Dream and Hustle

Using Narrative Economics to Create Positive Change in the Black Community

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Economies are driven by storytelling and narratives.  How you project an image of yourself, your people, your community and your causes determine the level of money, power and respect you will get in return. 

If we look at first-world nations around the world, all of them are driven by narratives –German engineering, Italian design, American strong. However, we black folks like to promote negative narratives of ourselves – we market ourselves as ghetto ass ratchet victims to the whole world through our reality TV shows, our music and how we act up like a fool in public. 

Narratives make you or break you and the black community is broke because of our negative narratives. We are also suffering global image harm where we are losing our influence and to be taken seriously in the global economy. 

In this article we will explain narrative economics, how it is used against the black community and how to take control of our narratives to drive the destiny of our black communities into a positive force to reckon with. 

What is Narrative Economics?

Narrative economics is defining a story to an audience appealing enough where the audience convert the story into economic action.  Narrative economics is not the same as propaganda as there is an economic goal to the storytelling. 

A narrative economy is a collective of narratives designed to drive profits and growth.  For example, narrative that Silicon Valley is a tech haven drives people to the region looking for tech success; the narrative of Hollywood to get a start in acting or the narrative of Wall Street to break into the financial sector. 

The strategy of narrative economics is appeal to people existing opinions and biases and encourage them to take action on those internal biases and opinions. The narrative of FOMO or fear of missing out of winning a lottery drawing creating narratives of how rich one individual will be if they draw the lucky numbers to entice people to spend their money on lottery tickets. 

How Is Narrative Economics Used Against the Black Community

The black community has two depths of negative narratives being deployed against us. The first is a racist narrative that promote the black community as dilapidated, divested, hopeless, lost cause, dependent on the government and lazy and violent people. This narrative is designed to economic suppress the black community from outside investors and suppress economic growth. 

The second racist narrative is that of self-hate where we promote images of ourselves fighting on reality TV shows, we are hyper-sexual object, we cannot think rationally but emotional all the time and we stand down and docile towards our oppressors, asking for forgiveness. These narratives make the black community look weak and docile. 

These narratives are spread through black radio, black tv shows, newspapers, black web sites and blogs and viral black social media postings and memes. What many black people fail to understand is these narratives are shared around the world to other groups and cultures who form negative narratives of black people as a result. This in turn has major negative ramifications when black folks want to do business or move to other regions around the world. 

How to Transform the Black Community with Narrative Economics 

If we realize what is the biggest impact that we can do to improve the black community, the answer is take total control of our narrative – we cannot accomplish anything else until we take ownership of our story.  People around the world will respect us when we show them the real us and we stop allowing others to falsely portray us. 

The first and most important goal of any black economic empowerment movement is to first create narrative economics to be the driver of all future positive change to be implemented. The steps to establish narrative economics is to create a storytelling framework, engage in continuous content and leverage post-truths in a viral-first world. 

Create a Storytelling Framework. Create a writing pool with the goal of writing positive stories about the community. Look at mini-documentaries that can be streamed from a mobile phone and social media. Create small stories that can be distributed throughout barbershops and hair salons on their TV screens. Create a small radio stations or streaming station for people to tune into as underground radio where you talk about the good things and good news. The goal is to talk positive and uplifting without the bougie or toxic Christianity overtures. 

Engage in Continuous Content. Keep producing content and over time, the dividends will begin to reveal itself. One of the things people don’t realize is it is okay to go back and revise and improve previous content over time and update it. The best strategy is keep a backlog of story ideals and queue them up for release on a cadence so the audience can stay excited to hear about, read about or see at regular intervals. 

Leverage Post-Truths in a Viral-First World. It is okay to make up stories that are fantasy such as magical realism. Create a fictional story that resemble your community composed of people with ambition, people who doubting themselves, people who went out and did something and people talking and doing nothing. What we discovered is when we write about the sorry ass people in the community, those sorry people begin to look at themselves and change the person they are in real life. Creating fiction by ripping from the headlines allow you to engage readers with an alternative perspective and angle on how the black community really feel.

Shaping Our Own Story

If you look at tourism boards around the world, the goal and profession is to paint a positive portrayal of a region to go visit, enjoy and mostly shop at these places to spur economic growth. The black community has to create a narrative economic strategy to do the same thing for our communities if we want to also achieve economic growth. 

We have to create narratives that strongly fight and reject the negative narratives already in play and it is strongly recommended to go very hard and unforgiving. Go after existing media outlets and call them out in your storytelling to blunt their negative narratives of us as a people and community. Go after people who are sellouts and thinking they can crap on their own people for a few coins with impunity. Show the narrative that we have the mighty pen as well and we have a voice to express. 

Then it’s time to start creating our own stories and put them everywhere – social media, streaming media, lifestyle magazines, podcasts, cable access TV – and focus on ourselves. This is the one thing that does not cost a lot of money and little barriers to get up and running. We create narratives that show how we can startup businesses, how we can support our own businesses, how we can better our community with volunteer and services, how we can prepare for an emergency and how we can maintain a healthy and happy family unit. 

When we claim our narratives from others and start to speak on who we really are, that’s when the black community will see the economic growth we been missing. Take our audio channels away from national black radio stations promoting filth, take our news away from local news that only show black people getting arrested, take our reality TV from ratchet black women beefing and wanting to fight each other, take our blogs away from gossipers and soothsayers and begin to own our own story to tell our people. 

It can be done, we just have to start reclaiming our narrative. 


Ed Dunn

From Chicago West Side to Worldwide