Follow the Drinking Gourd- 10 Songs Toward Financial Freedom

Inspired by recent conversations with friends and reading comments about the new   JAY- Z album 4:44, I decided to write a post about 10 songs that I believe are sharing messages about financial freedom to the Black community. Now, these are not all the songs that provide nuggets of wisdom and people may not agree with my choices , but this is my blog and this has been my Tidal playlist titled “When I get to financial freedom.”

Before I get into the songs, I would like to share that I was introduced or at least made aware of what “passive income” was in 2005 while on winter break from my MBA program.  My cousin invited me to this prepaid legal meeting (you know, networking marketing) and in that meeting a man asked people in the audience to raise their hand if they had an MBA. I proudly rose my hand and the speaker proceeded to read a passage from Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki which pretty much said those who have an MBA or are highly accomplished in school essentially become controlled bean counters and employees of C averages students. The passage went on to talk about the lack of financial education in schools. I was furious when I heard this, “I was like who is this Robert Kiyosaki person and what is this passive income term…..and how is it after 17 years of school, I ain’t never heard of this”.

I really took offense to not learning the term passive income or the concept financial freedom, at all, in my educational years. I felt like all I have been doing is going through a system that was teaching me how to become an employee. What I had to come to understand is that financial education is taught in the home… and it’s not how to write a check or how to avoid all things debt, but about creating passive income through paper assets, rental income, and business income; so that your passive income exceeds your total expenses and you do not have to work if you choose not to.  After this moment, my mentality switched and for the past 12 years I have been on a journey to self-educate and advocate for others to learn about financial freedom. I truly believe that if the Black community is going to change and end all our gaps…wealth, health…education…. it’s going to be from our understanding and practice of gaining financial freedom through building passive income.  Maybe in another blog I will go into detail about my thoughts, but for this one here are some songs that speak to me!

Oh…one last thing… did you know that songs have always served as a communicating tool in the Black community.  Slave songs have served as the vehicle to communicate when we were forcibly separated.  The song Follow the Drinking Gourd was a slave song about the Big Dipper and communicating to slave, who were escaping, to follow the North star for freedom.  I believe the songs that are being produced in this era, that talk about financial freedom, are our modern day Follow the Drinking Gourd song. Musical artists are communicating to us how to escape the rat race and get to our own financial freedom.

  1. Forbidden Knowledge by Raury, Big K. R. I. T – this song speaks about the power of knowledge and lack thereof. There is so much information about financial education and how to build passive income, but if you do not even know these terms even exist, it is essentially invisible to a people. This information does not even matter in the age of Google if as a people we are only socialized to be consumers or oppressed by inequitable systems that have removed the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

  1. Haunted by Beyoncé– first I am a beehiver and LOVE me some Bey, but what I love so much is the work ethic and risk to create her own system. With that there is a part in Haunted where she says, “All these people on the planet, working 9 to 5, just to stay alive, the 9 to 5, just to stay alive, how come?” These lyrics speak to the rat race that we are in and really that the rat race is not limited to a particular race, ethnicity or part of the world.  What this song addresses for me is that we as a people need to build passive income and not earned income. Also that passive income is not for just smart people, or people who have money, or who are famous.  As a people we need to understand that having a 9 to 5 should not be an end goal.  I recommend learning about cash flow and if you can get your hands on the game Cashflow 101….not monopoly, its not the same, you can learn a lot about passive income and financial freedom.


  1. Untitled 03 by Kendrick Lamar– Love this song and I have to give some West Coast love. This song is about advice, remember financial freedom is not being taught in our school systems, so it has to comes from our families and communities. If we don’t have a family or community that has experience in financial freedom, you can grow up not knowing this exist. At this point in the game we have to rely on luck that we will get connected to someone or something that introduces us to this way of life and guide us through. This inequity is where I see one of the biggest injustices. When we factor in compound interest and the importance of the velocity of money, our young people will never get ahead if this inequitable system is not addressed.

