America’s Black upper class – Rich, successful and empowered | DW Documentary

in the united states there are more and more african-american millionaires their number has doubled over the past 25 years today one in 50 black families are millionaires part of a new black upper class in the country five thousand dollars i mean we built the company to be a multi-million dollar business today black people make up the second largest group of millionaires in the u.s behind white americans but the country carries a long history of slavery segregation and discrimination for the general public the most well-known wealthy african americans are athletes politicians and entertainers uh african-american queens that's a fact but far away from los angeles and its hollywood stars there's a different black elite and it's on the rise an upper class that makes up three percent of the african-american population this may not seem like much but it's nearly one and a half million people city brings black excellence period so how is this new black bourgeoisie faring what's the secret to their success some entrepreneurs are establishing businesses to support black communities to turn the table and say no longer will we buy white but it's time for us to buy black others make a conscious effort to stay within the black community in all areas of life i prefer her to date a black person i want her to date a black person black excellence isn't limited to athletics and popular music it's also at home in the world of business and the professional elite don peebles is a black entrepreneur who made his way to the top as i just finished with irving um but he has assured me that he'll have it finished this weekend peebles is a property developer and one of the richest african americans in the united states [Music] his estimated net worth is 700 million dollars he's a staunch believer in capitalism as the path to success i see capitalism first i see the you know the massive amount of development and the massive amount of people working and doing business it reminds you of you know how america was built based upon capitalism and then i see great opportunity originally from washington dc and the son of a civil servant and a real estate broker he became a real estate agent at 22.

[Music] he bought his first building soon after and was a millionaire by the time he turned 30. i grew up during a time of transition in america during the civil rights movement in the united states and so i got a very good sense that anything was possible what i've accomplished in terms of business has been far greater than what my expectations were okay all right talk to you later peebles has constructed buildings and even entire neighborhoods all over the country he's been nicknamed the black donald trump he's part of the elite his own apartment is a testament to his wealth at more than 600 square meters it's decorated with numerous works of art it also features three bedrooms a huge dressing room for his wife and a 360 degree view of manhattan the apartment itself is valued at an estimated 35 million dollars don peebles has joined the ranks of america's most powerful entrepreneurs how are you but he keeps his priorities in check no matter how busy his schedule he still makes time for his weekly lunch date with his wife okay so we're going to 138 lafayette they met when he was 27 years old not long after he'd made his first million dollars i was driving in washington um through an area and saw her jaywalking the street and so i introduced myself and the next day we i invited her to new york and uh she came with me and then the rest is history did you ever feel any scrutiny to marry a white woman no i mean i married who i loved i mean again i'm multicultural and multiracial so i think people should you know date and marry who they love regardless of race gender et cetera a new york fairy tale and a relationship that's lasted three decades today they've chosen to meet in an upscale french restaurant katrina is a former model from america's white upper class though she's a businesswoman she's completely devoted to her husband and their two children 30 years ago i met my husband and i explained his character and his demeanor to my mother she said if you marry a fisherman don't be surprised if he goes fishing and i've kept that with me all my life because he is a consummate business person who's an entrepreneur so there's no on and off button an understanding wife perfectly suited to the real estate magnet it's a nice way to break the afternoon up and as i kind of gear into the weekend plus she's also active in our business and so we've got a couple of business things to work on that gives us a chance to catch up personally a little bit but also business-wise as well business always yes don peebles works almost every day of the year that's the price he pays for being one of the wealthiest men in the country but peebles and his wife also know how to relax they're on their way to the hamptons a beach resort popular with new york city's elite traveling in style in their maserati the couple arrives at their 12 million dollar mansion [Music] let's go get something to eat you ready for lunch grab bye wherever they go the couple has a full-time staff to assist them what's going to happen but despite his financial successes don peebles has always been aware of his race um americans don't associate um african americans with wealth because they want a very