Reposted from AOL Black Voices
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, PhD
Dangerous Negro is changing the world. A young company founded by strong, intelligent black men, Dangerous Negro is shaking up the corporate power structure with empowered and intelligent apparel, designed to let you know that black men are no longer interested in scraping, bowing and "bojangling" to get ahead. Educated at the top business schools in the world, these men are not just hustling t-shirts - they are making serious money. Entrepreneurship is the Underground Railroad of the New millenium, and these men have signed themselves on as conductors. As winners of the Miller Coors Urban Entrepreneur Series, we can see that their greatest work is yet to come.
AOL Black Voices had the chance to catch up with the founders of Dangerous Negro:
1) What exactly is a "Dangerous Negro"?
Our tagline is: A dangerousNEGRO is a Danger to America's racial paradigm, a Danger to low expectations, a Danger to degenerate black mentalities, and is Dangerously contagious to the miseducated individual. Are you a dangerousNegro or soon to be endangered Negro?
Basically we noticed a historical pattern of great Black leaders being labeled "dangerous Negroes." Starting with President Woodrow Wilson's declaration of A. Philip Randolph as "the most dangerous Negro in America" in 1919, it seems that intelligent Black leaders with organizational skills were given this label. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. was crowned the "most dangerous Negro in America" by the FBI after the March on Washington. The US Government was fairly consistent in keeping the "dangerous Negro" monicker alive. Due to the global Black community's current state of despair, we would like to reignite this trend.
2) Tell me about your organization: What do you do, who's involved?
dN Group LLC is the parent company that operates dangerousNEGRO Black Empowerment Apparel (dN|Be Apparel) and dangerousNEGRO Entertainment (dN|Be ENT.).
dangerousNEGRO arose from the minds of Black men united in the quest to deliver consciousness to a lost generation. Sickened by images of ignorance, we decided to take a stand by giving the world a positive visual representation of Black culture. So our goal was to start not just an innovative clothing line and record label, but a movement.
We firmly believe that through our products we can increase the number of socially conscious individuals around the world, and, in turn, increase their impact on the community. By serving as a visual representation of the Black Empowerment Movement, our brand can help to inspire action and combat the apathy that has taken over many aspects of the Black community.
3) How did this company get started in the first place? Also, what's the background of the founders?
The company was started in Nashville, TN, where 6 of us graduated from Vanderbilt University. The seventh founder has always been a close associate based out of Indianapolis. All of us shared the desire to incite action in the Black community, so we combined our individual talents to strive towards that common goal.
We all have diverse backgrounds. I'm proud to say we boast among our ranks an MBA (Chairman Tre Baker), an MBA candidate (Frank Robinson), a Ph.D candidate (Tracy Holmes), a JD. (Justin Giboney, Esq), a Master of Engineering (President Sebastine Ujereh Jr.), and 2 Bachelor of Arts scholars (Demetrius Walker and Gary Mavindidze). Justin and myself (Demetrius Walker) are also public speakers that travel around the country lecturing.
4) What have you learned about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship? What has kept you going for this long?
We've learned that persistence and determination are key. The word Negro has somehow become the most frightening word in the English language, so we have learned to patiently weed through people's ignorance. In order to enlighten and incite change it takes a strong team committed to teamwork.
Seeing people inspired by our product has kept us going for the past 4 years. We've sold thousands of shirts across the country and people seem to appreciate what we are trying to accomplish. In many ways, we are the voice of those who wish to see change in the social, political, and economic well being of their communities. Therefore, our responsibility to Black America keeps us motivated.
5) Who is buying your product at this time?
Most of our apparel customers are in the 14-35 age range and sympathetic to our call for empowerment. We sell an equal amount of male and female shirts.
On the dN|Be Entertainment side we have an enormously diverse crowd of fans from all over the world.
6) You are obviously about more than just selling t-shirts. What tangential progress would you like to make in your community?
We would like to be the alarm clock that finally forces the Black community to wake up. Through dN|Be Apparel, we are forcing people to visibly recognize that "Smart Is The New Gangsta" these days. When someone is wearing one of our shirts they visually impact the subconscious of all in their vicinity. So the fashion side of our company hopes to encourage activism through people's sense of sight.
dN|Be Entertatinment caters to the sense of hearing on the other hand. Our airwaves are polluted with a significant amount of nonsense. We will be giving listeners music that will encourage intellectualism and promote intelligence.
7) What are your plans for the future?
As the company continues to spread its positive message, dangerousNEGRO plans to become the preeminent leader in urban wear, independent Hip Hop, and multiple other ventures. Once we finish raising the necessary capital, we are confident that dangerousNEGRO will be a household name.
8) Is there anything else you'd like for the AOL Black Voices audience to know?
We would like to thank AOL Black Voices for giving us an opportunity to talk about our business. We encourage everyone to become actively involved in our movement. Go to dangerousNEGRO.com today. Participate in our blog discussions. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/dangerousNEGRO. Join our Facebook fan page as well. Tap us to speak at your schools and universities. This is an interactive movement and we are very responsive to the input of our customers, consumers, and even critics. Help us to get this positive message in every Black household across the country!
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the forthcoming book, "Black American Money." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered directly to your email, please click here. ]]>