SpongeBob, Prophet of Profit
I was ironing my daughters clothes as she was watching SpongeBob Squarepants, which both of us enjoy because of the double-edged humor for children and adults. In this particular episode Spongebob and his best friend Patrick (both of whom have been previously targeted as gay by James Dobson and some of his Christian Right partners), were discussing ways in which they could improve their financial situation. After learning what an entrepreneur was, Spongebob had an epiphany and decided that he and Patrick should become entrepreneurs.
What is ironic about me watching this episode at this particular time, other than the fact that I'm unemployed, is that I had just come out of one of my entrepreneurial brainstorming frenzies. Periodically I get attacked with these myriad ideas of products, projects, and services - some viable and some not. I've tried to act on a few, but they never went anywhere do to a lack of time, money, and planning. My old pastor, who in retrospect was a little too overtaken with the whole "prosperity gospel" thing, once prophesied that God would bless me with a plethora of wealth creating concepts. That may sound weird, but after many confirmations from my Mom, a very devout Christian, and now SpongeBob, I think there may be something to it.
From a historical perspective, my ancestors were lynched, for trying to start and run successful businesses, and the Senate has only recently issued an apology on behalf of their predecessors for failing to pass anti-lynching legislation. A thriving black business community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, once known as "Black Wallstreet," was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by hate-filled white mobs. Some 3,000 African-Americans were killed and 600 busineses, including 21 churches were destroyed. So, when I see Kwame Jackson of "The Apprentice" fame (who happens to be a fraternity brother of mine) doing his thing in the business world, along with the Bob Johnson (Founder of Black Entertainment Television, and Owner of the Charlotte Bobcats), and Oprah Winfrey (no explanation or link needed), I say "Bravo".
My only request is that successful African-Americans never forget that they are a part of a larger historical struggle that is not confined to one ethnic group, but ours runs deep and is full of inspirational stories. I also want to say that charity is nice, but justice is much better. My unorthodox mindset may eventually put me at odds with some of my wealthier brothers and sisters from a philosophical and theological standpoint, but if we disagree, let us do so in love. In the meantime I am going to work on a couple of these business ideas, because revolution is expensive!