simplistic answer so if they see an athlete or someone who's an entertainer they're comfortable with them being wealthy i think it's more unusual to see wealth in the business world be diverse nothing about me fits the stereotype of what an average american expects but they're lazy and so it would be better to say oh well she's the blonde barbie doll let's put her in this box you know he's uh he's an african-american entertainer we understand that there have been others so we'll put them him in that box i don't live like the typical entertainer i'm not i don't live like a rapper i don't live like a athlete oh you're very good in some sports but but i think i live in a more elegant more established way and it just doesn't fit don peebles is part of america's top one percent though he tries not to flaunt his wealth he does have one guilty pleasure cars [Music] i didn't get a ferrari until i was you know in my 30s because i felt that the car portrayed an image of a less serious person and uh and unfortunately so being young and of course being a minority in addition to that made me much more conscious about how people would judge me got to a certain point i really wanted comfort so i started buying aston martin's i was always kind of like uncomfortable say was getting a rolls-royce which was always the most comfortable of all the cars so i met the president of rolls-royce at a dinner he let me borrow a phantom ultimately i bought a phantom convertible so it's meant to be to get in kind of gracefully and especially if someone's wearing a gown or something like that and then you're in and then you just push a button here and i can lower the spirit of ecstasy and then i can raise it this is my kind of my little guilty pleasure if you will it's an expensive hobby together the price of these cars totals almost 1 million dollars the sum is inconsequential for don peebles whose fortune continues to grow behind closed doors [Music] over the past 25 years the number of black millionaires like don peeples has doubled among them some have achieved an even more impressive feat they've amassed their fortunes in conservative states like texas [Music] psyche terry is the founder of a cosmetics brand she's currently worth 10 million dollars good morning good morning everyone hey good morning a millionaire herself she's become a symbol of the new black american dream just got a brand new catalog oh my god they're so pretty like seriously this is my new logo though her brand is primarily geared towards black women psychiatry's staff includes a diverse group of employees we employ white people black people latina people asian people we'll take anyone that has a heart that beats at the same drum as our heart more than a decade ago with just 40 dollars in her pocket terry decided to establish herself in the world of cosmetics an industry that generates over a billion dollars each year in the united states i couldn't find natural healthy products on the market so being a black woman with with black skin my skin is dry my hair is dry i come out dry i wake up dry i go to bed dry so i have to always put things on me just it's like going out in the rain you need a raincoat it's just the fact of being a black woman in my skin so i decided to use things that were in my my own kitchen her idea took off her products are now sold nationwide her husband von tober a former financial professional also helped her company get on its feet this morning the couple is meeting with their investors former professional baseball player tori hunter and his wife katrina have invested 250 000 in the terry's business it's a profitable investment the african-american community spends nearly nine times more on hair and beauty products than any other group that profit is up as well so this is going to be the most profitable month of this year and once we're done probably the most profitable one in the time oh no yeah a good month you're doing good our products are selling and our goal is to be the number one natural care for dry skin and dry hair and we are getting up there on the charts you're trying to create a trend to dominate this market and that's what all of us are trying to do so what you're doing you're on the right track it's not um the the product that i invested in i actually have invested in the people it's a great investment you know what's tripped out is that i've learned a lot about skin care now i take care of my body you know uh i think i'm metro sexy now you know so yeah i'm metro sexy you know not long ago the brand landed on the highly coveted list of america's 5 000 fastest growing companies only 100 black owned businesses made the cut [Applause] [Music] i think it's two percent of women-owned businesses actually reach a million dollars a year in revenue so for us to first off be a dallas company be a frisco company be a woman-owned company be a minority-owned company we've got so many different things that could tell us no you're just so proud of and of course having that opportunity to kind of beat those odds by their late 30s the couple had achieved a level of success that exceeded their dreams they also demand excellence at home they live in a quiet wealthy residential area the couple and their three children have come up with their own anthem a kind of christian battle cry are you ready yes let's do it i am a child of god i am a child i am a warrior i am a warrior i am a terry i like kids i never give up i