“I’ve been here all my life, born and raised off of 33rd & Garland. Actually, we lived on Vermont, then we moved to 33rd. I was on 33rd for 20 years. In the West, I had peaks and valleys but as far as growing up, I had both of my parents and my life was alright.
I always wanted my own business, I just didn’t know what it was going to be. Basically, I studied other people and seeing how they were getting their business to grow. Black business ownership is so important and I’m so big on that. We, as black people, always want to get a good job and nothing’s wrong with that. Rarely are we taught to work for ourselves and create our own wealth. We’re always told to go to school and get a good job. There’s a difference between wealth and income. Income is something you can’t pass down, wealth is something that you can pass down. I’m big on that. I want more black people to get involved with owning their own businesses and creating their own platform. We just get in this comfort zone where we have to get up and find a good job and go to work everyday. Every other culture and race focus on wealth and not income. That’s the problem that we have. We think that getting an education and getting a good job is where it’s at. We can’t pass that down. We need to get more involved with owning our own businesses.
The biggest part of failure is not trying. You have to try. You’ve got to get out there and do your research. I don’t care what it is. You can monetize anything. Whatever your preference is, just get out there and do it. Don’t procrastinate. We have to create our own wealth. If you look around, how many black owned businesses do you see in the West End? Let’s be honest, you have Arabs and Asians down here, controlling everything. They come down here and open up these businesses. They’ll take their money and make sure that their money rotates in their community, at least 10 times, before it comes back out. That’s how they create their wealth. Black people, we get our money and it goes right outside of our community. We need to learn how to rotate our money. I don’t care if the business is way downtown, we need to patronize them as much as we can.
There’s a difference between a neighborhood and a community. We need to control our own community and not just have neighborhoods and hoods. We need our own hospitals, schools, police, and a lot of other things. We need to control our own area. We need education, which is very important. We also need more jobs.
The defining moment that shaped me to who I am is when I went to prison. I seen how the system was developed to work against our favor. That woke me up. When I got out, I chose my own path. I have my own kennel, with my partner. We breed and sell American Bullies. We also have our own store. This will have a snowball effect. When you’re down in prison, you’re working for 35 cents a day. That’s basically slavery. With the lifestyle that I chose for so many years, I wasn’t going to be able to go and work for somebody and be consistent. I had to find a way to monetize something and that was these dogs and this store.
I watch this guy, Tariq Nasheed, and he really motivated me. He’s a street dude and he monetized everything he did with documentaries, clothing, and his podcasts. He’s just like me and I got to thinking that if he can do it, I can. I started to study him and that’s how I got my motivation and mojo to go out and get it.
My advice to the world is that the endeavor that you've set out for, that you create in your mind, you only defeat yourself when you don’t try at all. That’s the only time you’re going to lose. Stay focused and keep a level head and go out there and chase the bag. Make sure you keep the winning mentality. You’re going to have peaks and valleys, so don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged, stay focused and keep a positive mind. Whatever you put in the universe, whether it’s negative or positive, it’s going to come back at you. If you produce good energy, that’s what you’ll get out of life.” - Emmett, owner of C & E Food Mart in Algonquin