Raphael Wright: For the Culture.

28 year old Raphael Wright is making major play moves and noise in the city of Detroit. If you haven’t heard of him, let me give you some insight. Raphael Wright is a Detroit Native who was born, raised, and still resides in Detroit today. He’s the CEO and Co-Founder of Urban Plug L3C. He also has his own company called Plug’d media, which is a hip hop media outlet that distributes and publishes books, music, art, film, apparel, and interactive media.
Wright decided to launch a go fund me project to purchase and open a Black owned and operated Grocery store on the Eastside of Detroit a little under a year ago. His goal is to rebuild the Black economy, and as he stated, in order to do so we (Black people) must invest in our needs. “Every community needs a grocery store and to see most of our communities in Detroit without a viable grocery store is driving my passion.”

Wright isn’t only an Activist, Father, Entrepreneur, and CEO with a plan for a local grocery store, but he’s also a well read author. Wright’s favorite authors are Robert Greene and Nicolo Machiavelli. Wright wrote a book titled “How 2 hustle,” and he also has a new book titled “Wealth.” His passion for teaching the black community how to become financially stable and wealthy is due to his experiences around other cultures and how money is obtained and operated between them. Wright is making it his duty to give Black people the financial game.
It’s s always interesting to know how far people have grown and developed as far as their mindset from youth to adulthood. Raphael is no different. He stated that in his youth, he was all about himself, because that is what he was taught- much like most of us. As he began to learn and experience more, he realized that what affects one of us affects all of us. He has been strengthening and building the community ever since then.
He stated “As time and life happened, I realized the power of unity and community strength.” When asked about his struggles, he explained that he struggles with changing the culture and indulging in the vices of the current culture. He wants to find a balance between the two. Wright is supported by many, and finds his strength when struggling from within himself. It sounds to me like Wright is in touch with multiple levels of consciousness.
Even though Wright has a busy schedule, he still finds the time and energy to continue to work with Detroit’s male youth. He plans on creating more formal programs to continue his leadership work. In the words of Wright: “Leaders have to build leaders.”
I asked Mr. Wright who his favorite Black activist was, and if he could hold a conversation with one Activist from the past or present who would that person be? It didn’t surprise me that a young Black man with so much drive, resilience, and knowledge selected Malcolm X as his favorite Activist and Marcus Garvey as the Activist to hold a conversation with. In our history those are two very important figures that made their stance clear and concise, yet don’t get the credit they deserve.
It’s very rewarding to be able to come in contact with people like Raphael Wright. He has goals and plans for the community that he is putting into action all while remaining human. He didn’t mind telling Let’s Talk Rae Style about his struggles with our current culture while teaching and living within a new culture. We all indulge in some things that may be frowned upon, but it’s always important to remember that we created a culture because our original culture was stripped from us. So, it’s perfectly okay to blend the current with the new. We as an ethnic group are constantly growing, changing, developing, setting new standards, and breaking barriers.
Let’s Talk Rae Style would like to thank Raphael Wright for his interview and for his contributions to the culture and community.
To learn more about Mr. Wright and his publications please visit his site www.rafawright.com and to contribute to his Go Fund Me account visit www.gofundme.com/starting-a-community-grocery-store

Ashley Rae: You launched your go fund me account a few months shy of a year ago for a Black owned and operated grocery store. At what point in your life did you realize the community’s lack of governing our own food source was a problem? 

Raphael: I realized how important us controlling our own food was when I dedicated myself to social entrepreneurship. We as a people will never build an economy without investing in our needs (food, banking, medicine). Every community needs a grocery store and to see most of our communities in Detroit without a viable grocery store is driving my passion.

Ashley Rae: What made you decide to focus on uplifting and informing the Black community financially?

Raphael: I’ve been exposed to so much when it comes to money while engaging with so many groups of people that I know our race is hustling backwards. So, I’m making it my duty to give our people the game.

Ashley Rae: Who’s your favorite writer/author and favorite Black activist? 

Raphael: My favorite authors are Nicolo Machiavelli and Robert Greene. My favorite black activist is Malcolm X. 

Ashley Rae: Do you feel like our parents’ generation dropped the ball in some ways? Particularly on informing us about how the world really operates, how we’re viewed as Black people, and on the matter of finances. Do you think they lacked the knowledge as well?

Raphael: I don’t think our parents had the knowledge or tools to teach us how to become wealthy and maintain our wealth. Our generation was taught to play it safe, that entrepreneurship was for dummies because school was more important, and that we shouldn’t support one another. We now know the real because we’ve experienced things these past 10+ years that’s showing us what direction we need to go in. 

Ashley Rae: Have you always had the desire to bring love and unity into the community or did it progress over time?

Raphael: In the past, I only worried about myself because that was the mentality I was taught. As time and life happened, I realized the power of unity and community strength. There can’t be only one man on top. The community has to be on top. 

Ashley Rae: We all have ups and downs especially as artists. Who do you call on other than God when you need to be motivated and recharged?

Raphael: Most of my motivation comes from within or indirectly from me watching other people win, especially from an entrepreneurial sense. When I see people I know winning, it automatically pulls me in place when I’m down. 

Ashley Rae: Who’s your number one supporter?

Raphael: I don’t know! I get love from a lot of places. Plus, there’s too many people who will say they’re my number one supporter so I’ll exercise my fifth amendment right. 

Ashley Rae: When you were a kid, did you need someone like the adult version of you to speak with for guidance? 

Raphael: No. The closest mentor I had was my older brother but that was all indirect. Nobody really pulled me in as a child or teenager. 

Ashley Rae: What struggles are you or have you faced on your journey to serve the greater good, and as a writer? Have you always been as woke as you are today? 

Raphael: I’m stuck between changing the culture and indulging in the vices of the culture. I’m woke being that I know the game but I’m human enough to admit I’m still with much of the ratchetness that we embrace. My struggle is finding a balance where it all makes sense. 

Ashley Rae: Have you ever considered starting a program for young Black men in an initiative to help them progress and develop in life and also within the careers of their choice?

Raphael: I work directly with the youth, particularly males all the time. I’ve created a few formal programs in the past and have plans on continuing that work. Leaders have to build other leaders so that’s one of my real passions.

Ashley Rae: If you could have a conversation with one Activist past or present who would it be and why? 

Raphael: I would love to speak to Marcus Garvey because he’s the first person that comes to mind when it comes to unapologetic blackness. I would love that conversation.

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