Feb 26, 2009

Newbos: The Rise of Americs's New Black Overclass premieres Thursday, February 26th 9p | 1a ET

It's an American success story. Self-made black multimillionaires, many of whom grew up poor, have made vast fortunes in the sports, entertainment and media industries.

The new moguls made their millions under the age of 40, primarily by taking more ownership and control over their brands than their predecessors. Collectively, black athletes in the NFL, NBA, and in Major League Baseball earned nearly $4 billion last year and the nation's 20 highest-paid hip-hop entrepreneurs brought in more than $500 million. Now, with their newfound wealth come responsibilities to their family, friends, and community.

Based on Lee Hawkins' forthcoming book of the same title, NEWBOs: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass examines the growing responsibilities of black celebrities in the Obama age. The project features personal stories and interviews with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. It's an inside look into how each successful NEWBO surmounted challenges to achieve the American Dream.

So is it safe to assume that the only way African Americans can become successful in this country is for them to be an athlete or an entertainer? Rich black celebrities are nothing new. People are well aware of the fact that we have wealthy rappers, athletes, and entertainers, but where is the story about the successful businessmen like Dick Parsons. I'm so sick and tired of stories coming out that act as though the only way an African American can be successful is if they dribble a ball or know how to recite a nice rhyme. This is the main reason why when you ask so many black children what they want to be when they grow up they always answer: a football player, a rapper, or a basketball player. Rarely do they answer with anything else because they are not afforded the opportunbity to see anything else. I am not hating on athletes, entertainers, or the like (hell, make that money and don't let that money make you), but I do have a problem with Black people being placed in a box when it comes to being successful. We have to stop putting limitations on our potential and the potential of our children. They are so many paths to success. We are some of the most innovative and creative people in the world. Surely, we can find other avenues in which to amass our wealth.

And before I step off my soapbox let me be the first to say I hate the name Newbo. It sounds a little too much like Sambo to me...LOL!!! Maybe it's just me.

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