"Get your reparations son" that's what a friend of mine from the Bronx used to say all the time. Years ago, I really didn't know what he meant. I respect this Black Man because he taught me a valuable lesson, and he is one of the reasons I am in business for myself today, and I will present a case to suggest "ALL" black people in America should own their own businesses, work for Black businesses or create Unions that protect them when they are working under -for and with White people that benefit from their labor, skill and ideas. Somewhere back in 1993-94 I was schooled to a game I knew nothing about. Some Black Men would call it "hustling" but I call it Entrepreneurship. Some of us here at Destee know about the Hustle. We know that selling and dealing on the street corners can teach you enough to say, run your own Multi-Million dollar enterprise. Think Jay-Z. Think 50 Cent. We may not agree with their motives, but their movements are correct. I never sold drugs. I never had to. "Get your reparations son" George said, he explained to me about a week before Valentine's day how much money we could make if we sold Roses the day of. Honestly, I thought George was crazy. He was one of those street cats who bopped around chewing a cherry stick talking madness. But I really didn't have much choice. I was fired from Blockbuster video for some b.s…...and I need some money to get me over the hump to the next level. So I "invested" $25.00, only because I was scared it wouldn't work. I went downtown Manhattan to some wholesale florist, I believe I purchased about 50 stems for that price. As an added touch, I printed out some poems on my printer at home, sprinkled some glitter on them- and tied each up with a red ribbon, I left one open so the customer could read it. Now what? George, along with other things was an Entertainer too, I'd have to say he was a very Intelligent Salesman as most Black Men are. Think about that the next time a Brotha offers you some incense. George's idea was, for us to dress up like James Brown. Now that I think about it, it was hilarious, but it worked. His concept was, when people are Entertained they are usually easier to sell to. Of course, Television broadcasters already know that fact. So we dressed up on Valentine's day, looking like complete fools. James Brown wigs and sunglasses…..I think I had some wingtip Church shoes to go with my Wedding Usher Suit. "Get your reparations son." I still thought George was crazy. There I was dressed up like James Brown holding a bucket of Roses and poems on the Subway. As soon as we walked on the train George started acting crazy, doing all these James Brown moves saying we were selling Roses so we could get back to Georgia, the people were loving it. Brothas on the train started asking, how much for the Roses...Women, Old Men, every train car we went into people were buying from us. Since it's illegal in NYC to sell like we were doing without a permit, of course we were scared when we saw 4 Cops come on the train starring at us...but our Comedy was so good even the Police brought some Roses from us. We cleaned up. We sold each Rose for $3.00-$5.00 each, and the poems I sold for $1.00 a piece. It only took us about 3 hours to sell everything. By the end of the day, we made close to $200 in 3 hours...back then that was a life altering experiencing. I paid George for his time, and I regretted not investing more money. But this experience opened up allot of doors for me. I've started so many different businesses over the years, and failed at so many of them…...but I keep going like so many Black Men and Women who earn their living selling their services to their communities. Still, it took me some time to understand what George meant when he said "get your reparations son." It wasn't until I learned more about what is legally owned to the Sons and Daughters of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. There's a price for everything, White people know that much better than some of us do. So I do question the logic behind websites like: www.wewontpay.com, because here are White people saying- No- we will not pay you reparations, but who is "we?" Again, this is Whites confessing their guilt when no one asked them too. Black people are asking for reparations from the "American Government" which profits from the earnings of all Americans, White, Black, Chinese, Latino- everyone….so if Blacks ask for reparations actually we are asking for monies that "has not been" awarded or paid out. Reparations is Black people's "own" money. The money of our Ancestors that is being held by the American Government and collecting interest. You get your reparations from the American Government. How do you do that? You start your own Business. You create products and services that help you to generate the wealth or living standards you require. That's one way at least. Its important to note that while many of us are fighting for reparations, many of us are still making money for Whites right now as we speak. Why? I myself can honestly say I can create a job for anyone on the planet, anyone. We don't have to wait around for the Government to create jobs for us. As long as there are human with needs, there are human jobs. As long as there are able minds and bodies, there are able workers. And most importantly, as long as there are thinkers, there are ideas. And we all have ideas and inventions that we should implement into this reality, but we are not- because we are working to make "ends mean"- yet we always meet our end. I believe in both internal and external reparations. I believe both are equally important. We must be able to network as a people and pool together our services and skills in order to understand where the money we earn should be going, and why. Ken Bridge's vision for Matah's network is just as important as the vision we all have for receiving the monies owned for services rendered. At the same time we must recognize what "reparations" looks like. George might say, its getting from America what is owned to you anyway, and because legally and spiritually there is money owned to you as a Black person, you have an advantage. Couldn't the Hip-Hop industry be our reparations if we solely controlled the distribution? Sure it could. How about all Black Media and Sports? How about Black Fashion? Actually, it that case reparations is not "asking for money" at all...its taking control of what we already have.