  1. My Uzi by David Banner, Big K.R.I.T– when going for financial freedom there are lot of uncertainties and risks that you take that may result in failure, and cause fear. But fear is not of God. In this song David says, “ ain’t got no body guard… I just need mighty God”. This song speaks so much truth. The environment we are living and functioning in has truly caused challenges in our advancement.  In the song David also addresses attacks on Black commerce, “Black commerce they chewed it up, chewed it up, spit it out;” he addresses government treatment of poor people, “trying to make a move because the government don’t give a f#$% about poor folk”. When listening to this song I think about the true change that we can make when you are financially free. I think about the communities and HBCUs who would be able to thrive because they have created their own passive income and are not dependent on the government for money. This song provides advice about taking responsibility and the power to make a difference.

  1. Buy Back the Block by Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane– The buy back the block movement just makes me smile. This song is all about “property, property, property, property” and businesses. I would label this an action song.  Here you have artists communicating what actions need to be taken to move toward financial freedom and making a difference. “ Start with a duplex, work up to a Hyatt’s, maybe a small plaza, I’m looking for a mall.” You have to start small and build your way up…… But like JAY-Z said “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit!

  1. The Story of O.J by JAY-Z– The newest addition to my Tidal playlist. I love this song for many reasons and the video that goes with it is awesome. Through this song JAY-Z talks about how he had an opportunity to purchase a property when it was cheap ($2 million is cheap depending who you are!) and now it is worth $25 million. I ask you, what properties are in your surrounding area that you can capitalize on, is it a foreclosure; is it a rental property that can provide you with a positive cashflow through rental income?  The various investments that JAY-Z is talking about in this song are capital gains income, which is different than passive income, but still he is addressing the fact that “Financial freedom my only hope”! This song is also a take action song, as he is encouraging people that want to rid communities of poverty and crime to purchase property and “rinse it” (rent it) and be the owners, instead of “‘please don’t die over the neighborhood, that your mama rentin’.” So much knowledge is packed into this song and I truly appreciate the conversation this song has provided.

  1. Formation by Beyoncé– Because I’m a Bey fan, she has two spots on my playlist. As an advocate for people to financially educate themselves, I have emphasized this sentiment to women even more. Women I come across count themselves out because they don’t believe they are good at math or they give the excuse that they will leave it up to their husbands to figure out the finances because it’s just too hard. This is ludacris, one financially educating yourself is not hard to learn and two our lives, as women, depend on us having financial knowledge.  Women live longer than men and women stand to inherit at least two times in their lifetime (parents and husband).  Now, of course I have to ask the question what type of woman is that statistic based off; are we talking about… White women, Black women, Asian women? Either way it is imperative for all of us to understand financial freedom and how to build and sustain passive income.  In Beyonce’s song she says “I dream it, I work hard, I grind ‘til I own it,” that too should be what we as women do when it comes to our knowledge of financial freedom and passive income.  No need to twerk to a song that you can’t truly benefit from.
  2. About the Money by T.I. and Young Thug– the hook of this song says it all “If it ain’t about the money, don’t be blowin’ me up, n^&*@, I ain’t gettin’ up, if it about the money, ain’t no use in you ringin’ my line, stop wastin’ my time”. TIME is the only thing that is equitable, no one can get more of it, but we must be wise about how we choose to use our own time. In order to accomplish financial freedom and passive income we have to be serious about the time we give to things that don’t contribute to our goals of freedom.  I understand that money does not make people happy and that we should not make money an idle. Understanding that, what I get from this song is motivation to stay focused especially when other people are trying to control your time. There are so many distractions that society wants us to fall for: be a consumer, climb whatever corporate/nonprofit ladder, participate in instant gratification, or complain about what others have. This hook says it all, “if it ain’t about the money…stop wastin’ my time”.
  3. B#$%* Better Have My Money by Rihanna­– As we journey on our path toward financial freedom there will be people who will not pay you and those who will have their hands out. Understanding your value (businesses, patents, property, ideas) and having boundaries will be key in moving forward toward financial freedom.  This song makes me think about business plans, contract agreements, life insurance, lawyers, business structures (LLC, C corporations), doing business with family and friends, and helping out family and friends. “B#$%* better have my money, Ya’ll should know me well enough, B#$%* better have my money, Please don’t call me on my bluff, Pay me what you owe me”. Through this process money can ruin relationships and businesses if not properly protected.  Rihanna’s attitude and strong words are exactly how I would feel if I felt like I was getting taken advantage of. It’s important to know that dealing with money is emotional and when on this journey you have to learn how to be emotionless.  Markets will go up and down, tenants will damage your property, skip out and not pay rent, business partners will die, and their will always be someone in your personal circle who will have a financial need and not pay you back.  This song represents being prepared and reminding us to not skip out on important things like contracts and insurance.

