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Brittany Michelle 


Kellie O' Brien

NaNa Love                 

Cognitive scope can fluctuate over various time frames and is shaped by surroundings or intentional efforts. The beauty in this mental process lies in treating it as a creative instrument for exploring perspectives.

Ray Bans: If it didn't go exactly as planned, that doesn't mean that your plan isn’t good. It means that you may have to find a different approach.

Ray Bans, musician, owner of Bans Bundles and manager of Foreign Family Clothing, finds herself in a balanced state where she senses when to focus, and when to expand her attention. This feeling allows her purpose to ripple through all that she does.

Ray Bans: Every action we take must have a purpose, whether it’s to help others or achieve our goals. When you try to do things by yourself, you are going to be limited to how much you can do. Everyone has a life outside of their business. Whether it’s children, work, whatever it is, you literally can only do so much as one individual.

I feel like what helps me be able to be organized, a lot involves a team. Everyone has their own roles in exactly what they do, and then when someone cannot attend or help with something, there is a person for each person that helps pick up the slack for those days. I feel like that has a lot to do with it.

How do you feel creativity and optimism is important to promote to our generation?

Ray Bans: I believe creativity and optimism are essential for longevity. I feel like you need both to keep both. Everything is in a constant state of change, and we have to adapt with the times. It’s like what we do with our business. If we do not continuously adapt to how things are going, we may find ourselves falling behind. So both, creativity and optimism are highly important.

Ray Bans speaks about how she went from nursing school to obtaining her degree in liberal studies. During Liberal Arts School, she watched a women’s history film that motivated her. Then eventually opened The Foreign Family Clothing Store with her family.

Ray Bans: I went to college for nursing after high school but I started to deviate from my academic path once I got into the business side of things with my family. We fully committed to our clothing business, which played a big part in my decision to take a break from school.

We successfully opened 4 store locations, my favorite was our Foreign Family Clothing Store in Fairfield. It was spacious and allowed us to do more than sell clothes. Being able to see everything that you have done, all of your hard work pay off, it exposed us to what we were capable of.

I felt like I spent a lot of time at school so last year I decided to go back to finish, I switched my major to liberal studies. Close to the time for me to graduate, I watched a women's history film. The film showcased a diverse range of rich and successful women, the showed a variety of rich women, there was only one black woman featured. Her success served as a source of motivation for me.

It is impressive how you all were able to transition from one Foreign Family Clothing Store location to the next, despite the closure of certain places. That had to take a certain level of thought.

Ray Bans: Between my team and me, we had around 4 to 5 long meetings to discuss the decision of closing our Foreign Family location in Fairfield. Each person had to provide valid reasons as to why we should or shouldn't close that clothing store. In these meetings, no one person’s opinion is above another. By the end of the meetings, we all seemed to be on the same page.

I realized that perception plays a role in how we interpret things. Some of us took the decision to heart because that first Foreign Family store in Fairfield was our baby, that’s what we started with. However, we had to consider the reasons behind our initial decision. Holding onto a store without a clear purpose doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand, not having that store opened up new opportunities to everyone to explore different business ventures. We all just had to start as a family. So I feel like it was a brighter side to it so instead of us looking at it, i feel like it opened up our eyes more. Looking at it this way, I’m proud that we closed the location and started a better business.

Optic flow is how we perceive people or objects in motion as we ourselves move. Ray Bans and her family gained insight by observing movement patterns during certain times when making decisions about store front locations.

Ray Bans: When selecting a store location, it takes effort. We thoroughly examine potential sites for about a month, including weekdays and weekends. Especially the weekdays, to make sure the foot traffic is consistent. You won’t know how a location would do without staking it out first. It could be fine one day in the area that your store is located and then the rest of the days it could be terrible. Foot traffic and location is how we figure out how to move forward.

How does your brand promote equality?

Ray Bans: We usually organize a series of shows called Soulful Sundays. We hosted these at our previous location in Fairfield, California, situated within a mall. Our store, at the time, had a huge area in the back that we transformed into a stage. These shows, known as Soulful Sundays, provided a platform for upcoming artists to perform with me and my family. The artists would perform alongside myself and my brother, Foreign Glizzy.

We took on the responsibility of funding the event. Artists would message us to let us know that they wanted to perform. We carefully selected around 10-11 artists to be a part of the show. Soulful Sundays gives us a chance to hear music from upcoming artists, even collaborate with them. This was a way for us to give back to the community. Since people would come to watch the performances, it benefited both the artists and our business. It worked out on both ends.

In music, have you experienced a moment that sparked an idea for a song bar?

Ray Bans: Absolutely. Situations I've encountered, possessions I have or plan to get, personal goals have all put me in a creative space to write lyrics. My music is diverse, including my "Do What I Want" album, which features Hip Hop tracks, as well as some R&B music and even more upbeat songs that I collaborated on with Even Rights.

During our interview with Ray Bans, she spoke about songwriting. On several occasions she was able to broaden and narrow her cognitive scope during the creative process.

