Dynamic power couple, Jay and Ernestine Morrison, are creating an unprecedented opportunity for generational wealth in the black community. Through financial literacy and a black owned crowd fund, the Morrisons equip everyday citizens with the tools and knowledge to become investors.
As an accomplished poet, Ernestine Morrison emphasizes financial enlightenment in many of her works. She’s been featured on albums such as Cyhi The Prynce’s No Dope On Sundays, depicting an idealistic society of discrimination-free prosperity. In the song “Nu Africa,” she preaches the African diaspora’s return to “beaches filled with blue sky and white sand. We’d all own a piece of the rock, a piece of the land.“
Jay Morrison, popularly known as “Mr. Real Estate,” is a celebrity real estate investor. He handles multi-million dollar investment portfolios. Through his experiences in the finance industry, he says “I’ve always seen that the black community was boxed out of the industry. We never get the best deals. We always had to go to the Jewish community, an Italian guy, or some hard money lender to get capital. I always wanted to be in a position where we could control our own dollars. We could be our own bank.”
The prejudice from lenders gave Jay the fuel he needed to create change.
“During a panel I was on with Tamika Mallory, Marc Lamont-Hill and others for BET, they asked what are solutions for our community? One of the attendees of this panel said, ‘We need to build a Black Wallstreet.’ I was saying ‘It sounds cool but how does that look? How do you really build a Black Wall Street? Not just buy buildings but how do you also repair the people?’”
Jay used the legacy of Black Wall Street, established in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as his inspiration for financial empowerment in the black community. He employed concepts of group economics to design a crowd fund under the name Tulsa Real Estate Fund. The purpose of the investment vehicle is “to be intentional about building generational wealth. When you invest in the Tulsa Real Estate Fund you’re getting a return on your investment. You’re building wealth for yourself and for your family. You’re a shareholder. You’re an equity holder. You have ownership.”
Together, the Morrison’s work to promote the ideals behind Black Wall Street and increase participation in the fund to repair damaged communities.
“It does mean so much to us, the legacy and example of Black Wall Street. Just 40 years after our enslavement, we built a self-sustaining community of over 36 square-blocks of over 2,000 homes and businesses that were controlled by us, that was bombed and burned down on June 1st of 1921.”
Within the first month of the offering, the fund has raised $12 million from investors. Most recently, the Morrison’s have put in a $1 million cash offer for the acquisition of the original Black Wallstreet buildings in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 101 and 102 Greenwood St.
“We did over 2.5 years of research and development. Over hundreds of thousands of dollars invested, sweat equity, time and all that to pull it off. How many of us are willing to sacrifice 2.5 years of making no money and not even knowing that it’s going to work? You have to believe in your vision.”
The newlyweds are using this fund to rebuild undervalued neighborhoods across America. They want to prevent gentrification of these communities and provide affordable housing without displacing the residents.
“We’ve all seen it in Atlanta, Jersey City, Newark, LA, Miami and others. We’re getting pushed out of our neighborhoods and developers and other communities are taking over. We do want to be able to provide affordable housing to some of our neighborhoods. Look at us doing something together. Not just talking about it but being about it.”