3 Things we Can Learn From Al Harrington
The Black community is plagued by the need to create our own wealth generation after generation, and for some that means turning to the streets to make their lives remotely livable. For decades the black community has been pursuing fortunes in the underground market of cannabis and with America’s views on the substance are becoming more lenient, there is now more opportunities to pursue wealth within the legal cannabis industry. Former NBA player Al Harrington founded Viola Brands with the goal of helping the people who have used the industry illegally to move into legitimizing their business to begin to create generational wealth and bring our community together through business. Harrington brings to light 3 points I think we as a community need to start to understand and teach our communities.
- Investing your success into your community.
As black people we lead a lot of the worlds trends. Be it sports, activism, or education; it’s no surprise that as a community we have access to money unlike a lot of other groups of people. But when you go back to old neighborhoods, they’re still owned by people who may not have the best interests of our community at heart. We’ve read the headlines of landlords calling the police on paying tenants with the intent to get them evicted for no reason. In my opinion, our successful black men and women have a duty to take our communities back and make them more of a safe haven for the working class citizens. Harrington has used his success in the cannabis business to help fund a social equity program in Los Angeles, California; as well as feeding over 20,000 people across many different food banks.
2. Your passions can become Empires.
To those who understand weed/cannabis culture, its no surprise to hear that caring for the plants is no simple task. It takes careful planning to have the right temperature, humidity, and lighting to ensure for a good flower harvest. This business will not take off for someone who half asses the commitment this product takes. Most people smoke the weed and never consider the immense amounts of money being poured into this industry. Viola Brands has realized just how much the war on drugs affected the black community and they use their platform to help former illegal dealers become legit in the cannabis industry. Just imagine if more black people began to start black owned cannabis companies. We could potentially see a rise in felon hires and a decline in felons returning to jail for repeated offenses. Too many brothas and sistas are going down for simply doing the only thing they know how to do to survive. We have the power as a community to change this narrative.
3. We have to pay it forward.
It’s no surprise that most of the people Al Harrington has been able to help haven’t directly contributed to his success, yet he is offering his time and money to the community that needs it. The opportunities created through Viola Brands can and will be the stepping stone for many members of the Black community, we have the power to continue creating these for generations to come if we invest the money and time now. We’ve seen the success of Lebron James school in Ohio, I would love to see more invested in the schools and neighborhoods that desperately need the change. We have been shown that it will take all our efforts to get those in power to help us with the aid that we need, which means it falls on those who find success to bring it back to those who will never get the opportunity to taste it.