  1. F*&# Up Some Commas by Future– So this song doesn’t REALLY address financial freedom, but when you do get to financial freedom I do believe in celebrating the victories. I will say that this song is on my playlist because I look forward to the day my passive income and the financial freedom that I acquire produces generational wealth and permeates the Black community. I look forward to the day when financial freedom is at a critical mass that changes our community. We can truly “give no F*&#@”, and have the capacity to close the gaps that stifle our communities.

Until next time…

The journey back to the United States….Thursday two times 

Today was our final day in South Korea, it has truly been a blast and the alumni and faculty I had a chance to interact with were fantastic. I have learned so much about the culture and have gained a better perspective about how to engage our future and current alumni who are from South Korea. 

Before our flight we had one more meeting with a retired faculty member from Yongei University, who Carol and Junehee knew. It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about her career and what she is doing in retirement.

* South Korean fact

When a person turns 65 years old they must retire. Also in Korea you turn a year older on the first day of the new year, not the day your were born.

We dined at a Chinese restaurant that was in the Seoul train station. I have never been to a train station that had multiple restaurants, coffee shops and a mall. The food was once again delicious 

Green tea

This chicken was so on point…..

But watch out for these peppers…Ked and I both accidentally ate these and boy were we on fire. Never again!

Crab hot and sour soup

Beef and vegetables….more vegetables than beef

Sweet and sour prawns! Oh so good

Chinese Bun

Juicy Lychee for dessert

The time has come to head back to the United States. We had a blast but we are ready to get back home. We look forward to coming back to South Korea.

So our flight from Seoul was Thursday, June 22nd at 5:30pm and we arrived in Dallas on Thursday, June 22nd at 4:30pm. We had a 4 hour layover and it was not bad, because we could chill in the Admiral lounge, which is a whole new level for waiting for your flight.

We also had the chance to meet up with one of Kedric’s high school friends who lives in Dallas.

We finally made it back to Manhattan safely. I have swollen feet and a slight back ache, but we are blessed to be at home and in our own bed. What an experience we had.

I hope you enjoyed this blog series about my first trip to South Korea.

Until next time

Farewell Busan

Today was our final day in Busan and it was filled with more sightseeing, catching up with alumni, cultural history and of course food.

This tour focused on the west side of Busan which was where the local folk lived. As I traveled through Busan I was wondering where the everyday people lived and worked. The hotel we stayed at was more of a touristy area .

What I observed on this tour was the hills…..San Francisco ain’t got nothing on these hills.

Also no space is wasted, every nook, cranny, and alley is filled with a home, restaurant, mom and pop store, coffee shop or fruit stand. Being from the United States I can see why people see it as a place with a lot of open space. What a luxury.

While on the tour we experienced more beautiful views.

After the tour we ventured off on our own!

We ended up back at the mall and we saw kimchee refrigerators (I want one)

We were told that just about every household has  a kimchee refrigerator. Families will get together before the winter and make kimchee that can last them all winter.

