When it comes to researching and implementing a successful strategy, you should look at both success models and failure models to have a full understanding of the environment and situation. In this article we are going to talk about the failure models of Dr. Claude Anderson and Derrick Coleman when it came to trying to create economic activity in the city of Detroit. The goal of this article is to establish teachable moments and takeaways so we can approach economic development in our community by learning from other people mistakes.
Please note that we have a lot of wannabees running around with Dr. Claude Anderson name in their mouth and have nothing but emotions running through their body. While I respect Dr. Claude Anderson, the reality is he is no father of black economics or modern economics or anything. Dr. Claude Anderson is just another light-skinned curly headed brotha who got into the white privilege circles during the 1970s and became a radio talk show host and book writer and now peddling Black Nationalism to sell books and advance his business. I respect Dr. Claude Anderson for being an elder but do not think for one second I worship him like the rest of these wannabee brothas running around because I know what is real in this arena. You will see when you dig a little deeper that Dr. Claude Anderson biggest flaw is exactly what I described.
The only African-Americans we have that proven and established true modern urban economic development were Maynard Jackson, former mayor of Atlanta; Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta; Bill Campbell, former mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, former mayor of Atlanta and Kasim Reed, current mayor of Atlanta. No one in this country done anything close to the people I mentioned in terms of building true economic development and culture for economic opportunities for black people and let’s make sure we have that understanding. Anybody who tell you they know all about black economics and cannot articulate who I just named is full of crap and you should be smart enough to know this.
If we want to go further, we can start naming Mo Ibrahim in Africa who worked with African dictatorships to start bringing in more democratic ruling and the Chinese to stabilize African nations and now many countries in Africa are establishing double-digit economic growth. We can talk about all of the black Africans involved in establishing digital money frameworks and remittance and setting up dams for electricity and so on. All of these cats are your black economic leadership that expands worldwide and adopted global patterns and practices with success models. What is sad is these black male wannabee that talk about economic empowerment and got Dr. Claude Anderson name in their mouth cannot even name the other cats in this world and profile what they are doing because they want to front an image more than create solutions and betterment.
Now let’s talk about Detroit because during the early 2000s there were two attempts by two individuals to try to create economic plans for the black community. One was Dr. Claude Anderson, a fish farmer and pundit and another was Derrick Coleman a former professional athlete. Our goal in this article is to show what they did, the outcome and then go into the takeaway and learning lessons.
Dr. Claude Anderson Copy-and-Paste Economic Bigotry for Detroit
In 2004, Dr. Claude Anderson who was a radio show host and author of Powernomics promoted the idea of creating an “African Town” to create an ethnic economic zone similar to Chinatown for black people in Detroit. African Town was a concept created by by Dorian Harvey and others where this business district would be a place where black business can do business with black people the same way Chinese merchants do business with Chinese customers. Dr. Claude Anderson role in all of this appear to advocate and provide expertise to the city of Detroit.
Dr. Claude Anderson proposed to create a feasibility study and was paid over $100,000 to document by the city of Detroit on how to establish a black business district. The $100K document can be found here at http://www.hoodresearch.org/powernomics/powernomicsplan.htm for your review. In the document, Dr. Claude Anderson made the case that immigrants are taking jobs from black people and African Town should be exclusively black with no other race allowed to participate and he name-drop PowerNomics over and over throughout this $100K taxpayer-funded feasibility study.
A resolution was drafted by the Detroit city council to create the Detroit Capital Development Corporation or DCDC based on Dr. Claude Anderson exclusion and xenophobic recommendations created a firestorm in mainstream media, notably Jewish-owned media outlets seem to show the most outrage. However, the city council passed the resolution and the the mayor of Detroit vetoed the resolution after getting heat from other communities who called the resolution racist and divisive and unconstitutional. The mayor veto was overridden by the city council but was not legally binding and after the firestorm, the buck was passed to another “regional economic development” group basically killing the legislative efforts.
But what we are missing from this African Town discussion is there is a corporate entity called AfricanTown (http://www.michigancorporates.com/corp/647115.html) and I read this quote about Dorian Harvey and the fallout.
“This controversy did not arise when the city gave Mike Illitch $40 million to build a baseball park, where the only Black person in the mix is a peanut vendor,” said Dorian Harvey, who plans to build an African-centered retail and entertainment complex. “What we’re trying to do is build enterprises where Blacks can be the owners and executive directors. We never thought about it being discriminatory, but I expect that any time Blacks talk about building wealth and becoming self-sufficient, as Marcus Garvey did with the Black Star ocean line, we can expect to be attacked.”
