Jrnl Entry No. 9.25.2003

So today is my daughter Janelle’s birthday. She is – years old. I called her early this morning just to say Happy Birthday really, not to talk like I usually do. Yeah, I remember when she was born. I thought I had life all figured out. I had a nice job working at Circle K Corporation, my first job out of college which it took me six months to find. I was making $25,000 a year, living with my mother, saving money, shopping a little, etc. I think I saved 5,000.00 in a year. Janelle’s mother went for child support and they awarded her $389.00 a month. She walked out of the court room happy like she’d just hit the lotto, maybe in an effort to try and piss me off. But I didn’t care cause even minus that amount, I was still bringing home more than I’d ever made before. I was still saving. With the decision to become a Hip Hop producer, I bought an ARS 10 Sampling Keyboard for $2,000.00 and starting making Hip Hop songs.

A little after that, my 1986 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight broke completely down and I had to buy a new car. I bought a brand new Chevy Malibu. After the car purchase, with payments and insurance, my pocket was low. At that point, I decided to really work on my move to New York City. I was two years in at Circle K; they had just given me a lateral promotion (meaning more responsibility with no talk of more money). Just as the change was about to take effect, I’d found me a job at this company in Brooklyn called The Italian Job, a mob spin-off legal business. I was making $34,500.00 which was only enough for my needs and bill responsibility; no money left to shop, go out, nothing. After about a year of that shit, I stopped paying my car insurance for a little extra cash, which ended up being dissolved by this new credit card I transferred to for a lower interest rate in exchange for higher minimum payments; $100.00 more a month. That’s what I get for not reading the fine print.

I really was starting to hate my job also, so much so that I stopped working because it seemed as if I was not doing anything important or learning anything. I got fired a week before the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack. After that, it took me six months to find another job. There were plenty of jobs out there it seemed; I went on 22 interviews before I finally got hired somewhere, which was at an advertising agency. It was a cool job, no dress code, open-bar on Fridays after work and friendly people for the most part.

I really learned my job after the guy who hired me left and this Italian lady came on board. She didn’t know what she doing so I had to learn the job with her. One thing I understood better than she was the EAS Accounting Software they had. After she and I came to an understanding of all the changes she wanted as far as my work went, she challenged every piece of work I did. When I met her challenges and began answering her questions before she asked them, she made up some bullshit to tack on to the official warning I received concerning my underperformance, according to her standard, and I was fired. I had her all figured out. Told myself, “Just do your duties, ignore her attempts to get on your nerves, and everything will be alright.” Everything was not alright. Now, I’m going on another six months of being unemployed but this time around, there aren’t many jobs out there. The economy is getting weaker by the week. I’ve only been on about five interviews.

I moved to New York to work as an accountant and to try to get work as a Hip Hop producer, neither, especially the Hip Hop production, are working out for me. If I wasn’t living with my girlfriend, I’d be on my way to being homeless right now. She thinks I eat too much salt and butter, and at age –, I’m on my way to a heart attack. I say to her, “what I got to live for?’ She says, “life is a precious gift.” She says that shit because just like me; at age –, she’s making $56,000 on her job; she’s able to take care of her daughter; she shops and buys expensive clothing; she’s doing, so it seems, better than her friends; she just moved from one room in the projects to a two bedroom apartment with nice wooden floors; and she just recently purchased equipment to start making clothing in pursuit of her dream to open a children’s clothing line store called Queen by Queen. She’s young and ambitious just like I was with the world ahead of her with her dreams.

Me, I’m starting to come to reality that my Hip Hop dreams may never materialize. I’m –; I have not a dime in the bank; my credit has gone bad; I ain’t got a job. So yes, what this life is presenting me right now is shit. What the world is presenting Watrina is sugar right now and probably for the future also. So she, in essence, would be saying some shit like, “life is such a precious gift.” Everybody says that shit when they are on their feet. I wanna hear a homeless New Yorker, on the street, in the cold of winter, say that shit. When I hear them say it, on the street, on a cold Christmas night, then maybe I’ll start singing the same song. But hearing that shit from people like Mary J Blige: who has millions of dollars, and has sold millions of records, and is so spiritually fulfilled now that she has a real man, not afraid of her success, who is gonna marry her; my response is, “shut the fuck up witt that bullshit.” Mary J wasn’t singing that same shit when was drinking, smoking, sniffing, and being in a relationship every other year with any male R&B singer who said hello to her. Lauryn Hill wants to accept grammy awards, preaching, “the money don’t matter, God matters.” This after the group she was in sold 13 million records of one album worldwide, making all three members millionaires. After that, three years later her solo album sold about 10 million worldwide, to make her more of a millionaire. When you’re a millionaire, the money don’t matter. When you have a good job making decent money, a beautiful intelligent daughter, and a nice apartment outside the New York City Housing Authority Projects, life is precious. My response to that shit is …….!