never give up [Music] faith that hard work will always lead to success to motivate their children to do their chores psyche terry and her husband hold an awards ceremony who's going to get it this award is going to someone who may have a smaller appetite yeah they will eat as much as they possibly can this award is going to go to none other than faithy terry yay good job everybody working hard and earning is a is the behavior that we like to show in the house because we know in a in the world in america that when you work hard usually you get a payoff for it so we would like to instill here at home that working hard equals winning something the couple started from nothing without a penny to their name today they're a symbol of the american dream something that they hope to pass on to their children do you recognize yourself in the title black accidents yes yes um yes i think black excellence is the behavior of embodying what our ancestors our black african ancestors hoped for because black people in the united states were limited and held down for almost 400 years that's why black excellence is so significant and i'm glad and we want them to know that it's a competitive world out there there's already somebody else who wants to have the job they want or start the business they want and trump them to compete and compete well so they can give back and take care of their families like we've taken care of them as millionaires psyche terry and her husband are regularly invited to vip events tonight in stiletto heels a sequin dress and diamond earrings and a three-piece suit for him they trade their family life for a glamorous evening i love it thank you the successful couple has even been welcomed into dallas's white high society tonight they've been invited to one of the city's most elegant hotels for a charity event just 50 years ago during the era of jim crow segregation they wouldn't have even been allowed to set foot in the building times have changed psyche and von tober terry are greeted like royalty and seem to have mastered the art of schmoozing on the red carpet this is dallas finest lawyers socialites doctors royal tycoons and the terry [Music] but the crowd is still disproportionately white where are the very successful african-americans well they're not here there's some here and we've been intentional to speak to the ones that are here we are one percent we are we're in the one percent of the one percent yes we recognize that we know it psyche terry has managed to make her way into the black upper class she's proud of having achieved this privileged status [Music] i would have never imagined in a million years that every weekend i'm at a gala every weekend i'm on a red carpet or that i'm connecting with other people that i once looked up to or that now people are looking up to me or everywhere i look people call me beautiful i've i've worked darn hard for this and i love my new reality psyche terry and her husband expect to double their turnover within the next five years while black americans like the terry's attempt to establish themselves in industries where they're still the minority others are speaking with their wallets [Music] recently a new phenomenon has emerged that's shaking up the american economy more and more black americans believe the country needs to undergo radical economic change that includes a form of communitarianism making sure their dollars and purchasing power stay in their own community also known as the by black movement it's been gaining momentum ever since the election of donald trump we head to the midwest to visit chicago where this kind of black capitalism is very popular chicago is where kanye west grew up and barack obama came of age the city has one of the largest black populations in the us this is where maggie anderson lives a prominent advocate of the by black movement accompanied by her two teenage daughters she's visiting a spa around 30 miles away from her home she goes there not because it's the fanciest or most beautiful but because it's owned by a black american family oh everything looks great as always black women get their nails done and 90 of them i'm sure at least go to um mostly asian american owned spots and i promise you that that 90 percent would prefer to go to a black-owned nail salon but they just don't have the choice maggie anderson is very committed to the cause and talks about it candidly in a way that some might find surprising so this is what you have to work with oh if you know if jasmine were to nick me right now i'd say jasmine come on girl watch it i just feel that connection with her and and i can't say it's anyone's fault but i don't feel that connection when i go to an asian american owned salon so there there have been problems in terms of the comfort level the service and the quality so it's wonderful to be able to go to a place where you feel like you're cared about we definitely care about you [Laughter] in the room next door her daughters cara and corey are eager to take up their mother's cause i think it's important to support black owned businesses because there's not many out there that are so that are as you know successful and known as a lot of other businesses i think it's really cool we try to like spread it a lot and tell our friends and stuff together maggie anderson and her husband earn over three hundred thousand dollars a year they live in oak park a suburb on the western outskirts of the city