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May 28, 2024 27 mins

Today's special guest is financial literacy entrepreneur and businessman John Hope Bryant.

Bryant is the founder, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of nonprofit Operation HOPE. He joins host Ramses ja to discuss hi new book "Financial Literacy For All".


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Speaker 1 (00:00):
John Hope Bryant is an American entrepreneur and sought after
thought and philanthropic leader who is referred to as the
Conscious of Capitalism by Leading Fortune one hundred CEOs. Bryant
is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Operation Hope, Incorporated,
the largest not for profit and best in class provider
of financial literacy, financial inclusion, and economic empowerment tools and

services in the United States for youth and adults. Operation
Hope is working to level the opportunity playing field, connecting
communities to the private sector through inclusive capitalism at scale.
Bryant is also chairman and chief executive officer of John
Hope Bryant Holdings, Brian Group Ventures, and executive chairman of
The Promise Homes Company, the largest for profit, minority controlled

owner of institutional quality, single family residential rental homes in
the US. Bryan's financial empowerment work has been recognized by
five US presidents, and he has served as an advisor
to three sitting US presidents representing both parties. And Dad
Heat is our guest today. This is the Black Information
Network Daily Podcast, and I am your host. Rams this

job all right, mister John hope, Brian, Welcome back to
the show.

Speaker 2 (01:11):

Speaker 1 (01:12):
I would ask how you've been, but I already know
that you've been thriving. I've been seeing you everywhere. It's
an honor to It was an honor to have you
on the show the first time. It's even more of
an honor to have you back.

Speaker 3 (01:24):
Welcome back, pleasure, my man, honor to be associated with
you guys. You guys have been a force for good
on what I call the Silver Rights Movement s I
l v R from getting us from the streets to
the suites because you cannot you cannot do this without
the media. Our people, doctor King Newould have had a
movement without the media. Yeah, and you guys have been

locked on man, and I appreciate it. I now have
a podcast on the network with Charlemagne and Black Effect
Network called Money and Wealth. So that's I'm now laying
laying a business plan out for our people every Thursday.
I'm hoping that after a year there'll be a whole
portfolio of episodes that you can give to your daughter. Hey,

just listen to this before you go to college. Listen
to this before you get married, right, listen to this
series where you get start of business. That plus the book.
If they can't get to me or opertional for coaching
and counseling, we'll create the memo that we never had
the business plan for the rest of our lives.

Speaker 2 (02:26):

Speaker 1 (02:27):
Sure, And you know I've been I've been seeing you
in the media over the past let's call it the
past year. And I know you've always been very visible,
but it seems like you've either redoubled your efforts or
there's there's there's a bit of a stride that I
see that you're on in terms of really ensuring that

people prioritize their financial education right, And you mentioned your book,
Financial Literacy for All, So let's talk about the book
a bit. You know, there's a there's a statement that
I came across and I believe it was something to
the effect of financial literacy is the civil rights issue

of this generation. So talk a bit about your book
and talk a bit about that statement to give our
our listeners rather insight into why this is so important
for us.

Speaker 2 (03:26):
It's as important as the right to vote was.

Speaker 3 (03:29):
And I know that's a provocative statement and I hope
people feel us edgy because I want them to be
on the edge of your seat. We live in a
free enterprise democracy. When you wake up in the morning,
your days, if your day's not about God or love,
your days about money. But do we understand money? We

know how to spend it. We think people get rich
or wealthy for life. Rich and wealthy. Rich is a
there's nothing that's good well you can get you know,
we've seen all that. We've seen ball players and rappers whatever,
get a contract millions of dollars four years, five years later, bro,

because that wasn't wealth, that was just an income stream.

Speaker 2 (04:16):
So no one taught us how money works.

Speaker 3 (04:18):

Speaker 2 (04:19):
It's what we don't know that we don't know this
killing is. But we think we know.

Speaker 3 (04:22):
And Bashor Andrew Young, who was on that bafphoning when
doctor King was assassinated and who got the memo on
the pivot from racial issues to economic issues and government controls.
Really the government control. It was racial issues government control
so that you would not have the racial issues. And
then he's not in public spaces and we had dignity
and access. And then the economic pivot, which was doctor

King's last pigot pivot. And Bashl Young has said to
me recently after listening to me ramble on about credit scores,
he said credit score might be as important, if not
more important, than a college education. A credit score, I
mean you have a credit score of a seven hundred
seven fifty eight hundred and a good idea and hustle.