@BLK_PEEPSTOP No. VI

stop treating other black people when they approach u as if they r incompetent. stop ignoring other black people whenwant to work 4 u

black people u must go about running ur small business with an initiative for future black social change.

black people if u own a small business u can find a black cpa through NABA & if u type in black lawyers association on the web many pop up

some1 said “i’ll never switch from my russian, guy he saves me money.” black slaves saved america money, but america isn’t loyal 2 us. Hmmm!

This tweet was born out of my fantasy that when I passed the CPA Exam, as a Black American CPA, I’d be able to walk up to any Black American business owner, Black American celebrity, Black American NBA/NFL player, Black American rapper and have a brief conversation with them bestowing the knowledge that I was a Black American CPA, pass them my card, we’d exchange information and the person would automatically become a client. My line of thinking was that individual Black American professionals would be delighted to work with other competent, affable, congenial and convivial Black American professional individuals to handle their business matters.

Once I moved to New York, I found a Black American doctor and a Black American dentist. I think of Chris Rock’s comedy skit: “The only Black people who live in my neighborhood are Jay Z, Mary J. Blige and me. Across the street lives a dentist. You know what a Black American dentist would have to do to live in my neighborhood? HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO CREATE TEETH!” This wouldn’t be necessarily true if all of the Black American elite music and movie celebrities, as well as sports stars who live in New York or pass through on assignment would go visit Catrisse Williams, VIP Smiles for their 6 month cleaning or cosmetic dental work. It should be automatic. But Black American people do not think like this.

When I first passed my CPA Exam it was NFL Draft night 2011. I had printed up some make shift cards with the name of my CPA firm and phone number on them. I went and snuck into GreenHouse night club on the corner of Vandam and Varrick Street. As soon as I hit the entrance door to the club, I was looking Shaunie O’neal and Evelyn Lazoda right smack in the face. I had seen Shaunie O’neal earlier in the day at the Converse store on Broadway in SoHo on my lunch break from work.

I thought to approach her, as I felt pretty confident in my outfit, intelligence and articulation, but didn’t have a speech exactly prepared to speak about the subject of becoming her CPA, and plus she had a friend with her so I let the opportunity pass.

In the club I was armed with cards to pass them out to people in VIP and trying to make deals with the pretty ladies in VIP to connect with the guys with money for a commission; with the music blaring, they either could not hear me or had no clue what I was talking about. I approached a few guys who appeared to have money or were brawny enough to be new NFL draftees or current players in the league standing directly inside the section off from the VIP area; they nodded their heads, took my card and went about their way. I made my way over to speak briefly with Shaunie, as I was too afraid to tell her I was a CPA who’d like to work for her, I simply asked her had she noticed me in the Converse store earlier that day. She said something back to me which I could not hear, we smiled at each other and that was that. I had also passed a card to Evelyn Lazoda and said something to the effect of, “I’m a CPA, take my card. I want to make sure you and Ochocinco don’t go broke.” She looked at me in stupefaction, took the card, I bid her a nice night and that was that. Shaunie’s boyfriend at the time was a light skinned young model. She was in the Converse store that day purchasing black Chuck Taylor sneakers for him that he had on his feet that night. I talked with him in the hallway leading to the entrance/exit about being his CPA. He sold me the story that his agency takes care of that business for him. I next bumped right into and gave a card to the boxer Zab Juda, he looked at me as if I was stupid or he didn’t know what I was talking about. At one point, I was standing next to a guy who had on a diamond necklace, I think his name was Pierre. He was in ear shot of me and we could hear each other very well, he said to me, “I have about three CPAs who work for me.” He took my card. I saw him later at the diner on 23rd St. driving a metallic blue S550 Benz AMG, getting out of the car clearly inebriated. I spoke with him once more and showed concern for his safety, which Pierre assured me, he would be OK. He was the guy I had most contact with that night in passing inside the club and at the diner. I never heard from him.

