Before he died, hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle had a dream. He wanted to revive his community. He was shot and killed in 2019 in front of his Los Angeles store but his dream is coming true.
Hussle’s passion for his community has inspired a Buy Back The Block program in Los Angeles.
Danny Carter co-founded Buy Back the Block LA, an organization that gives free education to residents of South Los Angeles on financial literacy and homeownership while also fighting gentrification, ABC News reported.
“The walls are closing in on Black people in Los Angeles from all sides and we’re quietly becoming an endangered species,” said Carter, who was inspired by Hussle’s community involvement.
In fact, the homeownership rate in Los Angeles is one of the lowest in the U.S., with more than 64 percent of households renting, L.A. Curbed reported.
Buy Back The Block L.A. is a monthly meet up to educate South LA residents on how to fight gentrification by buying property in their neighborhoods — and to increase homeownership rates among Black people.
Many Black people have been blocked out due to gentrification. Inglewood home prices increased 63 percent from 2014 to 2018 according to PropertyShark. The median home value in Inglewood is about $606,000 — an 8 percent increase in the past year, according to a Zillow analysis, ABC News reported.
“We’re anti-gentrification, and we’re unapologetic about it,” Carter told L.A. Curbed. “We don’t want to see people who grew up in these neighborhoods get pushed out. This is our neighborhood. This is our culture. These are our streets.”
Nipsey was about ownership Carter told ABC News. “He was about investing in real estate and knowledge. So, let’s take those things that, you know, we can relate to and run with that part of his legacy.”
Hussle’s vision is also being fulfilled by an investment initiative called Our Opportunity and others inspired by his goals.
“Nipsey Hussle manifested leadership by doing, not by saying ‘I believe this’ or ‘you should do this.’ He did it,” said David Gross, Hussle’s longtime business partner.
Hussle long believed in the just-do-it attitude. Back in the day, he sold 1,000 limited edition copies of his Crenshaw mixtape for $100 each. He went on to set up his Marathon Clothing store on the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw in South Central Los Angeles. His entrepreneurial spirit lives on.
Co-founded by Hussle and Gross, Our Opportunity is a grassroots investment initiative that’s described as “a community-aligned organization focused on spreading transformative economic opportunity in low-income neighborhoods throughout the U.S.” It was launched in Hussle’s neighborhood in L.A., but the goal is to branch out to other in inner cities like Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. and to build transformative projects there as well.
Gross launched the #InvestorChallenge in October 2019 to encourage new investors to get active in the Our Opportunity initiative.
The objective is to open 1,000 new accounts, then offer free introductions to investing curriculum. Since December 2019, 450 new investors have opened accounts, Complex reported.
There are two funds — Own Our Own and the Opportunity Fund. Both will focus on real estate investment and development in inner cities.
The Own Our Own fund is targeting a $50 million raise via crowdfunding to allow small investors from each community to participate with minimum investments of $1,000. The Opportunity Fund is targeting a $100 million raise, which will target investors with capital gains who can benefit from the Opportunity Zone legislation, according to Gross.
“Our Opportunity is all about finding very localized, high-touch grassroots ways to make a positive change in every city and then replicating and scaling (the things that worked) to a much larger plateau,” Gross said in a Complex interview.
Opportunity Zones were created in a tax bill that was passed in December 2017. The tax bill has been criticized for resulting in tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations.
“But included in that was something radical that was intended to help positively impact inner cities,” Gross said. “So, it’s tax incentives based off of the investment of capital gains. It wants to get people to make long-term investments in inner cities.”
Written by Ann Brown