Book Excerpt

“We haven’t had sense enough to set up stores and control the businesses of our community. The man who is controlling the stores in our communities is a man who doesn’t look like we do; he’s a man who doesn’t even live in the community. So you and I, even when we try to spend our money in the block where we live or the area where we live, we’re spending it with a man, who when the sun goes down, takes that basket full of money to another part of town.”  – Malcolm X

“Not all profit is equal. Profits involving a social purpose represent a higher form of capitalism, one that creates a positive cycle of company and community prosperity….Shared-value focuses companies on the right kind of profits—profits that create societal benefits rather than diminish them.” – Harvard Business Review


I Just Love ‘em!

“Settle down ladies and gentlemen, settle down!” I loudly announced as I walked into the rowdy classroom.

“Hey, Mr. Franco: You’re our substitute teacher again?” asked Sean.

“Yes I am,” I responded as the class bell sounded.

“Can I go to the bathroom?”

“Not yet.”

“Yo, Mr. Franco! I was feelin’ your lesson on entrepreneurship yesterday,” DC abruptly stated.

“What did you enjoy about it?” I asked.

“How entrepreneurship can hook me and my boys up with jobs.”

“Great point, DC,” I said. “Job-creation is the number one thing in starting a business. As I mentioned during my presentation, if we had more businesses in our communities, a lot more African Americans would have jobs to provide for their families and this could reduce the temptation for some to commit crimes.”

“I learned a little something as well,” Sean said.

“What did you learn, Sean?” I asked.

“I learned that if you are well prepared with mad knowledge, you won’t be afraid to launch your own company and you won’t even care what others, who haven’t studied at all, have to say about your plans.”

“Excellent!” I said, beaming. “Gaining knowledge through much reading and studying is very important for entrepreneurs. It helps build their confidence.”

“Yeah, because when you first mentioned how your company wants to use the barbers and stylists in our communities to be the spokespersons for FAMDO, I was lost. But after reading that newspaper article you gave me, I understood how they can help FAMDO’s marketing plans,” said Sean.

“Mr. Franco, I learned you aren’t that big on marches and meetings,” said Rasheeda.

“Well, let’s make sure we don’t dis the marches and meetings, as they were very important for the civil-rights generation and what they did for us in the 1950s and 1960s. But, today’s black issues are going to require a dofor-self plan, focusing mainly on economics and entrepreneurship that would improve the conditions of our communities,” I said.

“Mr. Franco, I learned you have a revolutionary business called FAMDO,” said Rason, another student in the class. “And revolutionary—not like you’re looking to start trouble, but it’s like—you want to change the world! Part of FAMDO’s mission—I think that’s the word you used—is to make sure blacks are being hired by the companies we spend our money with.”

“Yes, Rason,” I said with a chuckle. “Mission is the word that I used. And I do believe FAMDO will revolutionize how we, as African Americans, spend money. As the leader of FAMDO, I would like to verify that the companies we are strongly supporting with our dollars are also hiring and promoting African Americans in the right way. Wow, I can see you guys are really learning something. Thanks for the great feedback. Now, let’s look at the assignment Ms. Jackson planned for today.”

“Wait a second, Mr. Franco,” Shenise interrupted. “I got a question for you. Who’s your favorite rapper?”

“I don’t really have one at the moment,” I said, as I began to hand out the assignment.

“Shenise, can’t you tell Mr. Franco don’t get down like that?” DC asked. “He probably likes that dude Kirk Franklin or, who’s the guy that sings the fall-down song?”

“Donnie McKirkin!” exclaimed Sean.

“Yeah, dat’s him, Donnie McKirkin,” DC said. “Come on Mr. Franco, sing wit’ me: We Fall Down…but we get up. We Fall Down…but we get up. I know you know it.”

“Aiight DC, watch yourself,” I warned. “And his name is Donnie McClurkin,” I said.

“Mr. Franco, you probably don’t like any of today’s rappers ‘cause they too gangsta for you, right?” asked Shenise.

“You may have a point,” I replied.

“I bet you even think today’s rappers are a problem,” Shenise added.

“I think it’s more to it than that,” I said. “But the images the mainstream rappers put out are often not healthy for us as a community.”