It seems as if on the surface, Black American people take other Black American professionals (CPAs, Lawyers) for granted as not knowing how to handle business. I have asked many Black American business owners in Bed-Stuy the, “whose your CPA?” question. A partner of the Therapy Wine Bar, told me someone they’ve used for 16 years whom I found out was some guy out in Benson Hurst Brooklyn, NY of all places; a place where a Black American man couldn’t mistakenly be caught in the neighborhood or he would be beat, occasionally to death, as was Yusef Hawkins in 1989. One partner of the Voudou Bar said they use some Russian guy who specialized in bars and that he saved them so much money in setting up the POS system, etc, and went into how they wouldn’t have time for me to learn their business and/or make mistakes; therefore they would never hire me as the main CPA of the bar that I’d supported with my dollars as a patron, as does many other Black American persons in the neighborhood, simply because it’s Black American owned. They would not grant a Black American CPA the same courtesy their business was thriving on. Of course this conversation was taking place on a Saturday night, with me being full of liquid courage (though, I do not think the person knew that) and I have not had a chance to initiate a formal meeting; I’ll let you know how that goes.

I recently read a book called “how to get anyone to SAY YES, in 8 minutes”. What I learned is that when persons are approached by someone they are not familiar with or have no prior relationship, their automatic unconscious response to any offer you make to them is repulsion. People do not know they behave in this fashion; this, on the surface explains why when approaching celebrities or sports players in a club, they are befuddled by my approach and I never hear from them. The NBA/NFL trains athletes to be on guard for people who try and sell them on business investments or financial advisement services, (not absolutely sure if they train them to be leery of Black American people; but looking at how adamantly they tried to convince LeBron James to not let his close, past high school state championship bound, team mates/friends handle his business affairs, I wouldn’t doubt it). Even with the hermetic club scenery and training of freshly minted millionaires to be on guard, I have read of many financial advisors, CEOs of hedge funds and stock brokers meeting clients sitting next to a pool on vacation or in a country club, being handed brochures out the trunk of a person’s car and later following up to do significant business with that person. So while it’s understood about the unconscious response, shouldn’t there also be an override to get to a positive response, at least to exchange telephone numbers and let the person work to set up a proper meeting, when approached by someone from your own race, whom you know is limited in opportunity and resources, whom you share many cultural traits and shibboleths, seemingly intelligent and articulate with enough nerve and chutzpah and ingenuity to approach you; at the very least, a hustler, grinding to make his/her life legally better?

I have tried to get persons I’ve been associated with all my teenage years and the bulk of my adult life, from my hometown where I grew to get me a meeting with NFL players they were directly related to in reference to being their CPA or giving me a reference to another rookie player or just giving me tips as to what they expect out of their professional CPA who handles their tax filings or financial management. I was granted no such meetings nor spoke with the players to receive no such advice or references.  No other race behaves in this manner and it is a PURE SHAME and lack of intelligence and non-support on our part as a race perpetually discriminated against by every other race within America.

As the population continues to grow within America, as immigrants legal and illegal enter the country with their hunger for survival and – find a needle in a haystack – work ethic, and government relief (Welfare and Affirmative Action) roles continue to get smaller and/or non-existent, it is imperative we as Black American people, especially those of us who are entrepreneurs do business with one another, establish scholarships to put our children (especially young men) through universities, teach them through interning and apprenticeship and hire them into long-term gainful employment positions. For Black American people and Black American men to survive, going forward, there must be an effort to trust in the education and work ethic of ourselves; even switching out the professional services that were sought upon persons of other races and replacing them with future growing professionals of our own race and culture. It is not a matter of reverse discrimination, but a matter of survival and a reprove to a system that has always treated us unfairly and will continue to do so. An interpolation of a lyric by Phife from A Tribe Called Quest in which he said, “Ego, I’m on my own jock still / cause if I don’t say I’m the best  / tell me who the hell will” (“Word Play” Beats Rhymes and Life album) I say “BLACK AMERICAN PEOPLE  / we must be on our own jock still / cause If we don’t say we the best, tell me who the hell will?” NO ONE!