If this quote is true and said by Dorian Harvey, it appear the whole African Town concept was nothing more than a developer hustle ploy to get the city to pay for their development under the guise of Black Nationalism, plain and simple. The $40 million to build a baseball park is one thing but I don’t think we can compare the feasibility study for the baseball park to the feasibility study Dr. Claude Anderson created that attacked other ethnicities and name-dropped PowerNomics left and right. One city council member basically said they paid Dr. Claude Anderson $100k to promote his Powernomics book. This project failed because Dr. Claude Anderson chose to be a self-promoting xenophobic bigot and he screwed this all up for Dorian Harvey, plain and simple.
Derrick Coleman Going Bankrupt Ballin for Detroit
In 2007, Derrick Coleman a former NBA star who made $87 million according to news reports started using his money to invest in rebuilding and revitalizing Detroit where he grew up. Derrick Coleman financed a loan to create a strip mall on the west side of Detroit where he established Snyx Sneaker Bar to sell gym shoes and host tenants for a pizza shop, barber shop and bill payment center. Damn, where is the tax return center and hair beauty store while we at it? Why the all the stereotypical hood businesses for an $87 million man to do for the hood? Ok, let me keep going. (Update: the current strip mall do have a tax service – thanks for fulfilling the stereotype).
“Coleman grew up in the area and still maintains a home nearby. He has plenty more planned for the neighborhood, including a catering hall and Sunday brunch restaurant in a former Urban League Building as well as a cleaners, farmer’s market, car wash, laundry facility and a non-profit that will teach inner city youth how to become business people. He has purchased two blocks of property to this end and will invest up to $6 million in the vision.” Source: http://www.modeldmedia.com/devnews/snyx11707.aspx
Coleman financed his operation through loans and personal investments that also appeared leveraged with money from others to acquire these properties. Use other people money is the common thought that appears to be Derrick Coleman approach to financing his ventures and real estate. But the problem is when you do things on margin, you are hoping things go up so you can make a profit. But what happened in 2008?
The market collapse and the real estate market when to crap. Derrick Coleman debt financing were now worthless with no sign of a positive return. Detroit started to slip further and further as GM and other automakers were looking for bailouts and jobs were bleeding in Detroit and things were getting from bad to worse. But I know what you smart people are thinking – hey, didn’t Derrick Coleman setup a corporation so he won’t be liable for the bad investments? It does not appear so as Derrick Coleman had to file Chapter 7 (total dissolution) bankruptcy of his personal assets to deal with his creditors and debtors.
Teachable Moments and Analysis
In both cases, we had a pro-black nationalist and we had a professional black athlete who both wanted to do well for the hood and create economic development. In both cases, you saw the outcome which was not successful.
Dr. Claude Anderson could not keep his xenophobic bigotry to himself and did not fully understand how to approach getting taxpayer money to fund a project. It would have been very likely AfricanTown LLC would have got that $40 million and started development then but the mistake made was to bring in a Black Nationalist loudmouth who spewed nationalist hatred in a taxpayer funded feasibility study peddling his PowerNomics book in the document creating a firestorm of controversy.
Derrick Coleman went the opposite end of instead of using taxpayer money, he appeared to leverage his own assets and used debt financing to obtain real estate property and start businesses. The market collapse in 2008 and he owed debts and did not have assets and had to file for total dissolution in bankruptcy. Derrick Coleman mistake was not buying property outright and creating a corporate shield to protect his personal assets from liabilities. I’m wondering who was Derrick Coleman financial advisors through this whole episode.
I also want people reading this to understand – there were no real businesses being proposed in both plans, just the same strip-mall style merchant shops that only employ a few minimum or marginal-wage jobs. Black economic development is going to require skilled workforce and medium to large industrial/corporate operations to create jobs in a high density area and raise the housing and school market and taxpayer base and influence in these communities. Over and over when black people try to claim they about economic empowerment, they come with lightweight crap like a hair salon or fast food joint or clothing shop as the merchants who supposed to bring back the whole black neighborhood.