I mean, the bank's not going to tell you no.
The computer will tell you yes at midnight for whatever
your reasonable dream is. I want to line a credit
seven hundred credit score, Yes, I want a decent I
want to prim rate on a mortgage loan or car.

Speaker 2 (05:24):
Yes, I want to. I have a seven to fifty
credit score of eight hundred.

Speaker 3 (05:27):
I want to start a small business guaranteed by the
an SBA guarantee small business loan through a bank. Yes,
subject to probably some look at the business plans, but yes, conditional. Yes,
because the colors green. The color today it is green.
It's always been green, by the way, it's just more
so today. And to your point about the pace picking up,

it's the movement meeting the moment. Really, I've been talking
about this forever, but George Floyd's murder triggered what I
think and that I was part of. We had a
Noah's Ark moment here in twenty twenty that I think
God inspired because he saw his heading in the wrong direction.
He wanted to give us free will. But I think
the former president was a bridge too far. That guy

was the end of everything, and he had to get
him out, and he had to squake us up, and
so he interjected in my opinion, a Noah's Ark moment,
worst pandemic in one hundred and twenty five years in
the world, for a euro social justice recording of black
America that solved in our own by our own people
on the Capitol. Never happened in the history of America.
All that reset everything in one year. And I think

George Floyd's murder triggered something in this country and ignited
something in this country. But I call the third Reconstruction,
and I think between twenty twenty and twenty thirty is
our last shot. This is no one's gonna I think
I never said this on media before publicly, I don't
think we're gonna get another shot. I think that folks
will say we try. If this moment comes and goes,

I think mainstream America will say, well, we gave it
every week, and we tried, we committed, you know, sixty
billion dollars private money, and we did this, we did that,
and it didn't work. And now it's time for what
they know, or time for Asians or you know whatever
whatever the four whites who are now riding at the
ballot box. By the way, the former presidents never happened ever, right,

the world's changing and we're no longer the largest minority
group in America, I mean African Americans. Now we are
you at black and brown. So I think we got
to upgrade our software. And so there's so many things
that tie into this conversation, but the base of this
root of this tree is financial literacy. Again, you can

make it and lose it. So we got we gotta
make it and keep it right, you know. And we
had to change our relationship capital man, Like if you
hang around nine bro people.

Speaker 2 (07:54):
You'll be the ten.

Speaker 1 (07:55):
Yeah, I heard you say that.

Speaker 2 (07:58):
So it's this is a revolt. It's not it's an evolution,
but it is a revolution of fault.

Speaker 3 (08:07):
And we got to start fighting from the neck up,
not the shoulders that.

Speaker 2 (08:10):
We're used to.

Speaker 3 (08:11):
This it's nothing, This ain't nothing. It's that's old school, man.
We got to move from the suites from the streets
of the sweets. We gotta start cutting business deals. We
got to start owning the Quincy Jones told me, if
you think you're in the music business, and you know
all music rights, licensing rights, publishing rights, some kind of rights,

you're actually not in the music business.

Speaker 2 (08:37):
You're just a temporary performer. Wow boom.

Speaker 1 (08:42):
You know it's funny. I was. So, I'm a friend
of Isaac Hay's the Third. I saw him put a
post up this might have been two or three days
ago where he was talking about his dad not owning
the rights to his music. And so Isaac's the Third,
the founder of Base. For those not familiar the social
media side, he where a lot of people think that

he grew up with money and resources. You know, he
did not. He grew up in a one bedroom apartment
with his mother and two sisters, and they struggled and
he had to work. And when he stepped into the
music business, he learned the lessons from his dad which
allowed him to set his music career up in such
a way to where he had the fiscal resources to

start fan Base without any without much in the way
of venture capital, and he was able to learn that
lesson because his dad was able to have money and
lose it, and so many people are that first one
to have money in their family lineage, that often without
the education that I believe that you're talking about in

your book. It's very easy for people to lose wealth
once they get their hands on a little bit of
it instead of extending that out into the future. So
I think that's that may be so thing that that
readers can look forward to in the book. Am I right?
And assuming?

Speaker 3 (10:03):

Speaker 2 (10:04):
Oh it's ground zero. In fact, I just wrote you
just inspired me.

Speaker 3 (10:08):
So I just wrote that down because I'm going to
cover I just met out of Caes's son at a
economic empowerment tour for the vice president, Vice President Harris.
He wasn't that. Wasn't that a rap concert? Wasn't it
hip hop convention? Wasn't that a you know club? It
was at It was in the morning at a national
economic empowerment tour for the vice president the United States,

and he was front center and takeing notes. And now
it makes sense he was hanging out with the guys
whom earned your leisure, And now it makes more sense
why he's Rainbow's only follow storms. You can not have
a Rainbow without a storm. First, the brother who was
on Ghostbusters, he was on Breakfast Club recently.

