President Trump has tried to court black voters, highlighting his economic record with African Americans: the unemployment rate for black Americans currently sits at 5.4%, a record low, and the tight labor market means that minorities get a boost. Trump only picked up 8% of the black vote in 2016, a number he boasted he will increase to 95% in the 2020 election.
But radio host, author, and television personality Lenard McKelvey, aka “Charlamagne tha God,” had a warning for black voters who think a Trump presidency might equal financial prosperity.
“It’s not worth it at the end of the day,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the black technology conference “AfroTech” in Oakland, Calif., the radio host explained that while boosting black wealth is important, voting for Trump might be paying too high a price.
“Financial freedom is definitely our only hope,” he said. “But we also have to remember that we’re black at the end of the day.”
He continued, explaining that black Americans need to “watch for the hook.”
“I don’t think that we have gotten to the point in our society where we can take those chances on a president who may be putting money in our pockets but rolling back all of our other civil rights, and rolling back all of our other civil liberties,” he said, referencing issues like the war on drugs. “That don’t add up to me.”
“I don’t care how rich you are,” he said. “If you don’t have civil rights, what’s the point? Who wants to be a rich slave?”
But this wasn’t the only piece of advice Charlamagne gave. He also believes that investing and chasing your dreams is possible, even while living paycheck to paycheck.
“You gotta save those paychecks,” he said, adding that he once lived paycheck to paycheck.
“When it comes to finances, a lot of us just don’t know how to save money because we’ve never been taught to save money.”
While previous generations might have been defined by “scratching and surviving,” Charlamagne tha God said that the current generation has “the luxury of thriving,” and “making money on our own.”
“There’s all types of ways to make disposable income,” he said. “While you’re busy chasing your dreams, you still can have a job to take care of your bills. Whatever money you can save from that job you put that towards whatever you’re making chasing your dreams.”
“There’s 168 hours in a week,” he said. “Everything is budgeting. You’ve got to budget your time, you’ve got to budget your money.”
And in order to build a business and make investments McKelvey said it’s about “leveraging what you have.”
“Figure out what you have that’s worth something, and how it can be useful to somebody else to broker some of these investments.”
The television personality reflected on his past, saying that he never really made financial mistakes, because he isn’t a big spender.
He did once give “a couple thousand dollars” to his friend and music artist DJ Chuck T, he said, for an investment opportunity — but he doesn’t know what happened to it.
Instead, Charlamagne said, he likes to earn as much money as possible.
“You know how back in the day you have your money in a rubber band and you want to just see how big the stack can get?” he asked. “I’m the same way with my bank account. I want to see how many zeroes I can get in my bank account.”
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.