My Response to John Hope Bryant’s Article “If Bill Gates Were Black”

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA


I wanted to share my thoughts regarding John Hope Bryant’s brilliant article that was posted on and by Bloomberg BusinessWeek today. I also wanted to have a healthy dialogue with those individuals who showed their lack of critical thinking skills before they reacted, and quickly responded in the negative, to the article.

It is my opinion that the moment many of us don’t understand something or it rubs us the wrong the way, the remaining of what we read or hear turns more into an episode of Charlie Brown, just a bunch of whah whah whah blah blah blah…and we don’t hear or interpret anything else. We are then too focused on a counter argument, but never on seeking clarification. Here is the link to John Hope Bryant’s article:

Below is my comment that I submitted to Bloomberg, that they will hopefully post in their comments section below the article. After you read John’s article and the comments made by other readers, please share your thoughts about the article and comments (inclusive of mine). Let’s have some healthy dialogue and if possible, some positive solutions to issues facing the Black community specifically, and all underserved communities in general. Here you go:

Economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty first begins with understanding the history of how this country was built, how we rebuild during economic downfalls, and how the least of God’s children are impacted. It requires us to look at the missing piece between the have’s and have not’s. 

So yes, possessing a bank account versus being robbed blind at check cashing centers is a bonus. Yes, having a credit score around or higher than 700, instead of 550 and lower, is a huge predictor of a community’s growth and prosperity—as well as an individual’s ability to thrive not just merely survive. Yes, being financially literate is imperative, because if you aren’t then you run the risk of falling prey to predatory lenders who can smell your desperation miles away.

If you don’t have a bank account then how are you depositing or cashing checks? Are you going to check cashing centers and giving them a portion of YOUR money to gain access to YOUR money? That doesn’t sound like the wisest of choices when you have a choice. Show me one millionaire or billionaire who doesn’t have a bank account. Show me one entrepreneur without a bank account. Show me. I’m sure you can’t.

The banking system isn’t corrupt, there are corrupt INDIVIDUALS in the banking system; just like there are corrupt individuals in countless other systems including government, religious organizations, educational institutions, charities, etc. You can’t blame a crisis caused by unethical behavior on an entire system, because just as there were predatory lenders who knew customers were potentially high risk for loan defaults, there are some ‘victims’ of this economic downfall who knew they bought more house than they could afford, who knew that they didn’t have true job ‘security’ but gambled with the odds anyway, who claimed to earn more than they actually had (and eventually they had more month than money). So unethical decisions from individuals caused our country to suffer these past few years.

This is a brilliant post by John Hope Bryant, that clearly expresses the sentiment that if African Americans had a Bill Gates-type-entrepreneurial role model then the vision for the Black community would not be limited to a mindset of ‘only the lucky get out’, and the ‘victory’ would not be narrowed to simply having a ‘Black President”.  

Think about it, if Bill Gates was a Black man, the money he donates and invests would be injected within his community first and then worldwide. Don’t most of us consider taking care of ‘home’ before we take care of the rest of the world? Don’t we start local and then go global? Well if this were the case, then Black communities would be resuscitated through Gates community giving, and the country (and world) would see a different ‘picture’ of these communities. 

John Hope Bryant is NOT saying that Black people don’t have entrepreneurial role models; he is saying that we need MORE business owners who are employing thousands, not merely hundreds (or less). He’s saying we need more innovators, more businesses in technology, etc. that provide a competitive advantage within the U.S. in general, and within Black communities specifically. He’s saying we need MORE Black entrepreneurs going into the community, going into the schools and teaching and sharing the ‘magic’ in their success. 

He is saying that in order to eradicate poverty and gain economic empowerment in the Black community it is going to take the Black community, not government, not charity, not handouts, but hard work and each person reaching back to an open hand and providing a hand up out of the pit. It’s going to require Black people with 700+ credit scores teaching those with 550 and lower credit scores how they did it. It’s going to require Black entrepreneurs to hire within their community, to bring on interns to learn the ropes at their company, and to mentor young Black children.

The majority of our role models that our children regularly see come from entertainment and sports backgrounds, which there is nothing wrong with that, except if you lack talent in either area, then what? 

