and Mos Def (his rap career anyway) or Jurassic 5 or hell anybody that ain’t Jay-Z, Dre, Eminem, 50, or Outkast. Oh yeah, and Cash Money, and Master P since both of those camps were smart enough to capitalize on the times.
Now don’t get me wrong, if my son wants to be an astrophysicist that’s all well and good. I’m sure DuPont will pay him a nice little bit of money. And I’ll push him to be the best damn astrophysicist he can be while his sister is on TV singing her ass off Whitney style while I’m coaching like Joe Jackson from the sidelines. And we know how great a coach he was. And I also know that there are black millionaires that made money by good ole fashioned hardwork. Well, shit I ain’t talkin’ bout them. AND most black millionaires are entertainers anyway. I see I said.
This may sound ignorant, but have you ever heard Jay-Z or Russell Simmons talk. Smart enough to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. And they got millions to blow. Me? Broke.
Smart enough. That’s my parenting strategy.
Interesting to see where I was back then and how much I still agree with those thoughts now. I definiely believe in the idea of being smart enough to succeed versus too smart for your own good and staying reserved. What do you think about that concept? Also, anything you remember from your youth that you’ve carried forward to now or any, “I was here 10 years ago but I’m here now” ideologies? Talk to me.
I’ve been writing for a LONG time.
-VSB P aka MR. IM STILL HERE aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3