‘Our America: In The Black’ Documentary Explores Financial Literacy, Economic Empowerment

In a groundbreaking initiative to address the racial wealth gap, Microsoft Philanthropy tech specialist, Darrell Booker, alongside a team of dedicated experts, embarked on a journey that would help shape the narrative of financial literacy and economic empowerment. The result? A powerful documentary titled “Our America: In The Black.” 

From its inception, the project was fueled by a shared commitment to uplift Black and Brown communities, recognizing the vital role of financial education in making that happen. 

Ahead of its screening in Atlanta, ADW sat down with Darrell Booker and Dr. Jatali Bellanton, a finance expert, to dive deeper into the project and its powerful narratives.

“It came to be from the work I do supporting a lot of nonprofits, community-based organizations, and just any of their missions to improve the lives of our Black and Brown communities,” Booker said. “Connecting with the folks over at Disney and ABC, they wanted to figure out a way to talk about financial literacy and generational wealth in the Black community. So then came about this idea to combine these two ideas. At the end of the day a lot of those community leaders are focused on these very topics.” 

The documentary dives into a myriad of topics guided by Dr. Bellanton. From exploring avenues for investment, the documentary offers a multifaceted exploration of economic empowerment. 

“We talk about everything from appreciation in regards to art. And different ways people of color can invest their money in traditional and nontraditional ways. Such as taking your extra grant money from college and putting it into vehicles like the stock market, etc.,” Dr. Bellanton said. “Then we also tackle what it means being a first generation coming into America. How do you save up and still help your family back home, survivor’s guilt? We really make sure we diversify conversations between first time college students as well.” 

Highlighting some of the personal stories shared within the documentary, Dr. Jatali and Darrell Booker reflected on the impact of individuals such as Hannah and Angel. 

Dr. Bellanton said, “There’s one young girl, Hannah. Seeing her love for engineering –  which is not something that is really female based and seeing her jumping into this field is really cool. Booker added “She’s also in foster care as well. That’s a topic very near and dear to me. It’s tough enough for anybody to be able to survive in this economy but add the layer of being in foster care and not having supportive parents around you, it just makes it even harder for them.” 

Another young man left a lasting impression as well. 

“As myself being West Indian / West African, I loved Angel’s story because I know exactly what it feels like to be the breadwinner in a family. And it didn’t matter how old I was. When I got my first job there were people back in other countries telling me to send them money,” Dr. Bellanton said. 

Following the documentary screening, an insightful panel discussion featuring Darrell Booker, Dr. Jatali Bellanton, entrepreneur and ZuCot Gallery Partner Onaji Henderson, and Redemption Bank Co Founder Ashley Bell. These experts further explored financial literacy and economic empowerment, diving into practical strategies and community initiatives aimed at fostering economic resilience and equity.

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