I didn’t talk much about the driving here, but it is crazy….not as bad as Costa Rica. Here this taxi stops in the middle of traffic to pick this woman up. She had luggage to put in the trunk….smh

Ked and I learned that sidewalks are not ment just for pedestrians walking….its for driving and parking as well.

We took the city bus…..traffic was crazy

Here’s what a school bus looks like

We had a chance to experience the  world famous chagalchi fish market.

I felt like we were on the Travel Channel as we walked down the various alleys looking at the fresh seafood. 

We stopped in a small restaurant along the way and had some fried fish.

After we experienced the fish market, the night market was happening so we walked around and soaked in our last night in Busan.

Another observation Ked and I made was the love for miniature dogs that people in Busan had. We never saw a big dog….like never!

Now back to the hotel to pack and get ready for our train ride back to Seoul. Busan it has been a blast.

Until next time

Moving octopus and the best cheese tart ever

As many may know I can be an adventurous eater! I give thanks to my mother who started my siblings and I on diverse foods at a very early age. Instead of just lunchables, cookies and chips she had us also trying dried shrimp, toasted seaweed, raw sushi and so much more. That early exposure has created a palate that allows me to travel the world and have an open mind to try cultural foods. 

I truly believe that being open to cultural styles of food are an important piece to building relationships. I hear many business people talk about closing deals over dinner. I have even participated in those career development sessions on how to have dinner with your boss. Yet, I have never seen how to eat cultural foods you’re not use to foods events. As an individual you are on your lonesome to experience your relationship with cultural foods.

Living in Manhattan, Kansas I don’t have many opportunities to explore so I make sure to sharpen my skills when I travel.

Here are some of the foods we at today:

We stopped by  A local market and picked up a ginseng drink.

We ventured to Gwangalli Beach to go to Millak-dong Hoe street which is where approximately 300 restaurants serve hoe (raw fish).

We selected some fresh seafood and took it up stairs to one of the restaurants to prep it. What a sea to table experience.

Trying to sit in the traditional dining setting, Ked and I had a food adventure.

But first shoes 😂😂😂

Ked in these too small shoes

We tried the famous Korean San-nakji,  a hoe dish (raw fish dish) of octopus that still is moving after it is cut up.

Ked trying San-nakji

It was very chewy… really really chewy and it didn’t taste like anything but the sauce you put it in.

We had some other fish that I don’t know what to call them but here is what we bought and here is what it looked like after it was prepared.

Our next food adventure were these freakin delicious cheese tarts that are all the rage. I heard on the weekend the line is wrapped around the corner  and people can only get one box per person at a time. All I can say is, YES,  it’s the best cheese tart ever! It’s like a mini cheesecake with a cookie like crust. Dangerous for the wasteline…..but who cares…2 boxes please!

Tonight we tried Soju, a South Korean liquor made from rice…….stroooooonggggg and will put you straight on your bum.

We capped off our foodie tour with another trip to Sulbing and tried another one of their desserts. This was not as good as the first but still yummy.

Tomorrow is our last full day and evening before we head back to the states.  We will go on a tour of Busan and experience more of the culture.

Until next time

A Day in a Hijab

A few weeks ago I found out that the Muslim Student Association on my campus was going to host a “Wear a Hijab” event. I immediately said “yes I will do it”, and I am glad I did. After saying yes, I looked at my calendar and realized one of my most important multicultural leadership awards events was occurring and I was traveling to Atlanta on that day.

When I realized I was traveling that day I thought for a hot second…..”Girl are you about to get on a plane with all this foolishness going on in the United States with a hijab on?” My response was, “Yes, yes you are. Just like you can’t take your Black skin off….these women can’t take their hijab’s off in public”. I did not want to pick and choose when it was comfortable for my situation. It would defeat the purpose.

