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Five Reasons Why Culture is Capital

Written by: Brandon L. Washington (@_b.wash)
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The Black Twitter world has exorbitantly coined the phrase “For The Culture” to much of its own benefit. Ideologically, the phrase has affluent relevance to all things cultural to African-Americans and provides itself as a source of agency for black folk to operate/navigate. It is used as a sense of pride for many and as a way to acknowledge black people’s contributions to what we create. But what does this phrase really mean and why should we actually hold more stake in its significance?

Definitions Please:

  1. Culture- the social behavior and norms found in human societies.
  2. Capital- wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization or available or contributed for a particular purpose such as starting a company or investing.



Culture is extremely volatile yet intangible and unfortunately, you can not file a patent on it. African-Americans have traditionally created some of the worlds trendiest fashion, music, intellectual property, technology, dances, and that’s not an exhaustive list. Yet when we examine the equity of the “Return on Investment”(ROI) in the form of capital…it is abysmal! From the advent of YouTube and how Soulja Boy essentially single-handedly legitimized how the tycoon platform is used for up and coming artist + creators (Google should cut Big Soulja a check for a billi…no cap) to the umpteen amounts of craze dances created that go viral daily, the level of ROI is merely non-existent. This epidemic of capitalistic castration has kept many influencers and creators out of the decision-making rooms and this topic shouldn’t remain unscathed.

In that same breath, here are “Five Reasons Why Culture is Capital”:

1. Cultural appropriation usually leads to a financial beneficiary who typically isn’t the creator(s)
2. We live in a capitalistic society and culture creates trillions of dollars in revenue typically w/o zero overhead
3. From culture, many technological and social inventions are created which generates capital
4. Culture has no cap…literally and figuratively
5. Two words: Hip-Hop (no need for explanation)

So with all this being said, where do we go from here? Understanding and acknowledgment. If you are in a decision-making position + benefit from the intellectual property of “The Culture” you have a responsibility and duty to make sure those who create receive their due(s). It’s a mutual “self-fulfilling prophecy” and everyone can win. Let’s Be Equitable!


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