Ray Bans: Sometimes I would start writing, or I would get an idea without having a beat yet. After I write it down I would see if I could come up with a couple more bars. In the recording studio, I would blend in something that I wrote previously with something that I just created.

How were the names "Foreign Family" and "Ray Bans" created?

Ray Bans: The name "Foreign Family" was not specifically created by us, but rather by people from our hometown who knew us. We all owned foreign cars for as long as I can remember, and they started referring to us as "Foreign Family" due to our shared connection with these cars and the fact that we are family.

As for my musician name, "Ray Bans," it came from my family nickname, "Ray Ray," and them saying I had money or "bands" on me. My family would often joke about holding some of my money.

What was the emotional process like going from one level to the next?

Ray Bans: You almost have to have an inner fight with yourself to make sure you remain positive. When leveling up, there is always a risk involved, regardless of the situation. I have learned to focus more on my own actions and not to become preoccupied with what other people think.

Your current situation is not always what it will play out to be. You have to have faith in what is coming ahead. Even though it may not look good, even though it may not seem good, even though it may seem like everything is going left, sometimes your situation is walking you into where you are supposed to be.

Discriminatory financial practices like redlining and predatory lending can lead people to see an ample world through a narrow lens, emphasizing the need for divergent thinking. Some institutions, grappling with profitability concerns, engage in unethical policies and use psychological priming to influence people’s behavior and financial choices.

Deception behind policy text can contribute to an environment that is more susceptible to distrust and economic crime.

It’s a troubling art to skillfully shape hope and fear with bad ink. Persistence in creative thinking and financial education safeguards against emotional manipulation in finance. It can reduce involvement in what Anthony Walker, author of B is for Black Wealth, calls the Game of Extraction.

Anthony: If we surveyed our lives, we would see, a lot of it is a game of extraction. I believe that prison is the backbone of that game. When an area is depressed, that’s when they get a bunch of prison labor for free. I don’t want to say it keeps the economy afloat because I believe in my heart that it isn’t the best way to make an economy thrive. However, that’s what they are doing, extracting our labor. A lot of it at scale.

This game of extraction is detrimental to us as humans and the economy overall. We will all have to pay a price for the decisions that we make and our involvement in that system. It’s ugly and we need to recognize that a lot of times we are being used for our labor to continue to be extracted from. At times, I wonder if things could get worse than the crack era. While part of me believes the worst is behind us, another part feels like certain institutions are finding more ways.

How do you feel creativity and optimism is important to our generation?

Anthony: Identifying and unlocking our creativity is vital to personal growth and finding our purpose. I believe that people are made in the image of God (The Creator), and therefore, we have an intrinsic need to create and bring new things into existence. This question is powerful because I never saw myself as creative until I received the first completed copy of my book, B is For Black Wealth.

Since then, my life has been transformed because I now recognize my inherent need to create, and creativity infuses my daily life. To me, optimism is what keeps life light and joyous. Expecting things to go as they should is a tool for a more fulfilled life. Optimism helps us overcome anxiety, relieves stress, and increases the chances of achieving what we wish.

Overcoming systemic challenges for minorities and fostering social responsibility among financial institutions is challenging to achieve. Anthony is making progress in that direction.

Anthony: I’m an author, educator and entrepreneur. I have a curriculum called A Guide to Enter Generational Wealth based on the book B is for Black Wealth. It is a curriculum designed for adults and children to do together similar to the book. It helps them create an identity around money making, as individuals and as a collective family. It also gives them concrete and solid strategies, in order to become effective investors.

I teach curriculum, conduct workshops, and have a clothing brand called Finance Friday. We will be launching a new line in the fall. The ideas expressed on our merchandise are phrases such as, Black Wealth, Pay Yourself First, Love is Currency, and Buy Land.

Regarding certain locations being marked hazardous areas in practices such as redlining, we asked Anthony for his thoughts. The color-coded maps produced by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in the 1930’s explicitly categorized certain neighborhoods as high risk and ineligible for loans or insurance.

Anthony: Some people say that it is an economic strategy to depress one area or one group of people so then you could extract resources out of them in another way. I think that’s true. When an area becomes sufficiently depressed, it is often those who end up being sent to jail when they commit crimes to try to earn money. In jail, they are pretty much forced to work for pennies on the dollar. That is how labor is extracted.

The redlining policy was put into play in the 1930’s and later outlawed by the fair housing act in 1968. Despite some improvements, the lasting effects from redlining persist, directly impacting the ongoing uneven distribution of resources that still exist today.

Anthony: It stole a lot of wealth from black families and created a social system that we all dealt with the effects of, in the creation of what we consider the ghetto. That had a deep impact. It started out as an economic impact, but it turned into social impact as well. Some of that stuff honestly, is irreversible, and there is nothing we can do about what was lost.

Anthony emphasizes allocating attention to both alternate solutions and reparations instead of solely focusing on one.