Speaker 1 (10:51):
I saw that.

Speaker 2 (10:52):
He said, you know, you know in peace, he said,
it was brilliant.

Speaker 3 (10:55):
He said, you know, people think that you're you know,
you're a celebrity or you know, rich and rich and popular.
You can actually be you know, well known and broke. Yeah,
like that, And he's right, and we could we forget.
This is the music business. It's the business of music.

We forget that. It's the sports business. It's the business
of sports. I don't want to bounce basketball. I want
to own the basketballs. I want to I want to
I want to own the stadium. I want to own
the team. I want to own the I want to
own the concessions that support every game. I want to

be the company that paints the strips on the based
the basketball court. I want to own the company that
sells the hoops and you know, all the support equipment
for a basketball game. I want to own the jeditorial
company that cleans up before and after the games. I
want to own the infrastructure that we've got to change

our we want we want to rock the mic, no
own the mic. We want to bounce the basketball and no,
I'm gonna own the team. Like we want to cash
a check. No, no, right the check?

Speaker 2 (12:11):

Speaker 3 (12:12):
I mean, we got to we need a revolution in
our thinking, in the in our approach to this whole situation.
And as I said earlier with your friend Doug, you
know people say, oh, I hate rich people. No you don't.
You hate rich people until you become rich. What what
you hate is a game system. And I what I

do in this book, Financial Literacy for All, which is
the number one best seller economics in the world by
the way today on Amazon, is I unpacked the game.
I unpacked the system, and I repack it with you
in mind. And it's very practical. It's very step by
step oriented. It's it doesn't talk over your head. It

uses me and my mistakes that I've made my life
as practical examples. I talked about my mother, who had
a high school education, went back to high school at
age sixty two to get her a high school equivalency,
and she worked a job for thirty two years at
fifteen eighteen bucks an hour, and she died with a
million dollar net worth, had a will, and took their

children up with assets and had a and had she
had a life insurance policy. You know, everybody, listen to this.
This is a practic work. You know, even though it
drives me nuts. These celebrities and you have these go
fundme campaigns when they pass away, the celebrity can't afford
their burial expenses. What kind of crazy thing is that?

We don't even talk about this stuff. We normalize it.
It's a celebrity, a well known person who made a
lot of money, needed to go a public fundraise to
be buried. Crazy for twenty five thousand dollars, sorry, for
ten dollars a month. Five to ten dollars a month,
you can get a twenty five thousand dollars life insurance
policy if you're in decent health for twenty bucks a month.

You can get one hundred thousand dollars policy. For not
much more than that, you can get a million dollar
life insurance policy one million dollars, you know, for less
than one hundred bucks a month. Why would you do that?
I mean you'll leave that's generational wealth, by the way,
interview over, just do that, yeah, interview over, just you

know two percent of people watching this do that. You'll
create generational wealth. You don't need be operations. You don't
need off this other stuff. Just do that, and you
a term life share policy and a will and buy
a home and pass it down, don't sell it right,
and you'll you'll solve the black wealth problem in twenty years.

And so I think that this stuff's ill. Can I
give you one more example of crazy?

Speaker 2 (14:51):

Speaker 1 (14:51):
That's what we're here for.

Speaker 3 (14:53):
I break this out in the in the book, I'm
obsessed with credit scores and how you lived at sixty
one years old in a five eighty credit score neighborhood.

Speaker 2 (15:04):
By the way, I'm obsessing on your hair. Man.

Speaker 3 (15:05):
I love your hair. I really I wish I wish
I had here like that. Man, that's that's that's cool.
You lived at sixty one years old. For those who
can't listening to this and can't see it, he's got
a cool fro. You live sixty one years old and
five eighty credit scored neighborhood. You lived at eighty one
years old in a seven hundred credit score neighborhood fifteen

minutes apart. So you live twenty years shorter life because
you live in a low credit scord neighborhood.

Speaker 2 (15:33):
Now, what do you see in that neighborhood. We've normalized this.

