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‘Generation One: The Search For Black Wealth’

“We are definitely equipped with the tools and have enough people in this community to help us achieve financial wealth and independence. But it’s going to start with mindset.” – Ronnie Tyler

Ronnie and Lamar Tyler have a strong passion tied to the success of Black unions. So much to the point that the parents of four quit their day jobs to dedicate their lives to “Black & Married With Kids,” the largest independent African American marriage and parenting site on the web.

It’s no secret that financial strains can damage any relationship; that’s why Ronnie and Lamar’s website serves as a major resource for Blacks when it comes to making marriage and family work, in all capacities. In an effort to tackle one of African Americans greatest struggles, to achieve wealth, The Tylers set out to educate the masses with their latest film, “Generation One: The Search for Black Wealth.”

In this JET exclusive, Ronnie and Lamar talk about the importance of establishing wealth within African American communities for generations to come.

JET: When it comes to Black & Married With Kids, successful is an understatement. How does it feel?

Lamar Tyler: You know it feels amazing, encouraging and I think we feel the support from the community. We get a lot of couples that come to us and say, “Finally something that represents us. Because when we turn on the television, open up the newspapers, watch movies we don’t see Black married couples reflected in that conversation.” We get a lot of singles as well who say, “My friends have been married for 40 years so I know this exist,” or “I’m single and I want to have that one day.” We definitely feel the appreciation from the community.

JET: Did you ever anticipate being so well-known? How did Black & Married With Kids come to exist?

Ronnie Tyler: No. I don’t think that our growth was actually anticipated. The site was just out of our desire to start a blog together and marriage was a topic we were both passionate about. We both had a desire to promote those positive images and that’s how Black & Married With Kids came about. Did we ever anticipate that we would both leave our corporate jobs (laughs) and have people work with us? No, we never envisioned that. So it has definitely been a great ride and something that we are proud of.

JET: You’ve accomplished a lot through your website, but now you’ve released your film, Generation One: The Search For Black Wealth, which tackles a topic that is critical to Black families. Tell us about the film.

Lamar Tyler: Well with Generation One, we sit down with six different experts and we talk about the lack of wealth in the African American community and what we can do about it. So there are tips on how you can begin to build generational wealth directly in your family and how we can build generational wealth in the community. But at the same time, we take a look at our history and institutional racism and how in a lot of ways, systems were set up for us not to be able to build wealth. At the same time, those generations before us were able to make it and overcome some of those things. We need to do the same thing, and to make sure that we’re focused on what’s really important and that’s leaving something behind so that once we’re gone, our children and our children’s children will have something to live on and not officially start from scratch. We’d like this generation to be the last generation that starts from scratch.

JET: Yeah and I think it’s a great concept because it does dispel the myth that all African Americans are about spending and not saving. And often society does not look at why Black Americans aren’t as wealthy as their white counterparts.

Lamar Tyler: You’re totally right. The narrative is always, “The wealth isn’t there because you don’t work hard.” But like I said, there’s some systematic reasons. At the same time we need to look and say, “We’re behind the other groups, what can we do to catch up? What can we do to position ourselves so our children and our grandchildren are in a better place than where we are today?” The film is the first step.

JET: Yeah. Education and arming people with the proper knowledge definitely seems like the first step, but I do wonder if you think that African Americans, with the current state of how things are now, will ever be able to “catch up” financially.

Ronnie Tyler: You know I definitely think that it’s a possibility. We definitely are equipped with the tools and have enough people in this community to help us achieve financial wealth and independence. But it’s going to start with mindset. We’re going to have to start with projects like our movie and with more and more people focusing on finance and having those conversations with their children and at church. It just needs to happen throughout the community.

Lamar Tyler: I think a large part of it is supporting Black businesses. Beginning with recycling the Black dollar within our community. Making sure we don’t spend it all outside of our community and then wonder how come we don’t have resources to invest in other businesses. We’re pushing all of our money outside of our community and [into the pockets] of people who don’t have a vested interest in our lifestyle.

JET: You know what I come across often? Individuals in the African American community who say they, “just want to be rich.” What seems to be missing in a lot of cases is a true understanding of what wealth is. Can you explain the difference between being rich and being wealthy?

Lamar: In the film, Deborah Owens, one of our experts, talks about the different mindsets of people. She spans from how poor people think to how the middle class thinks to how rich people think to how the wealthy think. And it’s all about the mindset and the longevity they think with. People who don’t have as much money think just day-to-day or week-to-week. Middle class people are thinking sometimes paycheck to paycheck or maybe month-to-month. And rich people, they think year-to-year. But the difference is that when you become wealthy and with a wealthy mindset, you think generation to generation. And I think that’s tough for a lot of people because everything that we hear is pushed on us through mainstream media and it’s telling us that everything you do is about you and for you. Everything that we hear is focused on a level of selfishness. To be wealthy, and to talk about generational wealth, that involves you being selfless. You’re going to have to make sacrifices now that will pay off for people that you really haven’t even met yet because they haven’t been born.

JET: That makes perfect sense. Anything else that you’d like our readers to know about the film?

Ronnie: Our hope is that this film moves, inspires and encourages people to take action. Anyone featured in the movie, you can go to their website and reach out to them directly because their life’s work is centered around building wealth for Black families.

Lamar: The individuals who really need to see this film won’t come to the screenings. So host your own in-house community screening. Get them to see the film.

“Generation One: The Search for Black Wealth” is available now on DVD. For more information, visit www.generationonemovie.com.