By Victor Ochieng
One of the best rappers alive is Jay Z. He's a rapper who keeps on surprising people with quality music even when a majority believes he's going down. While the "Song Cry" rapper is mainly known for his music, he's also a respected business mogul, who's made investments in different industries.
Earlier this year, he released 4:44, which received accolades and was christened the most transparent and progressive of the albums he's ever brought out of the studio. Besides telling about his marriage with fellow music star Beyonce, Jay Z also raps about the importance of saving, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, specifically for the people of color.
In the album is the track "The Story of OJ," in which the former street hustler points out ownership as a key pillar to gaining 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 in the song. What he says in the line is that hustlers shouldn't put their lives on the line over government-owned property but should instead use their earnings to invest back in their community through ownership. Admittedly, this approach would result in greater equity and wealth, while also cutting down on gentrification that often pushes Black people out of prime estates.
Not everyone trusts real estate business. It's a risky expanse that requires a lot of capital, no doubt. But Jay Z's idea can be perfected using Lynn P. Smith's approach through her "Buy The Block" organization.
Buy The Block is a type of crowdfunding that targets property. It's a platform that's linked to real estate developers. It brings together those interested in making real estate investment in groups. Buy The Block is currently raising millions of dollars towards development projects in Black communities. The organization, which is the only Black-owned platform focused on real estate investment in the country, is keen on transforming the Black communities and is optimistic that it will soon be taking up bigger projects and real estate contracts. The other disease that this idea seeks to heal is where gentrification normally pushes African Americans out of their neighborhoods when the wealthy people buy. Instead, Buy The Block is focusing on empowering these communities so that they can buy property and own within their neighborhoods.
“Indeed, we have loads of challenges, but I am determined to educate our community and make this work… thanks to everyone out there that united as one to embrace and support this unique concept,” said Lynn, the founder and CEO, in a statement.
The initiative allows those interested in investing in real estate to pump in even as little as $100, while also making it possible for them to link with other small time investors.