In Dr. Claude Anderson case, he speaks of fish farms and bottling and as people said back then, who wants to work in a damn fish farm and who want to look at bottles going down a processing line all day long? And for how much? These are not “good jobs” and people locally felt this was just good talk and not a real viable solution to the overall issue of black economic empowerment. But where Dr. Claude Anderson messed up and his biggest mistake was not realizing import/export and trade relations are needed with other groups to establish our own GDP and growth. Being a xenophobic ain’t going to get us anywhere except selling handmade soaps and African wood art under vendor tents.
The teachable moment here is we need to establish plans that focus on economics, not black pride and Black Nationalist ideology that has no basis in reality on how money works in this world. We got too many recycled “black economic power” clowns popping up on the scene and their followers keep talking the same thing but do not understand economic modeling and patterns and practices of urban economic development. I find it funny you lightweight ass clowns talking about Jason Black and 7AM or Dr. Boyce Watkins and his Black Wall Street when the last I checked, Atlanta Black mayors created an airport and jobs around that airport, created a hotel and convention industry and jobs around the hotel and convention industry, create Atlantic Station, created downtown condo living and now creating light rail connecting downtown to the Historic Auburn District and made Atlanta an InterNAP hub for Internet traffic and hosted the 1996 Olympics. Yeah, you ain’t got nothing to say on that, ain’t yall? Like I said, Boyce Watkins talking about some damn strip in Oklahoma called Black Wall Street in the early 1900s like that was our legacy when we had Herman Russell here in Atlanta building skyscrapers!
What we need to take away from the two mistakes made in Detroit is simple – we cannot rely on Black Nationalist mouthpieces and professional athletes to save the hood or rebuild it because they either have a big mouth filled with bigotry or cannot handle their money right. We need smart cats like we got here in Atlanta that knows how to build things and run things. Like I said before, we got wannabees that want to mention Dr. Claude Anderson who already screwed up an opportunity in Detroit and you haven’t seen a damn thing about the success models of Atlanta in that 7AM YouTube quality documentary by Jason Black and Tariq Nasheed.
Here is the take-away and lesson learned we need to establish economic empowerment in our urban communities.
Establish Economic Clusters. Create a vertical cluster that can develop skills and talent. India did this creating IT hubs and talent is coming out of these regions. China did this creating manufacturing hubs and the cats who want to be about it with vision need to create hubs for financial, IT and manufacturing service on one aspect to develop regional talent and skills that will generate global demand. This is not small merchants, this is manufacturing and professional services that create entrepreneurs who in turn create jobs and exports.
Multiple Entrepreneurs need to be Involved. There is not going to be one person like a Dr. Claude Anderson or Derrick Coleman leading the black economic movement and that’s fantasy romantic thoughts right there held by Black Nationalist characters. I have losers coming to Dream and Hustle comment section trying to say what I’m doing or I’m not about this and you can tell these are clowns trying to pick and choose a black economic leader instead of realizing we all have to work towards establishing black economic foundation. That is why you don’t see me respond to these stupid ass black folks talking that ish about Dr. Claude Anderson when that old xenophobic bigot ain’t going to lead us anywhere except alienate global partners from doing business with black folks.
Establish Financial Organizations. Instead of trying to get taxpayers to foot the entire bill, we can get them to just give tax breaks and pay for the sewer and street work – those are very important and that is what we can get the city to do with no issues. But for real estate, we create REITs and we also focus on generating investments for land and buildings. However, do not think real estate is a good path as we can do things on open land with pop-up shops and shipping containers and generate revenue. In addition, we create private clubs that are non-profits that works on community economic improvement and compete against the Urban League and Black Chamber of Commerce who have proven to be mostly self-serving at best. And we don’t use our personal assets to finance or pay for anything unless it is a small amount under $5000 (which is possible).
We Need Imports and Exports. We do not need to go around blaming immigrants and other ethnic groups. Let the rest of America own the bigotry aspect of America and we have nothing to do with that. We want and need Chinese tourists to come in and spend in our community. We want to export goods to Asia and Africa and Europe and elsewhere. We need to build products to export and have people come in to spend money in our communities. Economic development is about moving money in our community, not black identity with black owners, black employees and black consumers – that is a bunch of stupid ass race nonsense right there. You need money coming in for your tax base and use that tax base to spend on your community, your schools and your housing investment to increase. Don’t let another idiot tell you or sell you on that “blackface business district” crap again because that is not how economic works and that is not our solution to black economic empowerment.
Don’t Leave Atlanta Out of the Success Model Conversation. No one is credible talking about black economic empowerment and do not discuss Atlanta success models. There is really nothing else to add because this is too self-explanatory.