it's a place that prides itself on its diversity and it's about 20 black while we do want a high quality of life that's important we want to find a place where there are a decent amount of black people it's very important you also want to not be the only black person in the restaurant or in the store you basically have one choice and that's oak park maggie anderson has made the by black movement her life's mission 55 percent of the family's income is injected directly into the black economy and it starts at home in her kitchen i usually don't do pastry i usually do this is a black owned company i love they make champagne jam and it doesn't stop at jam there are spices honey and even canned vegetables if i had my way everything here would be filled with black owned products they may be america's second largest racial demographic but only seven percent of u.s businesses are black owned that's why anderson is doing all she can she buys alcohol beauty products and clothes from black owned businesses she traded a wardrobe full of italian designers for outfits created by black designers purses and look at these everyone likes these shoes look at that heel it looks sexy with black owned products so it's really nice if i'm in a club or something like that when people say oh those are great shoes and say yes and they're black owned so it's always nice to be able to say that a house full of black made products is just the start even when it comes to healthcare she makes an effort to find doctors who are black hi dr cameron we need to make an appointment for the girls so can you please have someone call me back so i can schedule something for them thank you see you guys she's willing to invest time and energy into her beliefs and that includes doing online research to find doctors who are black i'll go to my insurance company website and they have a link find a doctor and i just look at the names and if the names sound like they may be black i'll kind of put them in a list and then i'll google them to look at their faces and then oh no no no i know that's not that's very rudimentary but that's one way that i look for black i couldn't find any that way it's all in the name of supporting her community doctor that's a major expense and it's a big so those big things we try to make sure that we do black if i have the choice and i have the time even if it's a pretty important thing i will wait maggie anderson has become a real champion of the by black movement she's even written a book inviting all african americans to follow her example it's an approach that angers some white americans anderson rejects the claim that the by black movement is racist i'm not thinking that i hate white people or that white people have done this to me i'm thinking what i need to do uh for black people i really don't care about what white people say or don't say about their businesses when people say buy american no one says well that means that you hate mexico that means that you hate china that means that you hate canada no it just means that we love america and i say buy black not because i hate people who are not black it's just that black businesses are undersupported and if i'm not going to support them no one else will the activist has become a kind of online detective exposing businesses that are white owned but sell products marketed to the black community this is one of the most historic largest black hair products ever this brand proudly boasts its family history particularly its african-american origins but the website suggests otherwise is i had to go to terms of use who is going to go to terms of use here i am in terms of use thank you for visiting our site which is owned and operated by l'oreal usa that tells me thank you black woman for giving me all your money and giving it to the l'oreal family i do believe that l'oreal intentionally does not put their name on the company brand's website if they were to know that the money that they spend on hair products just like any other person was going to the world's richest woman and that she was white and in france and from what i can see not doing anything at all for the black community would they still be buying these products my job is to spread this truth over the next few months maggie anderson will attend dozens of conferences across the country where she will spread her message but how do these new activists scope out products created exclusively by black people we head to the southeast of the united states to atlanta about half of the city's population is african-american martin luther king jr's birthplace and coca-cola's headquarters are both located here atlanta has become the economic hub of the black elite georgia's capital is second only to new york city in the number of black-owned businesses the city suburbs are also home to a company unlike any other a company that's aiming to be a kind of black-owned amazon by his late twenties sharif abdul malik already had several projects to his name including an online marketplace for black owned businesses what's going on everything's good everything's straight how did that puzzle piece do the one right after that ten thousand likes fourteen thousand two hundred so that means a lot of people viewed it quick insights oh yeah so that's really good for business sharif abdul malik a young business graduate was quick to spot the potential of the growing by black movement founded we buy black dot com in 2015.

