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As yesterday marked the end of Black History Month, many organizations will undoubtedly begin to pack up their MLK signage, fire DEI positions, and go back to operating business as usual. However, the culture’s favorite snack has other plans.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with the brains behind Rap Snacks about their origin story, community impact, a new investment app, and of course, their favorite flavor.
James Lindsay is from Philadelphia and a graduate of HBCU Cheyney University. While his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing aided his business acumen, James says Rap Snacks was actualized because of hard work, innovation, and dedication.
Expertise with a ‘dab’ of education goes a long way
“Education is a very big part” says James, the founder of Rap Snacks. “But to clarify, you have to become an expert in the business you enter. So you have to be well researched. You have to be more knowledgeable than the next person out there. So, education, for my part had [HBCU] schooling as the foundation. But what really helps you in business is being educated in your industry and becoming an expert in it.”
During the early years, James credits his market savvy, soaking up game, and establishing new distributor connections to gaining steam as a respected brand.
He explained, “I was the first one to create a Honey BBQ,” which remains his personal favorite flavor to date. “From doing my research, I knew BBQ was the number one flavor in the inner city. I knew I had to make a point of difference no one else had. If I would’ve come out with a regular BBQ, nobody would’ve touched it.”
With Rap Snacks flying off shelves from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Compton, California, James’ products are consistently one of the most sought after brands across the US. And when a new flavor drops, it’s big news in-store and online.
Rap Snacks did that so hopefully you won’t have to go through that
The Rap Snacks Foundation or BOSSUP, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Its most recent tech development called the StockBossUp App educates through an enhanced real-world experiential entrepreneurship program for young men, women and youth from under-resourced communities on financial literacy, start-up do’s and don’ts, ownership, and investments.
Though innovation is second-nature to many entrepreneurs, Black creativity often comes with a price many cannot afford in the beginning stages of building their empire.
James vividly remembers the difficulties starting a Black-owned business, saying, “The number one issue we have is capital opportunities.” With the StockBossUp App, he’s looking to change that.
President & CEO of The Rap Snacks BOSSUP Foundation, Wise Intelligent says, “Investing in the stock market was one of the things at the top of our list because we understand our community is represented in that space less than 2 percent.”
Wise, a fan of Lil Boosie’s Louisiana Heat, just ahead of Lil Durk’s Hot Crunchies, elaborated, “Encouraging young people to invest early and over the long term was our aim so we decided to develop a platform that functions like a social media community while giving you the tools to learn how to invest in the stock market.”
“We influence a lot of what happens on Wall Street,” affirms Wise. “In certain spaces, [Black Americans] are the number one consumer of some brands. We push a lot of currency into the market, a lot of influence is behind our dollars.”
James agreed, saying, “We’re trying to grab young kids from the community and provide them with the information and structure.”
Rap Snacks is the crunch of the culture
“We speak to our customers in a way that they’ve always wanted to be spoken to, but never have been,” said James.
“Becoming a producer rather than a consumer in the marketplace is something we feel very strongly about,” James continued. “You’re buying all this stuff everyday and consuming it, but yourself and the community don’t gain from it in any kind of way.”
Determined to do more than solely create flavor profiles to make your tongue do the griddy, James says representation on the bag is just as important as what’s inside.
“The only thing we had as Black people years ago was the Aunt Jemima boxes that didn’t represent us as positive role models, and we didn’t gain from it, all we were left with was the stigma.” Today, Offset is proof of the pride in positive representation.
Rap Snacks is rooting for everybody Black
As James and Wise have traveled across America on Rap Snacks business, they shared a bittersweet point of pride about their brand’s success coupled with the lack of other Black brands sitting beside them on snack shelves.
According to Wise, “We go to different retailers and distributors, we look on the shelves and there are 200-300 products but none are owned by us, except Rap Snacks.”
“How many products are we spending our money on without any of the money coming back to our community?” Wise states, “That’s one of the reasons James started the foundation to solve that problem and teach young people how to become manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of the things they consume.”
Speaking on Black Wall Street, Wise says, “All the businesses in the communities were Black owned, at least 90% of them during those times, but then the communities were desegregated and the lanes to business sustainability and growth were blocked.”
So how does StockBossUp work?
The StockBOSSUP App, is a social network to learn and gain insight on stocks, a feed of stock ideas that trends informative and performing members and filters out useless content, and a network to connect with and engage with investors across the world.
As a free digital stock market simulation where users can track the market in the present as they invest as much as $1 million in simulated funds into publicly traded companies, Stock Boss Up gives users the chance to see what it’s like to invest in the stock market without using their own money.
Users can gain new comprehension and facility in investment choices, establish networks of similarly motivated peers, and demonstrate the value of informed investment decisions in a fun, cooperative manner.
Their mission is to provide valuable insights that reflect both personal and the community’s understanding of the stock market while assuming no financial risk.
“We want to demystify the stock market in the global economy as a whole and for people to walk away with an understanding of how the mechanics of the economy work,” explains Wise.