Actress Nia Long Claims Black People Need To Learn Difference Between Being Rich and Being Wealthy

The perception of success in the black community is often criticized for being driven by materialism. Hip-hop culture can be partially to blame as it is responsible for some of the biggest examples of “success” and “wealth” for people of color, followed by athletes who personify a lot of the same ideas. While promoting her 2020 film The Banker, actress Nia Long discussed this learned idea of success and the importance of unlearning and redefining what it means to be wealthy for people of color.

The Banker is a 2020 American drama film directed, co-written, and produced by George Nolfi. It stars Long alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie. The story follows Joe Morris (Jackson) and Bernard S. Garrett Sr. (Mackie), two of the first African-American bankers in the United States. The movie follows the pair over 20 years as they break into the American real estate market following the introduction of Red Lining. Red Lining is when banks refuse a loan or mortgage to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk. It was introduced in 1933 by the federal government. It was designed “to provide housing to white, middle-class, lower-middle-class families” while “African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects.”

Long plays Eunice Garrett, Mackie’s character’s wife. While speaking to The Breakfast Club, she opened up about how the film shifted her perception of wealth and success and how she hopes to educate others. She briefly talks about the film’s plot and how Mackie and Jackson’s characters fought against redlining by using a white man to help them by being their front person. “These two men came into the game so that black people could buy property. They used a white man as a frontman to trick the bands into selling to them,” she said.

Speaking on shooting the film, she recalls it being a “fun ride” and a “great history lesson.” She then opened up, saying, “We need to start having the conversations of rich versus wealth.” Long explains that she feels we should have a rich spirit but still strive to be wealthy because, according to her, “wealth is generational.” “As black people, we are so used to being satisfied with just getting a new pair of sneakers or getting a nice car or record deal or job we want. We were raised to survive and not strive,” she told the radio show.

“At the end of the day, we are the heart and soul of culture,” she said.”We control the cool,” Charlamagne chimed in. “If we’re controlling that, why aren’t we controlling the money? We create the avenue for the cool!” Long admits to being guilty of it as well, sometimes opting to buy a Chanel bag over-investing or to put her money somewhere where it can grow. “I need both,” she said, saying that sometimes the key is having balance.

Dj Envy, who has a history with buying and selling homes, doubled down on the idea that unfortunately, many are not taught how to invest in themselves and their wealth and that it is an ongoing process of teaching and unlearning, but he feels hopeful that the next generation will understand.


About John Davidson

John Davidson is a California native who enjoys hip hop music, skiing and traveling international. Davidson graduated from USC majoring in Journalism.

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