the website sells products from black owned businesses and sellers everything from clothing to household goods it took the black community by storm soon racking up more than a hundred thousand customers and nearly a million social media followers so for a very long time hundreds of years we've we've always supported and bought white this could be rooted from a lot of african americans believing that that the caucasian was god a lot of african americans viewed white products and products sold from white people as superior products so this was a statement and a reaction to say something different to turn a table and say no longer will we buy white but it's time for us to buy blacks in his 500 square meter warehouse he stores products for several brands that are sold on his site among the flagship products one sells particularly well boxer shorts something good everything going man thing cool man we got a new banner okay nice nice it is right there oh yeah i love that no nine different style sheets nine different styles three in the pack we got the royale edition with the purple burgundy and royal blue nice okay then we got one more product coming out i've been testing these out the prototype okay champ slides nice been wearing for two weeks straight nice they holding up well holding up well but we we jumped started off we buy we thought we bought i don't know where we'll be standing at right now yeah so uh from the lunch there was a uh a press release it was through we buy black and that's what got us the momentum that we needed so i could say we're doing much better thanks we buy black very essential thanks to the website this entrepreneur is guaranteed more visibility and more sales and customers are happy too oh yeah i'm wearing champs right now yeah yeah i will show you but you know if it was all meh sharif abdul malik's goal is to produce and carry as many everyday items as possible alongside boxer shorts and laundry detergent the young entrepreneur is now moving on to dental hygiene here is the first african-american on toothbrush company it's probably the first uh toothbrush you know we'll normally see white-skinned people on the back of products so this right here is just probably the first toothbrush that ever has um melanated models on the back of their on the back of the packaging in my years of living i never saw it as well everything does not have to have a white person on it that you can actually have black people in your products though he may dream of more all black labels he might have to make some concessions this product here is uh is made in china is it made by a black chinese so that's a good question though because all over the world we get products made you know in china they get the raw material from africa [Music] the young entrepreneur is doing all he can to help establish an all-black economy today he's about to take it a step further he plans to close his current bank account why because his bank one of the country's largest is owned by a white man and sharif abdul malik is not alone killer mike the famous rapper has launched an appeal calling on african americans to transfer their money to one on a list of black owned banks you can go to your bank tomorrow take your money superstars like usher and singer solange knowles beyonce's sister have followed suit since then the hashtag black bank has been gaining popularity so much so that over 20 million dollars have been transferred to black owned banks well it's important that our dollars in our community you know rests with uh arresting a black owned bank mainly because we can trust that um that these banks uh have the interest of our community in mind that they would support businesses support institutions events organizations in our community to help get us a lot further that they have a higher percentage of of making sure that those dollars circulate within the black community than a wide-open bank definitely or non-black home bank 100 in a country where banks have historically discriminated against blacks in mortgage lending practices for example transferring his 350 000 in assets makes a statement go ahead and put this way it belongs it's an act of empowerment intended to boost the black community's wealth this is it i feel lighter i feel a whole lot lighter yeah i actually waited for this so yeah i feel really good yeah definitely another plan he hopes to make a reality opening the country's first black owned supermarket that will mainly sell products supplied by african americans atlanta has become a major hub for black entertainment and culture a thriving economy reasonable living costs and great weather make the city particularly attractive to the younger generation another reason atlanta appeals to so many wealthy african americans is because of its highly developed luxury real estate atlanta is surrounded by elegant suburbs and mansions as a result this new promised land is attracting more and more families each year when they arrive luxury real estate agent talia diaz is here to welcome them [Music] she first made a name for herself on a reality tv show where six real estate agents compete for the biggest sale you better watch out this november in this war the winner makes bet i have my clients for a reason since then she's become a key player in atlanta's luxury real estate scene this morning sporting her stylish stilettos she's meeting a millionaire couple for a viewing [Music] good good good good and congratulations chad chad made his fortune in finance his wife michaela is a social media star the couple originally from miami have decided to leave everything behind to settle in atlanta they're about to view this 400 square meter house that's valued at 1.7 million dollars isn't it gorgeous nice and i want you guys to take a look at the kitchen i think it's going to be one of the most amazing parts that you guys are going to love this feels like home talia diaz a top-notch sales agent knows exactly which points will entice potential buyers i have another little surprise right here is the