/  11.21.2020

REVOLT.TV is home to exclusive interviews from rising stars to the biggest entertainers and public figures of today. Here is where you get the never-before-heard stories about what’s really happening in the culture from the people who are pushing it forward.

Actor and activist Jesse Williams has officially partnered with Michael Render, professionally known as Killer Mike, to help bring Greenwood digital bank to the Black masses who are serious about putting their money where their mouth is.

As REVOLT previously reported, the Run The Jewels MC began promoting Greenwood back in October. The name pays homage to the historic district in Tulsa, Oklahoma that is formerly known as Black Wall Street. The town was the most prominent Black neighborhood in America at the time before the Tulsa race massacre of 1921 occurred and a white mob burn it down, murdered hundreds of Black residents, injured countless others, and left thousands more homeless.

Using what the neighborhood meant for Black prosperity, with the upcoming launch of their bank, Mike and Williams are hoping to equip Black Americans with the necessary tools to once again gain wealth.

At a press conference about the new initiative, REVOLT asked Williams why he decided to be a part of this movement. He stated: “It’s necessary… Our feelings, our expression, our political frustration, our social disappointment and excitement, all those things we’re addressing…

“Power doesn’t really care if you’re talking about something you can’t impact. What got Dr. King killed? We’re talking about poor people’s problems. We’re talking about organizing poor folks together [and] realizing that we have far more in common than we don’t in terms of our needs and us being exploited by this disgusting system.”

Williams then passionately continued by elaborating on why joining forces with this bank was a must-do. He added: “This is the heart of the matter. We can march, we can be frustrated, we can demonstrate. But, if you don’t have any collective money, influence or power, you don’t have a voice and you can bark all you want outside. You ain’t getting inside because you don’t matter. You’re not a whole person, you’re not a whole community.”

The outspoken activist and thespian added: “This is a cultural expression. This is central to our liberation. Y’all want to talk about freedom. Why is it that they’ll let you talk about freedom on a picket line, but you can’t talk about it in terms of the halts of power? In terms of you being able to walk into four shops on your block or in your community and have somebody that looks like you, why are you buying milk and nobody that looks like you can sell you milk?

“Those days are dead. We’re not doing that anymore. So, that’s what this is about for me. For us,” he affirmed.

Williams also shared why he believes that Black businesses are always talked down upon and seen as taboo. “It is the beauty of the trap in terms of systematically consistently underserve, choke out, and suffocate Black resources in Black communities and Black businesses; that’s going to trickle down into their ability to be of service. In our communities, we clown our businesses, we joke about our quality of service and the way we handle stuff…” he started. “That comes from being able to be supported and being able to have overhead, and being able to have the luxury to afford to make mistakes…”

Williams then used the example of having a mother and father there to always support and help you when you need them in order to not fall. The activist used this metaphor to explain how many Black people who do talk down about Black businesses most likely feel when they hear about their peers taking the scary lead into ownership. He said, “We’re out here on our own often with no support, no generational access or income or exceptions…”

The star continued that those beliefs actually have very little to do with race. The issue is much more complex. Williams said: “Those negative qualities have nothing to do with Blackness. Those have to do with working on a shoestring budget or level of information and access. A lot of these things that we call Black culture are actually Black poverty culture — are actually Black underserved, disenfranchised culture…

“So, I think, generally, those stigmas are far more complicated than they are ethnic or cultural. As it relates to Black banks, I think it’s completely related… We are going to look at each other with a higher-level amplification in the magnifying glass. We have lower exceptions of each other – we do that with each other period, just socially…

“We’re more likely to beat on each other [and] talk about how we’re going to bang back at each other. You ain’t doing that to white people? You don’t mess with people who wear blue, but you don’t do nothing to cops? George Zimmerman is still walking around, but you’re about to tell some rapper he can’t come into your city.”

Williams concluded: “We are whitewashed. We deal with a lot of anti-Blackness that’s codified in our mentality and in our spirit. So, all of that weaves its way in here.”

Killer Mike has also partnered with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young as well as Bounce TV Founder Ryan Glover to launch Greenwood. Since he announced the digital bank last month, it’s already received tens of thousands of account requests and there is now also a waiting list.

Check out the new commercial for Greenwood bank below.


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