Author: Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a freelance writer living in Harlem. His work has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other places.

Freedom is like religion to us Justice is juxtapositionin’ us Justice for all just ain’t specific enough One son died, his spirit is revisitin’ us Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us That’s why Rosa sat on the bus… -Common, “Glory” It’s difficult to imagine America without prisons and jails. Few things are as American as tossing people into institutions for a hefty profit. Harder still is to imagine not having blacks to fill those prisons. New York State receives $60,000 dollars per inmate per year to house prisoners. Annual average cost to the taxpayer across America is $31,286…

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If we asked you who the richest African American is, would you say? Oprah? Or Jay Z? Or Michael Jordan? If those were your answers, you would be wrong. The richest black person in America according to Forbes, is Robert F. Smith. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve never heard of his name as he made his billions away from the lime-light. Along with Robert Smith, these are the 5 richest African Americans (and the only 5 black billionaires in America). 1. Robert F. Smith, $4.4 billion Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity and…

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Black owned has been a trending term for the last few years. We have been encouraging each other to support businesses of all type that are owned by black people, all across the country. But what’s the history of African American business in America? Black-owned businesses, or black businesses, originated well before slavery was abolished in the United States. However, emancipation and civil rights permitted businessmen to operate inside the American legal structure starting in the Reconstruction Era (1863–77) and afterwards. By the 1890s, thousands of small business operations had opened in urban areas. The most rapid growth came in…

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If you didn’t know who Suzanne Shank was before BET’s Black Girls Rock! awards, then we hope you do now. The ‘Shot Caller’ award recipient and incredible business woman gave one of the best speeches of the night.  “When all of us invest in black girls, when we give them every opportunity to succeed and empower them with confidence, ” Shank said in her acceptance speech, “the returns for our community, our country and our world are limitless.” In case this is your first time getting aquatinted with Suzanne Shank, here are 7 things to know about the kick-ass CEO.…

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I wanted to smash my head through the massive window and get a million little pieces embedded in my face, and one massive shard straight to the jugular, so I could bleed out quick. I stood in a line that twisted around the block, impatiently waiting to donate blood. I’d been smart, got there early, so I could lean against the building itself. Many of the men in front and behind me looked almost as bad as I did–but they were homeless, and I was not—I had a cozy spot on my friend’s couch. My hair, thick, matted, crusted from…

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I waited for the ambulance and the police to arrive, surrounded by shards of broken glass and my own blood. I was a minor, and my mother’s boyfriend, Chuck, was a monster. I wondered if I’d made the right decision. I could only pray that my mom would tell the truth, and that the truth made sense. We were well-acquainted with my biological mother’s infamous, sometimes obvious lies, and tales of goblins and ghouls. For me, my older brother and sister, her stories were a brief escape from the harshness of Chicago’s South Side in the 90s. I doubt we…

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For like five or six years, there was a running joke about how only white people loved Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino. And I found that odd, because I’m not white, and I’ve been a fan of him since Community. Recently, someone suggested that the creator of Atlanta was “fake woke” because he has children with an Italian woman. This has to be one of the most ill-conceived, misinformed statements of the year. In an episode of Girls, his character expertly rails on those Bohemians, like Lena Dunham’s character, who pick up African American men like they would a new puppy or a ukulele…

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Kanye West is fantastic. Yes, I said it. Sue me. I’ve been a fan since high school, and that’s very unlikely to change in the near-future. I remember the very first time feeling good, proud even, in my dark-brown skin. Kanye West released College Dropout my senior year of high school. In a generation stuck on baggy pants, do rags, and  wannabe thugs, Mr. West got us hooked on polo shirts, khaki pants, pastel backpacks, and dreams for a G.O.O.D. future. None of the Wesley’s or Eddie’s or Grace Jones’ ever made me feel as empowered as that strong, young brother from…

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“I almost didn’t make it to 30, if you really think about it,” he said. “And no matter how it would have went, it seemed like he didn’t care that he wasn’t going to make it to 30.”–James Shaw, Jr. Remember the words of James Shaw, Jr. The 29 year old hero who faced down the 29 year old coward. Remember his name mostly, because he’s not taking that hero crap. He doesn’t want a badge or a diamond or some kind of gaudy monstrous key to the city.  And he damn sure isn’t living to get praise from Donald…

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