Business: Damon Dash on The Breakfast Club

Okay, we all know Dame Dash broke the internet and continues to set fire to the whole idea of Black business ownership after his interview on The Breakfast Club last week. The most common discussion point is how DJ Envy was not a boss. I’ve seen discussion after discussion from people in my Facebook feed. The topics ranged from the feminist point of view that Dame only addressed his son as his legacy, to Dame was a bully.

What I wanted to say to every argument was that no one was paying attention to the most important things in the interview, the unsaid. Because two dudes basically beat their chests throughout the dialogue a lot of critical things were overlooked, I will only focus on a few for brevity’s sake. Let’s get started.

1. The feminist POV problem. Some women thought he was demeaning, but they didn’t pay attention. When making business moves Dame said right away, that he’d rather work with women and that he would always trust a woman before trusting a man. How any woman was offended by the rest of his discussion is beyond me.

2. “You’re not a boss DJ Envy.” Whoa there Dame… the dude said something that you completely overlooked. He owns shares in the company he works for. No he can’t get his son hired and he can be fired, but if DJ Envy had been on his toes, he would’ve said that his performance is in direct relation to the success of the radio station and increases his own personal wealth. Dame overlooked the idea that the security (or lack of in Dame’s opinion) that a job grants someone in Envy’s position is an ability to give his children an opportunity to do more in life. So while his son doesn’t see ownership, he does see a work ethic and a work ethic is the foundation of being a boss. More important, I know at least a thousand people here in Memphis who work for Fed Ex, but don’t have any ownership via stock in the company. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that most of the people you know who have jobs don’t own any shares in the company they work for. This was a missed opportunity to address the fact that you may never be a boss, but you can damn sure own some shit.

3. Read this really good post on Polite Conversation, then come back and finish reading this, or save it until later. The point is Dame does fail to realize this, “I think Dame’s greatest misstep in the interview was not discussing THE WHAT….being the boss of what. You have to be a boss of something. You must have a skill. You have to excel at something. Have an education or a trade or a talent! He succeeded in rap! Lets be honest fam…rap is not a minstrel show but it iisssssssss the closest thing to it.” – PavarottiShakur  Polite Conversation nails it by addressing what Dash failed to do. He didn’t really give a plan, but that’s because he let his dick get in the way and these are the things that got screwed in the process:

4. The Losaidas Movie, which was the original intent of the interview, along with the cookies obviously (By the way, that website needs a lot of work… if you weren’t Dame, these Cookies wouldn’t be selling based on the website), was a complete and utter waste of dialogue. Not because of the film, but because here Dame is introducing me (and I’m sure a gang of damn people) to a new and completely dope concept of independent film release. When Dame brought up Spike Lee and his Kickstarter, which eventually became Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, I was now into the conversation. I backed the Spike Lee project and then I actually pulled my funding. That’s another story, but Dame discussed Vimeo as a film release platform. This shit was important!!!!!!

– Here is why. I had no idea you could monetize Vimeo. I didn’t even think about the fact that you could serialize a film release and charge for the episodes or the complete project. This is something that isn’t even possible on Youtube. I mean think about it… Direct to the Customer video is YouTube’s biggest selling point. That and the fact that you can monetize the videos and earn revenue. Dame could have easily just produced a basic film, that wasn’t very cinematic, but was just good enough to capture the Youtube hits. He has a Youtube channel so he could have just dropped the project there. He didn’t and his decision to go with the Vimeo platform is revolutionary and completely changes the concept of straight to the consumer film.

Listen, the one thing I hate about Hip-Hop is mixtapes. I don’t care how you cut it, it’s the dumbest shit to ever happen to music. When was the last time you’ve seen a country music mixtape? Or a pop music mixtape? I get the idea of giving away something free to entice the community to support you, but if you continuously release mixtapes in the hopes that you will get picked up or signed, you are giving away so much material that it becomes progressively harder for you to make money because people have so much of your content already. They can simply download a mixtape and keep it moving (unless you’re King Kendrick…). What does this have to the with Dame’s use of Vimeo? He could have dropped the video on Youtube (which actually has a monetization feature outside of just Youtube now ask me about this in the comments, or don’t), but by generating interest with clips and discussions on the film, then moving the actual content to Vimeo he monetizes the venture upon its release. If people find it interesting, they can watch like it’s a part of an Amazon season or Hulu. They can pay for all or part of it. He generates revenue and anyone with a business knows how cash hungry ventures are. You start recouping and  you can now move forward with regular distribution and earn more revenue. This wasn’t discussed in the interview though and that sucks.

5. What else wasn’t discussed? Dame barely scratched the surface of art. He’s opening an art gallery because it is an investment into the future. The only art Black people buy is the poster of Tupac and Biggie sitting like they are at The Last Supper. It’s either that picture or the picture of the brother hugging his lady or holding the baby in the air. The discussion on art though is about legacy just as much as the business discussion. Teaching children about art is actually more important than almost any discussion you can have. Creativity is the foundation of building wealth. That would have been something incredible to delve into, but it wasn’t.

6. I was hoping that Charlegmagne Tha God or Angela would interrupt and challenge Dame on the idea of using your own money. I’ve had this discussion so many times in the past few months. As a matter of fact it has driven me to write a series of business quotes I’ve been sharing on Facebook (soon to be in book form, Facebook is not my daddy, but sometimes it seems like it is). I admire the idea that Dame puts his own money up, but it is in collaborative efforts where great wealth is developed. 2 people started Apple. 2 People started Microsoft. 3 people started Nike (Phil Knight was going no where until his coach Bill Bowerman joined, and an old teammate named Jeff Johnson came up with the name Nike and the Cortez). My point is collaboration is the foundation of real wealth. Just because you can use your own money doesn’t mean that you should. I do get where Dame is coming from because when it’s your cash you are more invested, but damn I wish the discussion would have been there about this.

Overall, the interview is possibly one of the most important things that could have happened in a post Ferguson world. I’ve said over and over, cops kill Blacks because Blacks lack real power. Real power unfortunately does not rest in the church, or marching, it lies in the dollar. When a group of people has its own media, its own services, it becomes very hard to continuously mistreat those people. Blacks have to gain control of their dollars and with that control will come respect… not the kind that is earned, but the kind that is feared. You can’t kill people who can shut things down. The problem is Blacks have given away so much power that we are going to find it hard to really be the “Boss”. That’s what Dame was saying, it wasn’t really about business to me, it was about building our financial influence to regain status in society. Check out the links and begin your own discussion.

Losaidas The Movie

Damon Dash on Twitter

The Breakfast Club on Twitter