First let me say my overall experience was good. I was not ridiculed or harassed or treated badly, but I cannot lie and say that I did not get prayed up and get into a mindset to help me deal with whatever would come my way. During this experience I was stretched and learned some lessons. Take the journey with me:

Lesson 1: Race/ethnic culture participation is easy for me but religious cultural participation is new and a stretch experience. I know very little about the Muslim faith, so I did not have any insight on how to handle the intangible standoffness that individuals who wear a hijab may experience. I did not know how to not be offended by black individuals not looking me in my eyes at all, when typically I engage in non communicative conversation with black people as I move through different spaces.  “It’s usually a glance in the eyes that speaks “hi, if no one sees you I see you. Keep doing you,” I missed that today when I traveled.

Lesson 2: It’s not a big deal……I’m not going to lie I thought I was going to experience something negative and I found myself saying….”Girl these people are not stuntin you, how you choose to express yourself is your business” Now, I know that my Muslim friends do experience ignorance and hatred, but I should not be on the ready at all times. What I learned through this experience is about peace, and being comfortable with my choices. Things will happen and no one wants to be caught off guard but a peaceful person cannot live in that space.

Lesson 3: Wearing a hijab also is fashion

 Preparing for this event my husband and I watched You Tube videos to learn how wear it and I found all these cute and chic ways women were wearing a hijab. As I look at women in hijabs I have another level of appreciation for the art of wearing a hijab.

Lesson 4: It is a struggle to shop in Manhattan, KS for cute, suitable clothing. Participating in this event I also had to have my arms and legs covered. I stressed about this for a couple of weeks because I had an event this day and all I have are either cap shoulder or no sleeve dresses, or dresses that stop at my knee. I would be traveling a few hours after my event, so I wanted to be comfortable, and today Manhattan decided it wanted to be 83 degrees. Now, the scarf was not hot at all, but I had nothing to wear that was weather, job and event appropriate. I thought I would go to Dillards and find a cute long sleeve black shirt and wear some black bottom and allow the tan scarf to pop. Well that plan DID NOT work. The shirts that were long sleeve were either winter,  or women’s world fashion….not my idea of chic, cute. I was discouraged but it made me think about all of the women who dress like this everyday and cannot just run to the store and find something cute. We have a lot of fashionistas in hijab on campus and they either shop online or go on a shopping spree when they go home. Once again much admiration.

Lesson 5: My final lesson I will share is, the airport people don’t always know the rules. So I have pre-check status and as I was going through security and the TSA person  asked their colleague “so I just let her go???” the other TSA said “yea…..that’s what it says so I guess you have to let her go?” the TSA guy says “Oooookay???”

Pre-check means I did the work to get advance security screening, so I can participate in the expedited security check. So I found it odd that there was still question about me being checked.

Today was a good day, my event was fabulous, the Muslim Student Association had a wonderful event, I was stretched by this activity and I arrived in Atlanta safely.

Until we chat again

My Hike on Mt. Cook

First let me start off by saying I did not hike Mt. Cook. I did however go on the Hooker Valley trail that took a total of 4 hours. During my journey I was able to reflect and let God share with me the thoughts He had for me. I would like to share 10 of them with you and maybe they will speak to you. This will be a long blog, but I promise to share lots and lots of magnificient photos.  So here we go!

1. Prep for the various elements and it’s okay if you don’t have all of the equipment or clothing….you can still succeed

Before I went on the trail my tour director shared that before I go to make sure to layer up, take water and some chocolate for energy (I like that chocolate for energy) He said just because it looks really nice and sunny where we are, it can be very different on your walk.

This advice stood out to me because it speaks to life preparation. There are various elements that are to come and you don’t know what they maybe but you should do some preparation, but it is okay that I did not have everything because I still succeeded and this speaks to my life. I do not have to have everything accomplished and have  all the knowledge in order to be successful. By the way I experienced, rain, snow, really cold weather, really warm weather, very windy aspects and places where is was so calm and still.

2. Each step counts and even the little bridges have meaning

As I was on my hike I took about 26,000 steps to get to my destination. I would not have made the journey if I did not take the first step and keep taking them along the way. Some of my steps were short and choppy, some were long strides. All my steps were not perfect, but that didn’t matter. All that really matters is that each step counts.