Additionally, and no disrespect, but Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, and others have built BRANDS that employ–but none to the extent of a Bill Gates level; and all three brands represent entertainment or sports. In 2007, Microsoft employed a reported 79,000 people. That was in 2007. Name one Black-owned company that employs 79,000 people?  

So John Hope Bryant’s article says, “what if Bill Gates were Black?” What changes would you see in the Black community? What would Black children aspire to become if they saw a Black employer hiring thousands of people within their community? How many Black people could be employed (since unemployment is HIGHEST in the Black community)? How many of our children would be encouraged to excel in STEM courses and pursue careers in those fields so that they too could grow up to ‘be like Bill’?

We need to take the emotion out; we need to stop wanting to attack everything we don’t understand, and start acting like we are intelligent enough to ASK for clarification if needed, and to ASK how we can individually and collectively help solve the problem.

How many of you volunteer in the Black community? How many of you work with the underserved and underrepresented? How many of you are helping to work towards a solution? Or are you merely only focusing on picking at and tearing down the things you don’t understand, and the things you are against? If you aren’t doing anything to help the Black community, and other underserved and underrepresented communities, then what does your opinion really mean, and what are you truly adding to this conversation? 

John Hope Bryant you did an awesome job with this piece. We need our children to aspire to be entrepreneurs as much as (or more than) they aspire to be athletes and entertainers. Great, they want to be a football star, but let’s teach them to also start and build a business (now) as an additional revenue stream—so when their football career ends, they still have a career…and wealth, not just temporary riches! 

A broke mindset only gets the same results…an unfinished puzzle!



Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People

I ran across this article not too long ago that caught my attention. Simply titled the “7 Habits of Highly Frugal People”, it does an impressive job breaking down seven habits that everyone can do (if serious and committed) to become frugal in their spending and living. Living frugally means spending sparingly, scrimping, and skipping on purchasing simply because you have the money– choosing rather to save towards a purchase or investing in something with greater returns.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, barely making ends meet, having more month than money (with only high-end clothes or gadgets to show for), or realize that your financial legacy may not be much of one in 50-70 years (or worse, 5-10 years), then this article is for you. I took each habit, highlighted key characteristics and then provided additional details and resources at the end. I of course also included a link to the article so you can read it for yourself. Let’s get started shall we?

Habit One: Be Proactive
**Taking the first step and claiming responsibility; telling others this is your goal and intended lifestyle; listen to yourself and your excuses for buying things**

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind
**Visualizing effective frugality**

Habit Three: Put First Things First
**Recognize the effects of your finances and understand it’s okay to say no**

Habit Four: Think Win-Win
**Creating frugal win-win scenarios**

Habit Five: Communication
**How listening can help you to become effectively frugal**

Habit Six: Synergize
**Learning ways to be more frugal, and surrounding yourself with other frugal people**

Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw
**Learning to frugally renew yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually**

To read the article in its entirety visit: There are also some other great things and resources to consider that were mentioned in the article:

1. There are six action steps to take when you are feeling financially vulnerable:

2. When building wealth, remember to think of the big picture too

3. Learn to embrace the positive influence of saving money

4. Frugality doesn’t mean having to give up all of your luxuries and things that make you happy

5. Practicing frugal principles

6. Making SMART goals

7. Consider these 25 ways to pay off your debt more easily.

Copyright 2011.
Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman

Natasha’s “Discipline and Focus” Quote of the Day 12.15.11

I learn the lesson and move forward, not dwelling on what once was because I’m too focused on what I’m doing now and how it can impact my future. I’m not concerned with those I once encountered who I walked away from because if they were meant to be in my life today God would have kept them by my side…I am not concerned with what once was or if something could have been differently; the woulda, coulda, shoulda is for people who will always be less than where they need to be in life. I am also in no hurry to get to my future for I am still amazed by what is taking place today, the present, and the gifts that I receive daily by just being receptive and accountable. I strive to lead, live and make decisions in and through excellence not fear, doubt, or insecurity. Those who don’t see things that way usually don’t last walking next to me on this path. I lovingly allow them to stay behind or sprint ahead, because I’m on a long-distance mission of greatness that can’t be rushed or held behind.”

– Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

(a portion of this quote is an excerpt from her 12.15.11 “Breaking Bread With Natasha” posts. Check them out here: WordPress and Blogger)
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Day 13: The Googly Eyes Speaks Volumes About My Progress

>Just finished a great workout…second for the day. Earlier was cardio with plyometrics; tonight was arms baby! I definitely feel the burn. Low weights with high reps, and about four sets each exercise; I will make sure to stretch again in the shower. Today was pretty busy as I had plenty of errands to run. I made sure to bring along my fruit smoothie to sip on the first hour or so out, and then I had a banana a couple of hours later. By the time I made it home I was hungry, and a salad was calling my name!

For dinner I had the other serving of my butternut squash soup, and a black bean patty. I had yogurt for dessert, and when I got the munchies I nibbled on a few pieces of fruit (grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe). The key to all of this is making sure I get plenty of water; staying hydrated and flushing out all the junk we don’t want inside of us is very important. I make sure to keep plenty of water beside my bed to guzzle back throughout the night when I become thirsty, and first thing in the morning when I wake up and feel like I’ve been walking through the desert for several hours. 

It is extremely important that I remain focused and disciplined these next few days, because I know that the more I drive around and am visually seeing fast food restaurants like Popeyes Chicken, McDonalds, and the like, the more my mind triggers images of the great, yet fattening foods these establishments crank out by the minute. I haven’t been tempted to visit any of them, but I also don’t want the trigger to entice me to overeat when I return home. Even though I’m not having issues with overeating since I keep getting full faster on less food. Still there is no denying that I love food, and until I control the association my mind makes with food…I must stay focused on my fast…I have two to three more days on this phase, before I begin a slow transition of other foods back into my daily regime; so I want these days to count in every way.

It is very important that if you are fasting merely for spiritual reflection, connection, and awakening that you spend quality time in a peaceful environment, taking in all of your spiritual readings, music, etc. You should focus on light exercise, and take in yoga, walking, or jogging. If however you are fasting to lose weight, then you must also incorporate moderate exercise. You should consider three to four days per week for 30-45 minutes each workout. If you are fasting in hopes of cleansing your body for one to three days, make sure your focus is on drinking plenty of water, getting ample rest, and realizing that your body does not truly begin “fasting” until day 5…so days one to three are merely eliminating the food and junk you had in your body from the previous one to two days. It is not until day five and thereafter that you begin to get down deep…no pun intended. So don’t expect major changes externally or internally in one to three days. 

I don’t recommend two-a-day workouts, especially 7 days a week (like what I’m doing) unless you are accustomed to that level of intensity, and have been given the ‘green light’ by your doctor or other medical professional. Yes, I have experienced incredible results quickly, but that also has a great deal to do with my body’s muscle memory, and ability to handle the daily workload. That is a big reason why my body is leaning out nicely, and everything is tightening up as it should…my body is remembering how it is supposed to be, feel, respond, and look (okay I’m exaggerating with the ‘look’ statement, but you get my drift). 

I know how I feel and look, and from the response I got in the mall and various stores I went to today…I can gather that other people liked what they saw also…especially a few men who kept coming by the Carol’s Daughter store peeping in….the store clerk said, “girl you have some admirers checking you out hard!” I laughed and as I grabbed my bag and receipt I smiled and casually walked out of the store taking notice of the men. I’m accustomed to getting attention, but it feels especially great when you know how good you really look…head to toe…inside and out. When you feel good you radiate a positive glow that bounces off of everyone who comes into contact with you. That is how I felt today; how I have been feeling these past two weeks. I feel just like my nickname…Sunshine!

If you are a first-time faster, inexperienced with strict fasting, or have spent a great deal of your adult life yo-yo dieting, then I would say that fasting should be complemented at the MOST by moderate exercise four days per week. We’ll have to discuss another time the difference between light, moderate, and heavy workouts. Until then, I hope that all of you have a wonderful evening! Thank you for all of your support and well wishes as I come into the stretch of this awesome fast. I will definitely post pictures soon.

Warmest wishes,


Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.