EQUITY RESTORE: Black Culture Assets

tommy johnson
6 min readOct 9, 2020

It’s grossly obvious that Black culture plays an influential role on the global economy. Whether its historical accomplishments in pioneering civilization dating back six million years ago or its plethora of inventions that support modern society today, the evidence of Black culture’s omnipotent legacy pre and post colonization can no longer be suppressed.

In the zenith of the Black Lives Matter era, acknowledging and fortifying the economic value of Black culture assets is a pivotal step towards equity restoration. More often than not, the contributions Made with Black Culture are perpetually divorced from an economic reality which undermines well being, environmental safety and accelerates income disparity for Black culture at large.

Therefore, when I speak of equity, I’m referring to ownership stake. Whereas, restoration absolves the guilt of exploitation by offering an economic model for truth and reconciliation. The objective is to move beyond performance based diversity quotas to upholding equitable relationships with corporations borrowing the equity of Black culture for economic gain.

First, let’s take a look at the dynamics of Black culture’s assets.

An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation, or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit. Assets can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow. Financial assets (Ex: real estate, patents, stocks, equipment) are reported on a company’s balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a company’s value.

On the contrary, cultural assets which are the customs/attributes of a particular group of people, also have significant economic value. The assets of Black culture generate over $7 trillion in revenue for global corporations. However, cultural assets are not acknowledged on a company’s balance sheet. This has major consequences because returns on these assets are not delivered to Black culture.

The assets of Black culture that significantly affect the global economy are IMAGE & LIKENESS, LABOR, ENDORSEMENT and PATRONAGE.

According to Neilson Data, when the image/likeness of Black culture are marketed and advertised it generates $2.8 Trillion of revenue for corporations. Marketers strategically leverage this Black cultural asset to ensure consumer adoption and capitalistic wins for clients. The image/likeness of Black culture brings credibility and relevance to select brands.

A vast disconnect exists between contractually owning the image/likeness of a person versus owning the person’s cultural equity. The term cultural equity refers to the economic cache that a group of people possess in influencing consumer behavior.

Given the proven economic impact generated from Black culture’s alignment with a product (also known as the ‘Black effect’), the culture itself multiplies the economic value of business. For example, Black culture’s alignment with CashApp accounted for increasing the company value by 77% to $40B.

We see countless scenarios of Black culture assets being exploited since the slave trade. Unfortunately, the harmful values of free enterprise permits commercializing a group’s culture for profit without mandating acknowledgement nor economic reciprocity to the culture at large.

The highly skilled talents of Black culture representatives working for corporations adding exponential value stems across all industries. Very quietly and understated, Black culture representatives are architecting high power brand identity, product design, business development and operational management strategies that uplift Fortune 500 companies to prominence.

Professional sports offer a linear demonstration of the economic force of Black culture’s labor.

For example, when unpacking the labor force proportion of the NFL and NBA, we find that 70% of the employed talent/athletes are representatives of Black culture. It’s no myth that marketable players boost the popularity of the sporting league, while generating substantial revenue for professional sports organizations. However, the economic value of Black culture’s labor is a significant asset to professional sports accounting for a majority stake of sports leagues financial value.

While the exchange of wage for labor is a mutually agreed upon transaction between two parties and denoted as a payroll expense on corporate balance sheets. The magnetism of Black culture’s labor must be acknowledged for its overarching financial impact.

Endorsement is a form of brand marketing, in which an influential person certifies a brand’s validity by extending their image and/or popularity to the brand. The purpose is to borrow the equity of the endorser to drive product sales and credibility. Endorsers willing sell their notoriety to paying brands.

The endorsement by representatives of Black culture have historically yielded above average profits for corporations. In many cases, it substantially increases company value. Brands such as Nike, UnderArmour, Adidas, Coke, Pepsi, Fashionnova, and Supreme are examples of corporations that experienced a 43%+ increase in total business evaluation from Black culture endorsements.

Given the prominent track record of Black culture’s endorsements of brands, its economic impact on the global economy is asset worthy.

Capitalism leads us to believe that there’s no connection between producers and consumers. Thus placing the creation of poverty on consumers without acknowledging that poverty exists because of wealth accumulation. The separatist thinking which fuels this problematic outlook on economic inequity is replete with a plethora of exploitative business practices that does not request corporate accountability for redistributing a portion of economic resources to the consumer group they commercialize.

The patronage of Black culture is proven to influence consumer buying across the general public. In line with the sentiment of ‘cool flows upwards’, when Black culture are the early adopters of a product, it increases the likelihood of the specific product scaling to other demographics. This expansive phenomenon can be witnessed with fashion, sports, entertainment, food, electronics/tech and beauty care products.

The acknowledgement of Black culture patronage as an asset, seeks to strengthen the consumer-producer relationship, in a manner that nurture’s equity restoration.

In summary, quantifying the economic impact of Black culture assets on the global economy is paramount to overcoming systemic racism.

For the sake of equity restoration, we must develop an economic instrument that retains revenue generated by the economic force of Black culture’s assets on the global economy.

The economic instrument insures that Black culture assets are protected, preserved and perpetuated through an economic model that sustains Black culture at large. Similar to insurance products that protects assets like homes, vehicles or physical health from being adversely impacted. The assets of Black culture must be insured against corporate exploitation.

Protecting the assets of Black culture is a practical step in strengthening the economic viability of Black culture.

Originals Nation is nonprofit organizing Black America for economic progress. We are a national community of African descendants advocating for economic equity and wealth building. Our work is rooted in addressing the economic inequalities that reinforce systemic racism by raising consciousness and deploying enterprises that establish infrastructure for cultural growth.

To join us in manifesting economic equity visit ORIGINALSNATION.COM