Working With Family: How Matthew Kincaid And Dee Brown Are Building Generational Wealth By Employing Their Relatives

Left: Matthew Kincaid is the CEO, and Chief Consulting officer of Overcoming Racism. Right: Dee Brown is the President & CEO of The P3 Inc., and the president of Self Made TV.

The issue of generational wealth is rife with emotional, historical, and systemic implications. It is a class issue, a gender issue, and it is most certainly a race issue. In the United States, white people had a nearly 200-year head start on building generational wealth for their families over the Black community. Black people feel the blowback from this inequity that has persisted over centuries, and it affects their ability to establish wealth to this day.

There is likely no other venue where generational wealth disparity between Black and white is more apparent than in business. According to data collected in 2020, Black-owned companies still fall far below the level of white-owned businesses in the United States. This gap is true even in areas of the country with a high number of Black residents.

One way that white people have built generational wealth over two-and-a-half centuries is by employing family members. Businesses from Ford to Walmart have built massive empires and brought children and other relatives along for the ride. The wealth builds generation by generation as it is passed down, like a snowball rolling down a hill and building into an eventual avalanche.

Thanking Mom First

When taking on systems of oppression that keep black people from accessing generational wealth, it helps to have the support of family.

“My mom was the first person that I hired,” said Matthew Kincaid, who founded and runs Overcoming Racism, a firm that provides professional development and consultation services aiming to dismantle systemic oppression. Kincaid’s mother was a rock-solid support system in his family and was an easy choice to help him establish his organization.

“Growing up, it seemed like there was nothing my mother could not do professionally. She went back to school and got her degree. She studied hard and took rigorous tests to get financial advising licenses, and started her ascent in her field,” continued Kincaid.

Keeping things family-oriented for Overcoming Racism has allowed Kincaid to maintain a modicum of balance with his sometimes emotionally fraught work.

“We do a good job of holding each other accountable,” said Kincaid, “More times than we care to admit, we bump heads while telling each other something we need to hear, rather than something we want to hear. In the end, though, that is the reason I hired my mom. I knew that I could trust her, and I knew that she would always put my and the business’ interest first.”

The anti-racism work that Overcoming Racism does addresses the systemic lack of access to generational wealth that many black people experience. There was a misguided assumption of progress that existed after slavery ended, even though Jim Crow laws during the Civil Rights movement and the War on Drugs in the 1980s disproportionately targeted poor, black communities.

According to the Overcoming Racism website, the average white family’s wealth is an astonishing seven times greater than that of a black family’s. In addition, the median wealth of white households is ten times that of black households. Kincaid and his mother work together to dismantle the systems that got America to this place of gross inequality.

Kincaid counts watching his mother interact with younger people involved in Overcoming Racism as an added benefit of leading the team. “There is a reason why professional athletes often thank their mothers first in their speeches. There is nothing like having a strong mother cheer you on when you go into battle,” he said.

Taking on the issue of generational wealth with his mother by his side has given Kincaid a new perspective on his work. Together, they bring their experience and knowledge to the table in hopes that the next generation will experience the fruits of their labor.

All in the Family

Dee Brown is president and CEO of The P3 Group, the nation’s largest African-American public-private partnership real estate firm. In addition, he is the founder of the production company Dee Brown, Inc, the streaming channel Self Made TV, and a custom clothing line called Self Made Dee Brown CEO. In addition, Brown has a self-made tequila launching in the fall of 2022. He is also a father of six, and four of Brown’s six children work with him.

His son, Trevor, is the Chief Creative Director and actor for Self Made TV. His other son, Dee, is the President of Client Services, and his daughter, Venai is the Chief Creative Officer and actor for Self Made TV and Self Made Clothing.

“For me, I see it as grooming them for success,” explained Brown, “It provides me with the opportunity to help determine their future success.”

By building internationally-recognized brands and wearing multiple hats in the entrepreneurial sphere, Brown has diversified his income streams many times over. He also devised succession plans to pass his businesses, and the wealth they built, down to his children and grandchildren.

Paving the Way for Generational Success

As of 2021, Black-owned businesses in the United States employ over 900,000 people. Still, the racial funding gap for new business ventures remains constant. Statistics from the Federal Reserve show that while 80% of white-owned businesses receive at least a part of the funding they seek from banks, it drops to 66% for Black-owned businesses. They also receive less funding overall and at higher interest rates.

Overcoming the racial disparity in business will not happen overnight. Business owners like Brown and Kincaid are well aware of Black entrepreneurs’ uphill battle. However, by taking a page out of history and establishing family business ventures, they are making their chances of building generational wealth far better than those who strike out alone.

Multiple studies show that family-owned and operated companies fare better than their non-family-owned counterparts. Family ownership and involvement can vary across the businesses, but all signs point to getting family involved in a business can lead to success. One of the biggest reasons for this is the commitment to building a legacy for the generations to come.

For Dee Brown, establishing businesses that allow his kids to work with him and help grow generational wealth is a very “bloom where you are planted” approach.

“You can be a good seed, but if you are planted in bad soil you will not grow,” he told Medium.

By fostering his adult children’s careers within the rich “soil” of his business empire, Brown is enjoying the fruits of his labor as the “good seeds” thrive.

“This is relevant to me because I grew up in an area where I was surrounded by poverty and a lack of opportunity. I was in bad soil. I had to make a decision to leave and surround myself with like-minded individuals. I had to plant myself in good soil.”

The structure of a supportive family dedicated to a common goal can also be just the “good soil” needed for ideas to grow, become profitable businesses, and lead to the establishment of generational wealth.

Written in partnership with Ascend