3.Stop, look up and even behind you

During the journey the views were breathtaking but I found my self looking at the ground and trying to just get to my location. When I caught myself I would say “Stop and look up” Look at what God has done, don’t miss this, take it in. I realized this is how I can be in my daily life. Keep my eyes down and grind it out cause I am trying to get to my goal. I never felt I could really stop and look up because I was so focused on the end, but what this is showing me is that I do need to stop and just look up. There are some really wonderful views to take in that are just as important to the destination.

4.When you trip along the way it is a reminder to pick your feet up. 

On my way back to the hotel I tripped a few times because I was tired and not picking up my feet.  Those little trips served as a reminder to pick my feet up or I would fall. There are various trips that occur in my life and they too serve as a reminder to pick whatever I am slacking on up.

5.It takes time

I really disliked when people would tell me it takes time, but on this trip I was able to witness what taking your time looks like. The mountains in New Zealand were formed by the clashing of tectonic plates, the etching of glaciers and the consistent chiseling of the water. Millions and millions of years of taking it’s time has resulted in a beauty like no other. I must keep in mind that God has created everything to form in its own timing and I am no different.

6. Waiting to bloom

During the trail I was able to see some native New Zealand daisies. Each daisy I saw there were other buds that had not opened yet. This delicate flower showed me that all flowers don’t bloom at the same time and it is okay for the one flower to shine and be seen, because those unopened buds will soon have it’s turn. So just wait your turn if you are a bud waiting to bloom.

7.Carved out for the overflow

Throughout the trail there were what looked like ditches and I found out they were places where streams occur when there are heavy rains and the lakes are full. This was one of my favorite symbolisms because it spoke to waiting for the overflow. Don’t wait until you need to find a place to put your overflow build it now with the expectation of overflow.

8.The diversity creates the beauty

At Mt. Cook there were so many different textures, vegetation, places that looked very lush and places that looked really dry. There were spaces where it was light and dark in the same place. The contrasting elements were wonderful and when you saw it all together it was absolutely stunning. Nature’s diversity revealed to me that the rock did not have to conform into the water because they were in the same space or that snow on the mountains had to melt away because the sun was shining brillantly over the lakes. These elements were able to exist in there natural state and they all had a purpose. That is how humanity should be seen. People of different races and backgrounds do not have to conform in order to fit into a space. No one has to lose themselves for our communities to work. Respect all the elements and understand that we all have a purpose and that is what will make this world beautiful.

9. Rocks while still flowing

There were a lot of spaces that had water running and there were a lot of rocks in the streams and gourges. What I saw was the water being flexible and not letting the rocks keep it from getting to the lake. For my life there are going to be rocks that present itself as I move toward my goals and it is important for me to be flexible and not let it stop my progress.

10.Anchored by something stronger than yourself

On the trail in order to see the glaciers you had to cross over three suspended bridges. I was very nervous on the first bridge but it got easier along the way. When I crossed my second bridge I noticed the bridge was anchored in the rocks. I thought how fitting for me to see this. The bridge that provides a path for people to cross is anchored in something that is much deeper and stonger than the bridge.

 The anchor can withstand the weight and it is unwavering. All I can say is that God has and continues to serve as the anchor in my life and He has ben unwavering.

I truly enjoyed the journey and reflection of my hike on Mt. Cook. I look forward to continuing to reflect on this ENTIRE trip.

I know I am a couple of blog posts behind, I still have to share with you about my day trip to the spectular Milford Sound and what I did on my free day. I promise to catch up and provide some stunning photos. Tomorrow we will leave the south island and fly to the north island. Gotta get some sleep. Stay tuned.

My First Alumni Trip To Australia

Today, I am headed to Australia with 17 alumni travelers for 23 days. I have been preparing for this trip for months now and it is finally here! To kick off this adventure, I am going to blog about my experiences and hopefully you will enjoy. Please pray for safe travels for me and my group.

20161014_230843Ready to Go