“Come on!” Shenise said in frustration. “All you old hip-hop heads always blamin’ today’s rappers for somethin’. But they just tellin’ their stories. They ain’t the ones pullin’ the triggers or knifin’ dudes. Ya’ll just don’t understand.”

“Well Shenise, let me tell you a story,” I said. “When I was a teenager, I was really into playing basketball. And I usually played against the best. Many times, I got my butt kicked by these guys, but I kept coming back,” I explained. “By doing so, I saw what it took to be a successful player. Then I realized that by keeping at it—no matter how many times I got beat—I was not only getting better, but I was also showing the younger players in town what it took to get to the next level. By all of us playing up to the competition, our high school’s basketball teams had great success over the years, and many of us went on to earn basketball scholarships at the college level.”

“Yeah Mr. Franco, but what does that have to do with our rappers?” Shenise asked.

“Here’s my point,” I said. “If African Americans continue to play down to the competition, which includes bragging with the N-word, getting into criminal activity, and having sex with many partners as today’s rappers like to boast about, our communities will never get to the next level. And it’s not just the rappers, but it is also the mainstream media—which African Americans don’t own—that controls our minds and keeps us in a messed-up or oppressed state as a people. So I believe I understand better than most, Shenise.”

“Mr. Franco, I have to admit, you got that off,” Shenise said. “My bad for comin’ at you the way I did. And, you’ve definitely have given me something to think about.”

“That’s okay, Shenise. Now, after everyone does their assignment, I have another lesson today regarding faithfulness,” I said to the class. “As DC just sang, there’ll be times when you fall as a teenager, entrepreneur, and even as community. But guess what? We’ve got to get back up and remain committed to a vision. I think you all will like this lesson.”

FAMDO is more than a book. It’s a forward-thinking, radical company and blueprint for how African Americans can take responsibility for our communities, our youth, and the images depicted about us in media. The book outlines the concept and structure of FAMDO, but you, the reader, provide the necessary fuel to
make the FAMDO machinery operational.

As you read, you will be encouraged to take action on some level aimed at forwarding the plan to empower African-American communities. Your involvement may take varied shapes and forms—ranging from simply purchasing a FAMDO product, to helping generate profits back to black communities, or identifying effective
nonprofit programs that FAMDO can fund to improve our neighborhoods. Whatever steps you take, you will become part of a new generation of problem-solvers, change-agents, and money-makers who fund the cause of rescuing the African-American community by making conscious purchasing choices. You will become the
architect and builder of a financial structure aimed at strengthening our communities. You will become an active and vocal partner in a plan that previous generations of black activists and civil-rights leaders dreamed of and longed for us to achieve.

We can no longer afford to simply continue complaining about the myriad of problems facing African Americans and our communities. In light of today’s dismal economic climate, the rampant racism that remains prevalent in the upper echelons of corporate America, and the mass number of black youth living beneath the quality of life our forefathers envisioned—we must stop talking about the problems and take massive action to begin solving the problems.

FAMDO offers a comprehensive, actionable plan that allows every empowerment-minded individual to participate in a workable take-back program. Building upon the rich history and indelible legacy of African American leaders who have made tangible changes in the way society relates to us as a people, the FAMDO company is targeted at transforming the impoverished state of many black communities today. It seeks to change how this state-of-affairs affects our youth and our business communities. It exposes the nightmare the American Dream has become for a disproportionate number of African Americans and leverages our spending
power and the proliferation of information via the Internet to do so.

So, what is FAMDO positioning us to take back?

FAMDO’s plan will allow us to take back our spending power, to take back our neighborhoods, to take back the direction of our youth, and to take back the way the media handles black images and contracts with black businesses.

FAMDO—the book, the concept, the company, the way—inspires African Americans to use the power we already have to take back our pride, our dignity, and…our future.

Chapter 1

A New Way of Doing Things

A Monday to Remember

This particular Monday morning started out like any other. The alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I got up, showered, and dressed. My wife and I woke up our twin five-year-old boys, and we washed, fed, and got them ready for their last day in daycare. The very next day was to be their first day of kindergarten.