Speaker 3 (15:36):
Now want listeners to now pull over so you don't
fall out and run into somebody when I say this,
check casher next to a payday loan lender. Here's a
rap for you. Here's a word next to a title
loan lender. Now see there, you're finishing. Let's sit next
to a pawn shop, next to a store. I mean,

can go on and on and on, fast food restaurant, uh,
smoke cat, well, the church down the street, your local
neighborhood therapist keeping you from at least the last generation
keeping us from going craik. Great, you go in there,
hoop and holla, get it all out of your system

so you can't go postal on Monday.

Speaker 2 (16:25):

Speaker 3 (16:26):
One of the problems I have with our current generation
is we're not going to church, man. We've dropped religion
and spirituality. Sorry, we dropped religion and we're dropping spirituality,
which is why we're so depressed, Which is why we're
so distressed, which is why we're so stressed out because
we are God's child man, and the only way that
oppressed people can get over rounded through it without going

nuts and becoming base and becoming worse than those oppressing
us or as bad as bad as those oppressing us.
Is to have a moral certainty in our heart and
spirituality in our soul. That's God, and we for some
reason we have we're not doing what our parents did
to keep us saying. And so that neighborhood I just

explained to you is every hood in America. It's every
neighborhood in America. Fifteen minutes from that as well, fifteen
minute car dra or less is a seven hundred credit
score neighborhood that's not race specific. And by the way,
that's white rural and black and brown urban. What I
just described. If you're white, poor rural, you see the

same thing. Yeah, that should payd a loon linder rental store.
And that's why these dudes, these these white you know,
the number one group dying in America, high school educated
white men. They're dying of depression opioid addiction, but it's
really depression.

Speaker 2 (17:45):
And they're and they're rioting.

Speaker 3 (17:46):
They're so angry that America walked away from them after
the Industrial Revolution, didn't give them a business plan for
the rest of their life, and now rioting at the
ballot box.

Speaker 2 (17:55):
With this former president, which is crazy. The whole thing's nuts.

Speaker 1 (18:01):
We are here today with John Hope Bryant discussing his
new best selling book, Financial Literacy for All and easy
to read First Step towards a fulfilling financial future. So
let me do this. I want to make sure that
we highlight this book. I did see your Breakfast or

a clip from your Breakfast Club interview, and there was
a lot of interesting things that you brought up there.
But one of the things that stands out right now
in having this conversation with you, you mentioned your mother
and how she went back to school when she passed.
She had a net work she was able to pass

along to you. And this reminds me, at least the
stories that you've been sharing so far, reminds me of
a book that I read. Actually, the author lives not
too far from my house. I see him from time
to time driving his old old Land Cruiser. But his
name is Robert Kiyosaki, and he wrote a book called
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which I read back in maybe

two thousand, right, And this book feels like it might
have some of the some similar principles, but more focused
on Black Americans and our specific predicament is that is
that a fair comparison to make.

Speaker 3 (19:26):
It's not only fair, it's brilliant because you could also
go one step further and you could say that Operation
Hope is really a software upgrade that's urbanized and focused
on black and brown people, a softwareupgrade of junior Achievement. Now,
I didn't think about it. I wasn't like, oh, I'm
gonna I'm going to model or upgrade or pivot off

of junior Achievement. I've found that. I realized that twenty
years after I founded the organization that when people were like, well,
why wouldn't you just go to Why wouldn't people just
go to ja Why don't they Why do they need our.

Speaker 2 (20:00):
Preach and hope in the hood?

Speaker 3 (20:02):
And it was a good question, and I had to
not emotionally ask myself, well, maybe Operate Shop's not necessary,
Maybe I should just be funding as a philanthropusiness junior achievement.
And I realized that it is different because their mission
that their life is left brain, left brain, and our
life is right brain, hopefully left brain. Meaning that JAYA

was not created in a crisis. JAA was created in response.
You know, one hundred plus years ago by agrarian farmers
trying and bankers and business people trying to educate their
children on a market economy. So you farmed, you know,
you went to school, but the school wasn't teaching you
how to and in the summers you went to go farms.

Why people have summers off at school. By the way,
we used to farm. Everybody went to the farm. Well,
if you, if your children, if your parents owned the farm,
the business, but school wasn't teaching you how to run
that business.

Speaker 2 (21:00):
There's a disconnect. So junior junior achievement literally.