pantry and it's a walk-in pantry also so you can go in nice and deep put all the kids snacks away so that way they can't see it and can't find it enough space i might have to learn how to cook with a pantry like this [Music] all right so i'm gonna give you guys a little glimpse but this is a great entertaining space for you amazing pool as surprising as it might sound this luxury house is actually considered entry level atlanta specifically a lot of african americans or black families can easily afford this i mean you hear mickey and chad just say like oh my god this is nothing this is easy 1.7 that's all that's something here in atlanta so atlanta is like the go-to for houses this massive [Music] michaela and chad's home will include a home theater [Music] a playroom for the children three bedrooms and a marble bathroom this is amazing right are the floors needed yes the floors are heated too for the couple the house is a lifelong dream let's practice this [Laughter] where i was the first person to become wealthy in my family we work very very hard and it's to be able to have a comfortable lifestyle to afford amenities like double vanities and big showers it's definitely motivation to keep working hard oh it's wonderful working with my own community and helping everyone else and just showing them the options that you have atlanta is an awesome area to do all of that in it's absolutely wonderful i mean the city rings black excellence period as the viewing comes to an end the couple has been won over they make an immediate offer without negotiating you guys in your house thanks to this sale talia diaz will pocket a 50 000 commission definitely something to be proud of yeah this was a piece of cake so thank god back home talia diaz is getting ready for a night out tonight she's organized a private party to celebrate her success as she often does she's hired a professional makeup artist someone she can rely on i trust her i have no clue what she did i just know i have something on my eyes that's dark and that's all i'm going for what is that smokey eye yeah okay oh i like it it looks so good tavia talia diaz is a single mother so the young woman rarely has a minute to herself she scoops up her seven month old and turns to help giselle her five-year-old who's doing her homework math fortunately she can afford daily child care her babysitter is black too okay so i'm gonna leave that there i have to run or even get dressed i have my driver pulling up in a few minutes five minutes oh great okay we are ready ready ready ready ready ready ready you gotta see this she's ready to celebrate her success in style [Music] her party is being held in downtown atlanta around 25 miles from her home and like a true celebrity she'll arrive fashionably late it says i am 45 minutes away oh gosh okay i'm arriving on bp time which is black people time which means you're gonna always be like 30 minutes to an hour late yes so i'll be there um yep right here right here just stop right here yep right here that's perfect thank you the host has finally arrived she makes a beeline for her party planner and gives some final instructions now we're talking about the balloons do you want to put them here because for the house [Music] her agency is doing very well thanks to her sales she earns an average of nearly two hundred thousand dollars in commissions each month [Music] to mark the occasion she's taken over one of the most exclusive clubs in the city [Music] this club has had every celebrity you can imagine every rapper every athlete that has came through atlanta has absolutely stopped here one thing about this club and several other clubs here in atlanta is that they are black owned which is really awesome it is it's full of black entrepreneurs honestly in atlanta the number of african americans earning over 200 thousand dollars a year has tripled over just a few years tonight the room is filled with bankers lawyers and doctors who have beaten the odds disproving stereotypes about black people in the process it's a wealthy elite that's proud of their success it's more like a life achievement award we're looking at diamonds i don't know the vs quality though i love that so yes you're looking at diamonds and this is my logo this is my business card they've all come to support talia diaz atlanta's affluent black community is particularly tight-knit she told me my house so she's a friend and a colleague so i just came to support her and i'm excited for her because she is in the embodiment of black excellence i'm here to support talia you know she's come a long way this is this is uh black mecca you know this is the the home of most african americans you know um and i think yeah there's a lot of successful african americans here we're very proud of it [Music] among this crowd of atlanta's elite only one white person is in attendance i mostly work with hispanics and african-americans you know i got to learn their ways how they do things so that way i can better adapt to them and create a connection with them i think it's a nice shame because everybody likes to especially here in the united states in today's day and age race is such a big thing and i hate that because it puts such limitations on so many things the evening is a rousing success many guests brought friends along making the party a great opportunity for networking diaz may have even come away with a few more contracts everybody's been able to network and you know just meet to have new relationships meet each other and everything else and it's been it's been fabulous i can't ask for anything better honestly it's been fabulous has some business been made tonight i got three deals hopefully coming up i got two dollars so i'm excited i'll have money for christmas and my birthday so i'm happy much like talia diaz and her glamorous guests the new black american elite is everywhere it's integrating into all professional circles to the highest stratospheres of power [Music] so [Music] so [Music] you

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