Updated: Feb 23
Going into this year (and, with this being Black History Month), I knew I not only had to write about some of the financial injustices my community has faced and is still facing today, but I had to write something that would bring a sense of celebration and excitement. One thing that brings me so much joy is Hip Hop culture. Hip Hop has shaped me into who I am today, from the way I dress, talk, and even the music I listen to. If you read any of my previous articles, you will see how I use Hip Hop—this thing that I love— and used it as a tool to view finances. To celebrate black history, I want to spotlight black individuals in the Financial Planning, Wealth Management, and Investment Management industry and use a prominent figure in hip-hop to describe the impact they have on our industry.
How He Impacted Me:
To start, I have to highlight the ‘OG’ Tyrone V. Ross Jr. Tyrone has been a role model for me from the second I got introduced into the “fintwit” world. As a young African American college student, I was nervous entering a profession where many did not look like me. I felt overwhelmed, because I knew I could not deny who I was, but I was afraid this would hinder my opportunity for employment post-graduation. However, seeing Tyrone explicitly talk about systems we participate in and how those affect unrepresented, Black communities gave me a sense of power.
Who Does He Remind Me Of?:
Isn’t Dave Chappelle a Comedian? Yes, Chappelle is a comedian. “Hip Hop” isn’t restricted to music, it is a culture.
Chappelle started off FUNNY and TALENTED! He was phenomenal at what he did, but what made him remarkable was his youth. It takes a lot of time for a Comedian to hone their craft. The same is true for financial advisors. People say it usually takes a Financial Advisor around ten years to reach a point in their career where they are completely competent on their own, but within a five year time frame, Tyrone was able to become a successful advisor at one of the biggest wirehouses in the country, even despite the racism and bigotry, which eventually made him decide to leave. Similarly, the young, talented Comedian, Dave Chappelle, decided to leave a lucrative deal at Comedy Central for his own good and wellbeing.
What can we see from these events in their lives? We see a healthy level of I DO NOT CARE. We saw this with Chappelle’s magnificent return to the stage in 2017, Chappelle had a level of poise no one had displayed before him. He wasn’t just funny, nor was he just talented— Chappelle was thought-provoking. He was sharp and witty with his delivery. Chappelle was revolutionary, just like Tyrone.
Tyrone has entered a space in our industry I can only dream of. He is using his knowledge and experience in the financial services to impact people that look like him and I. That’s not to say others have not done this before him, but that he has done it in a way that has deeply motivated me.
Whenever people ask me why I love financial planning I tell them it’s because I want to take what I learned in school and to help the people I knew growing up. Tyrone is doing just that— he is on a short list of people I would send to any of my friends for general advice on anything finance.
Dave Chappelle did a monologue for SNL this past November and Chappelle said something that was groundbreaking, “I can’t even tell something true unless it has a punchline behind it. You guys aren’t ready. You’re not ready for this. You don’t know how to survive yourselves.” In my own words, I would say the same thing about Tyrone. I think he has entered a space beyond “finance”. He is someone we should listen to period, not because he was on investment news 40-under-40, or spokesperson for Uber, but because he speaks about things that matter.
Chappelle had one of the greatest sketch comedy shows of all time that show was on Comedy Central, but due to what Chappelle saw as unfair negation of his contract, he left. Comedy Central still owned the rights to his show, so they decided to allow Netflix to stream it. Chappelle then asked Netflix to remove the show from the site, which they did. They had no financial incentive— only that Chappelle had been on a hot streak that no one has come close to.
Tyrone has leveraged his voice in a similar way, with tides changing in our country we see companies and corporations are starting to have conversations around race. Tyrone was interviewed by Thinkadvior.com and said “I don’t agree to speak or take part in conferences that don’t give back to the community. Those of us who are black and brown — especially those of us who are black men — have to start using the leverage and platform we have to let know we’re no longer your ‘diversity-and-inclusion hires.’ I’m OK with you checking [that] box — but if you use me, I will use you.”
“But if you use me, I will use you”... that’s real-talk to say the least. The reality is, black people as a whole in our country have been profited off of with little gain. And Tyrone is changing that in our industry.
I say all of that to simply say Tyrone thank you for being you.