John Hope Bryant: Why African Americans Should Devote More Energy on Wealth-Creation


John Hope Bryant

Not enough Black people seek careers in business while too many go into politics. Entrepreneurial-oriented John Hope Bryant wants to change this.

The fifty-something head of Operation Hope exemplifies the entrepreneurial mindset Blacks need to know and emulate. These days most Blacks’ vision of empowerment is through the route of elective office. While our race’s “talented tenth” spend time, energy and money posturing to run for office;” what Blacks really need is tutorials on effecting economic empowerment. 

Blacks that continue to celebrate career politicians, by repeatedly sending them back to office. We need leadership beyond the realm of politics.  John Hope Bryant can illuminate the path toward liberation for blacks. The author of numerous books highlighting that true power comes from economic independence, not in politics; John Hope Bryant is showing the way to more prosperity.  Bryant’s economic message is spelled out in “The Memo” publication.

Blacks need less politics and more economic empowerment strategies, he argues. Small is the number of Blacks that see business as empowering activity. Too many want change to come about in our economic conditions without changing dysfunctional practices. One such habit is elevating politicians to celebrity statuses. 

Conveners of church or organizational conferences and seminars should pare down their Rolexes of politicians and broadcast news readers in lieu of experts like John Hope Bryant, an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion and economic empowerment. Bryant is focused on making free enterprise work for all and believes people have potential to prosper, with “a hand up and not a hand out.”  Bryant is responsible for the modern “Silver Rights Movement” and highlights the importance of investing in African American-owned institutions; and Blacks’ entrepreneurial ventures in our own neighborhoods and making informed decisions with finances.

Bryant founded Operation HOPE, Inc. following the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King revolt. The organization has an $8 million annual operating budget and Bryant a million dollars plus personal net worth. Bryant’s teachings remind Blacks to “Keep Hope Alive.” Through Operation HOPE and its partners, Bryant is responsible for more than $2 billion of private capital supporting low-wealth home ownership, small businesses, entrepreneurship and community development in under-served communities across the U.S. Operation HOPE operates partnerships in more than 300 U.S. cities. Bryant’s projects have served more than 1.5 million clients with government to private sector partners.

“We have to find the hope, the life purpose, and reason to live,” says Bryant. He has etched out a leading role in financial literacy. This book will “get your mind right, teach you clear ways to make changes to how you view money so that it becomes your friend and not something you chase, briefly acquire but can never hold on to, and fall into the same poverty trap that your loved ones have generation after generation,” he says.

Bryant wants more people to embrace “silver rights” with the kind of determination used for  “civil” rights.  Bryant says Blacks will never advance “unless we start implementing new ways of thinking.”  In The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation, Bryant teaches readers five rules that lay foundation toward achieving financial freedom. Surely, more Blacks can develop viable plans to get them out of poverty and desperation by subscribing to Bryant’s works.  Bryant admits, “There is inequality in America…..There is systemic racism that benefits people who seem to be handed everything in life, but you cannot do anything about that. You can’t take their money or privilege away…nor stop their rich relatives, spouses and employers from over paying or spoiling them. You cannot make these people care at all about you, nor your inability to pay bills on time.”

So he recommends that we adopt strategies that allow us to build our own wealth. Bryant provides an example of “civil” and “silver rights” coming together, as operator of HOPE Inside Atlanta on the campus of the King Center and as anchor tenant of the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via [email protected]

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