The New Orleans-bread self-made music tycoon gained fame in the mid-90s as the founder of No Limit Records and today stands as a legend that has established himself as a philanthropist, entrepreneur, actor, and hip-hop icon.
Romeo, whom his father sources as the catalyst that motivated him to strive for a better life, has been right by his father’s side and shares much of the same business acumen and ambition as his iconic dad. One thing is for sure when it comes to wealth; the Millers make sure, it’s a family affair.
In promotion of The Keys to Black Wealth Virtual Summit, they were keynoting, the duo spoke with BlackLove.com and dropped major gems as they discussed generational wealth and entrepreneurship. The summit aimed to supply the tools to help close the racial wealth gap and educate attendees on building a lasting legacy within the Black community.
BlackLove.com: In light of brands such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s changing their name and image—which we know are built on racial stereotypes, you used the opportunity to create and release Uncle P’s. Your brand of rice, pancake mix, and syrup. How do you manage to stay ten steps ahead of the game?
Romeo Miller: This is something he’s been talking about before [it] came to life. My pops [and I were] at Bible study one day, and he said, “I’ve been researching, and I was disappointed that [brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s] have people [on the box] that look like us, but they aren’t the owners.” I think this was maybe six or seven months ago, and it came to life at the same time when the information was released to the world.
Master P: The most important thing about it, like Romeo said, is that’s how God works. Me and my partner, James Lindsay, came together and wanted to make sure that we’re [adequately] portrayed in the food [industry]. Our people have been afraid to go up against the big companies. For us, this product is what our people need. We’ve been buying these products for over 131 years, but we’ve never brought them from us. That’s why I tell my people if you’re going to buy a product from them, why not buy it from us because we’re going to put money back into the community because the more we make, the more we give.
When me and Romeo talk about wealth, we’re not talking about getting rich overnight, because wealth comes with wisdom, and education is the most important thing. When we pray at night, we pray for wisdom. We don’t pray for money. If you have wisdom, all those other things are going to come. It took us months to build this brand and to have it ready now [shows] that God is always on time.
BL.com: Master P, you’re a household name. You’ve built your empire from scratch. What would be the first steps in building generational wealth in the Black community when many don’t have the finances, foundational knowledge, or connections?
MP: People build wealth without money. Start with credit. You need to invest in yourself because you are your best asset. You don’t need money to buy things, and you don’t need money to create a business, but you do need credit. People always say ‘your word is bond,’ that’s what they say in the hood. So you should be able to stand on your name.
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BL.com: Over the years, we’ve seen other rappers, athletes, and entertainers, come on the scene, make millions, leave the game, then file for bankruptcy. What did you both do early on to set yourself and your family up for success?
MP: I diversified my portfolio because people always tell you to be great at one thing. I’m saying, no, be great at one thing but be good at a lot of different things. If you notice, we have a tennis shoe company, a clothing company, and a music business. All these things go together. We have an entertainment business. I started as a basketball player, but when I became hurt, I entered the music business. You never know how life will go, so you have to prepare for a rainy day. That’s been the key to my success.
The second thing is if you want to have sustainability in business, once you receive some money, don’t be afraid to invest. The next thing my son and I are looking at is how do we now take companies public. It all goes back to education. I never built my business on the money. I built it [my business] on wisdom and education. I’m continually educating myself because it is so important. Technology is changing every year [and] product outweighs talent. People believe they’re going to be a talent forever, but no, you are going to get older.
RM: Diversity is big for me. That is why I put my career on hold to get my education; you have to learn the business side. I realized that every child star’s fame goes away. Fame is literally a business. People outgrow businesses, or sometimes businesses can go up or down. For me, it was about learning the behind the scenes side and getting my education played a big part in that. Regardless of whether you go to college or are at home, self-educating yourself, it’s so many ways that you can get all the tools that you need.
BL.com: Romeo, many of us have watched you grow up from your first hit “My Baby,” to heading off to USC with a basketball scholarship, and now being a young and successful entrepreneur. What pressure, if any, did you face being Master P’s son? And how were you able to pave your own path?
RM: People feel if you come from a successful family or you have a successful parent, that it equals your success. The truth of the matter is, that’s not the case. A lot of kids that come from a successful family don’t have their own success. For me, it was just about being myself. As a kid, I knew my dad was Master P, and he was this icon, and this mogul, and I looked up to him but never wanted to [literally] become him; it’s impossible to be anything other than yourself, and that’s what a lot of people forget. Comparison is the thief of joy.
There’s never going to be another Master P on the planet. Just like there’s never going to be another Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. But you have to use these icons as inspiration, and that’s what I did with my dad. He provided me with great life lessons. He taught me a lot about obedience, and [I knew that] if I use the gems that he’s given me, I would make something of myself and become the best version of myself as well. My dad did it his way, and I’m doing it my way.
BL.com: What books do you both recommend on wealth building or entrepreneurship that have impacted your life?
MP: The Art of War. A good soldier prepares for war in times of peace.
RM: One of my favorite books is The Warrior of the Light.
BL.com: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly affected our community, what advice do you have for Black entrepreneurs? What can we do to sustain our businesses and livelihood during a time when so much is on pause?
MP: Health is wealth; you have to take care of yourself first. That’s more important than anything because having a great immune system is what’s going to keep you around. You want to make all of this money, but if you’re not healthy, you’re not going to be able to enjoy it, and you can’t take it with you. There are two things I’m telling people in 2020, get tested [for COVID-19], and be prepared to vote! That’s what we need to do.
For more information and to view a recording of the Keys to Black Wealth Virtual Summit, please visit www.keystoblackwealth.com.