Economic Prosperity in the Black Community

with Samantha Tweedy of the Black Economic Alliance

In recent years, Black households had the largest increase of any group in median net worth, but a racial wealth gap remains.

Samantha Tweedy, CEO of the Black Economic Alliance, joins host Tetiana Anderson to discuss efforts to improve economic progress and prosperity by supporting entrepreneurship in the Black community.

Posted on:

March 27, 2024

Hosted by: Tetiana Anderson
Produced by: National Newsmakers Team

Anderson: The median wealth for all Americans has increased in recent years but at uneven rates across racial lines, exacerbating the racial wealth gap. Hello and welcome to Comcast Newsmakers. I'm Tetiana Anderson. Recent data from the Federal Reserve demonstrates the persistence of a racial wealth gap within the US. In 2022, for every $100 in wealth held by a white household, Black households held only 15. Joining me to share efforts to improve economic progress and prosperity within the Black community is Samantha Tweedy. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Black Economic Alliance, and Samantha, thank you so much for being here.

Tweedy: It's wonderful to be here, Tetiana.

Anderson: So we know there is not parity just yet but we do know that wealth within the Black community is growing. What do you attribute that growth to?

Tweedy: Absolutely. So the Federal Reserve data that you cited showed an increase in Black household wealth, and that's attributed mainly to housing equity and business equity. But, as you alluded to, the story is more complicated than that, because with the increase in Black wealth, we see the increase in the wealth gap. In other words, that the disparity between Black wealth and white wealth is actually also increasing. And I'm just so happy that you started our conversation today around wealth because so often when you talk about wealth people immediately picture excess. They picture lavish vacation homes or fancy cars. But wealth is simply looking at how much you own -- housing equity, business equity -- versus how much you owe -- loans, debt. And in simplest terms, the definition of wealth is owning more than you owe, and we have to get to a point in this country where for Black folks that is no longer the exception but the rule.

Anderson: So you have said before that, you know, closing this gap will require work from Washington to Wall Street. What are some of the challenges and how are you addressing them?

Tweedy: That's absolutely right. So we have the data. We know what works. The challenges are that we need cross-sectoral solutions and consensus around those leading solutions. We need to see folks in the business sector, government sector, and social sector working together to ensure that not only are the solutions systemic and structural but that they center Black folks. One example is entrepreneurship and we've partnered with Spelman College and Morehouse College to build a Center for Black Entrepreneurship where we're training the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and also connecting them to the ecosystem that ultimately leads to capital. That solution is scalable by the public sector, by the private sector, and is one that will work.

Anderson: So all of this is obviously something you know a lot about. You talk about it a lot. And, in fact, you told Forbes Magazine that the notion that anyone can take an idea, work hard, and transform it into a successful business lies at the heart of the American dream. But, you know, that's not the reality facing many racial, ethnic, and other groups. So why is your organization just focused on Black Americans? Why not widen the scope?

Tweedy: What we see is that by closing racial economic disparities data out of Citi tells us that just over the last two decades alone, we would've added $16 trillion to the US GDP. But if we can close the racial wealth gap, data out of McKinsey tells us that we'll be looking at an additional 1.5 trillion to US GDP over the next five years. And that's not the Black GDP, right? That's not the people of color GDP. That's not one segment of the American society GDP. That's the GDP for the entire economy. And therefore these solutions, while full-stop they will make life better for Black Americans, they will also make life better for all Americans.

Anderson: As you think ahead about the community that you serve, what do you -- what comes to your mind and what are you planning for that will really help them achieve this goal of closing that gap?

Tweedy: So it's about building consensus around those leading solutions so that we see that they're not just structural, they're not just systemic but they're centering Black economic barriers at the heart of them. And that's the way that we're going to lead not only to increased Black wealth but also actually closing that racial wealth gap, and by doing so, increasing the entire American economy, which will be good for all Americans.

Anderson: This is something people are going to be talking about. What is your website? Where can they find more information?

Tweedy:, and there you'll find this research, these leading solutions and how you can get involved.

Anderson: Samantha Tweedy with the Black Economic Alliance, thank you so much for being here.

Tweedy: Thank you.

Anderson: And thanks to you as well for watching. As always, for more great conversations with leaders in your own community and across the nation, visit I'm Tetiana Anderson.

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