How Carl Joseph-Black’s ‘Blacklist’ is elevating Black money
Carl Joseph-Black had cornered the market.
Snowstorms in Brooklyn, N.Y., can be brutal, even more so for older, single women who own homes they must upkeep. This was how Black, more notably known as C-Joe, made his first money: Shoveling snow, identifying his target market, cornering that market, then recruiting other foot soldiers to both expand his reach and minimize his workload.
“But then I also realized that when you bring on people, you bring down your profits. And these are early things you start to learn, and if you actually apply those to companies and public markets, you start to realize why stocks move certain ways,” Black says now. “So when a company announces layoffs, usually that stock will rise because now they have less people to pay. See what I’m saying? It kind of works with the snow game.”
C-Joe has come a long way from his days as kingpin of a snow-shoveling empire, or slinging DVDs in high school using the same snow business formula. It’s one of the first of several sunny New York City days, but Black is in the shade, ducked away inside his office adjacent to Prospect Park, an office tucked inside the corridors of the Brooklyn Commons coworking space.
He’s watching rap battles — while reading the Wall Street Journal.
That’s the balance C-Joe’s looking to achieve. He is the commissioner of The Blacklist, a social club geared toward the young, Black professional whose early education did not include the financial tools needed to thrive in the American economy. He’s the publisher of The Dime, a weekly money news drop on Instagram (with weekly bits now found on Ebony). He’s a serial investor, business builder, financial advisor, and soon-to-be asset manager.
His goal is simple: to educate people of color on the options they have with their money though the social club he geared specifically towards the young, Black professional.
“The Blacklist is supposed to feel like you’re hanging out with your friends on the couch,” Black says. “But y’all are talking about money.”
Black takes a pause. His Apple watch starts talking unprompted.
“Sorry, Siri,” he says. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
No, C-Joe is talking to the young, middle-class, Black professional looking to improve their financial standing in 2021. Here are some ways he suggests going about doing so:
“Increase your income,” he says first. “The more income you have, the more choices you can make with your money. So what are you doing with your income? That’s my first question. And if your answer is, I have a bunch of income already –”
I interject. $60,000 is a fair number. I’m not sure it’s the median income for the young, Black professional, but it’s a number representative of someone who has a decent income.
“OK. So the first question is, have you created a business for yourself as a way to increase your income?” Black says. “If you haven’t, well, OK, maybe you should sit down and think about what skills you possess and whether those skills can earn you money outside of your regular job so that you can increase your income.
“Then the second question is, OK, have you cut your expenses? How can you do that?” he continues. “The third question is have you invested any of your money so that money can be working for you without you having to do anything for it? That’s what I try to teach in The Blacklist social club: Giving people the opportunity to figure out what skills they have that can service someone else; what opportunities exist in general, public or private, that they can find and see if they can put money to work in; and the third part is you need to find this information.”
That information isn’t easy to find, and that’s by design. Black spent his early years out of college working on Wall Street, where hedge fund managers didn’t explain certain types of financial information to people of color because they didn’t feel it was an acceptable use of time. He also recently penned a piece for Ebony titled, “Banks Have ‘Special Purpose Credit Loans’ Just For Black Folks–But You Must Ask.”
Knowing where and how to find that information fueled Black to create The Blacklist, where he disseminates that information to others like him looking for it. It’s another market he’s cornered, just like shoveling older women’s homes and moving DVDs in high school.