The New Millionaires: Emerging Generation of Supersuccessful African-Americans Redefine Wealth

By Chappel, Kevin | Ebony, December 1997 | Go to article overview

The New Millionaires: Emerging Generation of Supersuccessful African-Americans Redefine Wealth


Chappel, Kevin, Ebony


WANT to see a millionaire squirm? Ask how much he or she is worth. Better yet, ask if he or she is a millionaire. "Am-m-millionaire?" will be the apprehensive response. "If I had a million dollars, I'd be sitting on a beach somewhere, sipping one of those big drinks with the umbrella in it."

A level every red-blooded Americans strives to attain, but a name virtually no red-blooded capitalist ever wants to be called, the world "million aire" has always been one of the most "loaded" words in the English language. The love/hate relationship with money and those who have money has led many-a-millionaire to seek the pomp bestowed upon those who have eclipsed the seven-figure pinnacle, while at the same time hide from the circumstances that come with being the man (or the woman) of a million means. Admit to being a millionaire, and you become a walking dollar sign, a slow moving target that people want to borrow from, sue, rob, swindle and audit. Admit to being a millionaire and you will bombarded by charities, foundations, schools, friends, relatives and complete strangers, all asking, "Brother, can you spare a dime?"

But today a new breed of African-American millionaire has emerged, an assemblage of moneyed Blacks who do not broadcast their wealth, but do not run from it either. Not as flashy or as closefisted as some of their millionaire predecessors, this second generation of Black elite could more accurately be considered "millionaire lite," half the fat-(cat mentality), with none of the salt-(y stinginess). They not only give generously to worthwhile causes, but in many cases, have also create their own vehicles to deliver good works to the less fortunate.

Having earned their money in a relatively short period of time and at a relatively young age--many times through wise financial-market investments, the smart use of White capital or by being standouts in the wide-open technology, sports and entertainments fields--their numbers have skyrocketed into the thousands from only a handful 30 years ago. Add to that the increased number of Black women millionaires and the emergence of a "superrich" class of African-Americans --those with more than $50 million in assets--and the result has been a Black millionaire snowball effect that is quietly threatening to steamroll the country's social and economic hierarchy that, until now, has remained virtually unchanged for the last 200 years.

Boring by aristocratic standards, the new Black millionaires are not the topic of investigative newspaper articles or scandalous gossip columns. They have become a part of the exclusive, White-dominated world of fortune-making, not by backbiting, brown-nosing or tap dancing, but by living by one rule: "Be the best," says computer heavyweight Marc Hannah, co-founder of Silicon Graphics, which grossed an astounding $3 billion in sales last year, "and they won't care who you are or what color you are. Be the best, and you will do well."

Members of this millionaire "soul patrol" say they plan to stay on top by having the right attitude about their and CEO of Soul Circus Limited, believes learning about the good--and bad--aspects of money has been an evolutionary process for African-Americans. "I think we now realize that riches have the potential to enslave and bond you, and if not handled right, can be detrimental," says the 44-year-old who produces the critically acclaimed and highly successful Universoul Big Top Circus . "It traps you prevents you from moving forward. You start worrying about maintaining your wealth. Its like a good car--when you get out of it, you always look back at it. But if you have a raggedy car, you get out of it and keep the good-car-money while keeping the raggedy-car mentality."

Part of the makeup of that modest mentality is the development of a desire to reach back to help others. For people like Trish Millines, a 40-year-old Microsoft retiree who made a small fortune from deferred options of her employer's stock, reaching back meant starting a foundation that annually give more that $250,000 to provide computer training to people of color. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Millionaires: Emerging Generation of Supersuccessful African-Americans Redefine Wealth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.