Black Enterprise Magazine: John Hope Bryant Talks about New Book and CFPB Partnership

 

In part three of this series, Black Enterprise speaks with John Hope Bryant to learn more about his efforts to eradicate poverty and increase financial literacy through a partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and by sharing pearls of wisdom in his new book, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism.

BE: What fuels your passion for poverty eradication?

BRYANT: Guilt, responsibility, and frustration. The guilt comes from the fact that I grew up in Compton California in South Central Los Angeles, but because of the unique gifts of my mom and my dad, I got chances that other people didn’t get. We didn’t have a lot of money but my mom told me she loved me every day of my life. So I never really had a self-esteem problem. And my dad owned his own business for 54 years. My mother gave me a sense of “Yes I am,” and my father gave me as sense of “Yes I can.”

I grew up with my best friend George, who had better grades than me. He didn’t know who he was because he didn’t have supportive parents. I had a C+, but George had an A+. I wanted to be like George. But George wanted to be like Tweet, my next door neighbor. Tweet was the community gangster by 18 years old. However, I decided to model the banker who came to my class to teach financial literacy when I was nine. I asked him how to get rich legally. He said that he financed entrepreneurs. I said I don’t know what an entrepreneur was, but I wanted to be one. That dream kept me out of trouble. I started my first business the next year when I was 10. I sold candy. And for the next 10 years, I was going from one business idea to the next. Most of them didn’t work out, but it didn’t matter. I was growing more resilient, and my parents kept me focused.

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