Killer Mike and Andrew Young: The New Faces of Black Banking

Greenwood founders Killer Mike (left), former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young (center) and Bounce TV President Ryan Glover.
Atlanta rapper and activist Michael Render  (or as many become acquainted with his rap moniker, Killer Mike) along with Civil Rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, are working to become the face of Black and Brown banking in the US.

Render, as half of the hip hop group Run the Jewels , is leveraging his reputations in both rap and organizing communities to advocate for racial equity with many of his recent projects. In 2019, he released his Netflix series, Trigger Warning, a documentary-style show that focused on confronting social issues that impact the Black community.

But it’s the Grammy winner’s latest venture, Greenwood Bank, that has the people talking. Named after the historic “Black Wallstreet” of Tulsa Oklahoma with the same name, Greenwood, is a financial services company that specializes in digital banking for us, by us. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

2021 saw President Trump’s tumultuous exit, fresh off of 2020 summer protests against police brutality, and COVID’s past and present reign of terror affecting Black and Brown communities. As a result, we have begun to see a major shift in how our society operates as a whole. Everything from policy-making, political structures, educational practices, and access to resources as it relates to equity for all races, are being called into question.

And with the recent Reddit Wallstreet Blockbuster, it’s only right that it’s time to assess the banking practices that have long-been discriminatory towards the BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) Communities. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, while all businesses suffered as a result of the pandemic, it was Black and Hispanic businesses that had more difficulty acquiring business relief such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Consequently, if the wealth gap between white Americans and Black and Latinx was 8x and 5x before COVID-19, what can we expect for the climate after this pandemic?

With a year of frequent restaurant and bar closures in the nation, massive layoffs and furloughs, a major shift to remote work, and the emergence of contactless delivery, we are reassessing our business, banking, and investment practices. As we look to make sense of this new state of normalcy, it’s time we look at the role models who advocate for these practices as well.

While Killer Mike’s no banker or financial advisor by trade, he’s had several successful ventures as well as having helped others along the way. For Greenwood, he’s teamed up with Ambassador Andrew Young Jr, an American politician (former Mayor of Atlanta), diplomat (Ambassador to the UN), and activist. Beginning his career as a pastor, Young is a civil rights movement pioneer having served as a close adviser to Martin Luther King Jr.

I want the worker class to understand this is a platform that will not gouge you

The third partner is Render’s longtime friend and Bounce TV founder and President Ryan Glover. With Young, Glover, and Render’s powers combined, perhaps they hold one of the best vantage points of what it is to build generational wealth in a generation’s time.

Greenwood is for the people. “I want the worker class to understand this is a platform that will not gouge you,” Render tells CNN Business. The goal is to provide the Black and Latinx community with fair access to financing, a global ATM network, Android/Apple Pay, and paycheck advances for direct deposit-registered customers. After millions of dollars in investments, over 430,000 pre-registered accounts to date, and popular influencers joining Render and partner Ryan Glover, the story of Greenwood, is having a resurgence.

Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” It’s time we stop believing Black financial independence is a myth and honor the history of those who came before us. We are resilient, innovative, and mighty. It’s time we operate in that excellence. Greenwood’s online banking platform is set to launch in late 2021.

Cheers to Greenwood; cheers to 2021; cheers to us.

Greenwood has a current waitlist that you can join to become a member once the service has launched.

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