Speaker 3 (21:05):
Break down these namesment micro Soft right, micro Soft not
macro hard, big computers taking up rooms, rooms and rooms
used to be the way it was in the sixties.
Then here comes Bill Gates with micro Soft right, So
this is the same sitution with junior achievement. They were

trying to create business people at the edge at the
junior level. But it wasn't depression. It wasn't tied to
strive to struggle. It wasn't tied to somebody being you know,
not getting any kind of basic dignity and social justice.
Our situation came out of slavery, came out of repression,
jip crow people trying to the news, you trying to

keep you. You know, the government, actually the government, our
own government was the problem, from Supreme Court decisions to
the whole Homestead Act. I covered this in the book
where I described if you want to want to know
why black people web a net worth is a fraction
of a mainstream counterbarc is not just good decision making
or bad decision making. America took ten percent of all

land in this country in the eighteen hundreds, called the
Homestead Act, and it gave it to people wanting to
go west six hundred acres each plot, give or take.
Ninety nine percent of all those plot allocations went to
white people. Yeah, ninety nine percent. Black people got like

six thousand plot allocations. It was like a fraction of
two hundred and seventy million acres. Well, that's wealth creation
right there. And then you you had people the government
actually put people in place in across the country to
teach the people who got those plots.

Speaker 2 (22:49):
How to become capitalists.

Speaker 3 (22:50):
Once again, that wasn't junior achievement, that was adult achievement, right,
And we got forty acres in a mule. But people
don't know that was only four hundred thousand acres in
North Carolina, South Carolina along the coast beachfront property, which
was horrible for planting seeds. And they reversed the land

grants after a year when Lincoln was assassinated.

Speaker 2 (23:17):
So you have.

Speaker 3 (23:21):
Two hundred and seventy million acres in comparison to four
hundred thousand acres permanent land allocation, which is now one
hundred million Americans day read white are descendants of that
those land allocations, whereas we got a shot at forty
acres each nazea hundred acres for a year or two
and it was reversed. They gave that land back to

those who were plantation owners after Lincoln was assassinated. So
that and you can talk about the FAHA and the
Federal Housing Administration did red lining, was in banks. It
was government who did red lining in the early nineteen
twentieth century. So that's in the book, and that's why
I decided to be Oprah. On money we had, you

had to get our people inspired. You had to meet
us where we are. You had to have some compassion,
you had to have some empathy. You had to get
your spiritual people.

Speaker 2 (24:14):

Speaker 3 (24:14):
We got to feel you you had you had to
get in there and get in our hearts, in our head,
we don't. We believe none of what we hear and
have of what we see. We're not skeptical, right, They're
like like, hey, man, who are you? Come? Come here,
come here, talk to me. So so that's how I
got my financial literacy was a luckily a white man.

My first experience was a white person was a white
teacher who bought with I was selling my mail order
and a white banker came to my class where the
teacher of me financial literacy, and I said, man, what
do you do for a living, and how did you
get rich legally? I was serious, and he said, I'm
a banker and our finance entrepreneurs. I said, I don't
know what an entrepreneur is, but if you're financing it

and it's legal, I'm going to be one that way.
So that that's operation hope really is a modeling of that.
I want to get a bunch of us, a bunch
of folks washing this should become we're financially literate for
business owners who are professionals, who wear a suit or
a dress in a way that people can relate. But
still cool and professional. Come into our schools man road

model success because kids model what they see, right, we
need a role model accountants, lawyers, bankers, investors, producers, directors.
So teach financial literacy. Download my my curriculum from Financial
Literacy for All app I mean Financial Lyency for All
website or Operation Hope. Read the book, use it as

a primary itself. You can read, you can teach from
the book or download the software the Financial Legency Curriculum.
Sign up as a whole core volunteer. Cost you nothing,
Go into it. Make a Hope commitment. I'm going to
go teach financial legacy in my stk or my boys
and Girls club or whatever my church, and go become

the change you want to see in the world. We
need an army of our people saving our people. The
heck with the reparations, the heck with what the government
says they're gonna gonna not gonna do, the heck with
some outside influencer. We need us saving us. And here's
the good news. The book, the book The Tipping Point Mountain.

Gladwell brother by the way from the Caribbean, even though
he looks white. It was Colin Pale's nephew, by the way,
wrote in this best selling book that at five percent
of role models, every community stabilizes. Think about that, not
eighty percent, not fifty, not twenty just five. So we

go in the hood and mass everybody listening to this
podcast goes and signs up. I'm sorry, not everybody. Five
percent sign up. Yeah, change the world our work. So yeah,
no one's ever asked me that question before. You're the first,
but that is literally those are literally my underground plans.

Speaker 1 (27:11):
This concludes Part one of three with John Hope Bryant
discussing his new best selling book, Financial Literacy for All
and easy to read First Step toward a fulfilling financial future.
Check back in with us for part two right here
on the Black Information Network Daily Podcast
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