Anthony: It’s a both-end thing, we shouldn’t be ignoring one for the other. I think that reparations is a legitimate argument and conversation that we should be having. There are people really organizing towards that end. I see some momentum in California, it may not happen nationwide, it might.

Most money is moved based on governmental policies, so we need individuals working on governmental policies with an economic lens, which is a real need for black folks. With that said, there are small things that we can do as individuals to improve our personal lives and our community’s financial well being. So for me, it’s a both-end thing. It's not about choosing one or the other.

Nothing is guaranteed, but we need people working on all fronts. I know it feels like we might be spread thin or giving too much energy for one thing or another, but the truth is we should all be aware of what people are doing on different fronts. We should be aware of the reparations and support that work, even if we are not directly involved. We have to be excellent on our end and in the areas we are working.

I appreciate the fact that we are getting some education around it in this generation and trying to hold people accountable for recompense, you know, as far as reparations and things like that are concerned. It’s a conversation that’s been brewing in California. I’m glad we are starting to make progress towards reparations from some of those shady practices.

Anthony touches on a few of the topics in his book that could help people take a creative approach towards reversing damages that were caused.

Anthony: B is for Black Wealth was written for children but it was actually intended for adults and children to read together. It gives us an opportunity to catch our young folks, young. By doing so, we can be prepared and become specialists when it comes to the idea of business for the next generation.

If we could get one million more of these books out into the world, that is one million more of our children that are educated, in a way that honestly, puts them ahead. Reading and understanding my book would give you more knowledge about business, finance, and entrepreneurship than ninety percent of the population. It's about executing on the information provided.

The way the book is written, gives parents that may not be the most educated on these topics, the opportunity to learn, within the construct of the book. So they are teaching and learning at the same time.

I don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel. There are existing structures and opportunities in place that we can utilize. Simple things like growing our own food, that is an opportunity for economic empowerment for ourselves and for our community.

Creating our own businesses and making them vertically integrated as much as possible, involving our people , allowing them to eat and to win off of those businesses. These are some of the ideas I hope people pull from the book I wrote.

How does B is for Black Wealth explore community development and economic empowerment?

Anthony: B is for Black Wealth differs from other financial and economic writings by its community focused approach prioritizing the collective over the individual. Often, we focus on individuals when we talk about finances, but I don't think that works for black folks. Throughout history, we've utilized a collectivist mindset in order to achieve any of the success that we have achieved so I think that, that’s the same way we have to approach economics.

That is something unique that we bring to the world of economics and finances. From a ground level, we are dependent on each other and have been interdependent. I hope we don’t lose that as we gain more economic mobility and education. We can’t be so smart that we forget the principles that brought us to where we are today.

How can we strengthen the curriculum of schools with more life awareness skills and strategies?

The way to strengthen curriculum within schools is to create it ourselves. Schools are very bureaucratic and are in desperate need of a community and outside programs help to do what they are not agile enough to do. Individuals, businesses and community members are all responsible for creating opportunities for students to learn in and out of the classroom.

We should focus on our child's financial future, we all care about it on some level. I think sometimes we just don’t realize we have the power to change their situation over the course of a generation but a generation is a long time. A lot can change in 30 years, even though we are not in a position to do for our children financially, or we don’t really see a way out of the condition we are in right now, I think that through education and implementation over time our children could really see a much brighter financial future than we had. The information is part of the foundation for sure.

Focus on ownership of creative work.

Anthony: I think creativity is absolutely important, and that’s one of the things we have continued to be successful through. Now, it’s important that we focus on ownership of our creativity going forward because we miss a lot of opportunities. In Black History Month, we talk about all the inventions black folks had, but we never talk about the families that own the rights to those inventions.

Take Hip Hop, for example. We know that it has been hugely influential. Yes, some black folks got rich from it, there are also many people outside of our communities who enriched themselves off of Hip Hop as well due to a lack of understanding about ownership. We are starting to understand that concept, and I think it is super important that we start to create with the idea of ownership in mind. So, when it comes to creativity, that is a big part of the conversation for me at this moment.

How hard is it to stay creative and what would you say to somebody experiencing this same issue?

Anthony: I think that it is oftentimes hard to produce a quality finished product but I think creativity is as natural as breathing. I think the problem is we live in a world where we are pressured to produce but quality art takes time, it takes a level of discomfort, frustration, disappointment, joy, love and laughter to produce beautiful things that are useful to others. I think we are most creative when we don't allow outside pressure to dictate our expression. Expression is ever present and so is creativity production is cyclical. It is important to let production run its course but keep our creativity at the forefront.

True beauty and true art comes from expressing what is inside of us. The more we focus on the inner person, the better we can be at expressing at a high level and expressing things that are actually beneficial to us as people. The more that we let our inner person get beat up and shrunk, depressed and depreciated and all those things, the more that our art will reflect that. It might be beautiful, but it’s not going to help us grow, because it will come from a place of lack instead of a place of abundance, a place of love.

Would you support the bill to eliminate private prisons?

Absolutely, I don’t believe that anybody should profit off of human suffering.

How have you overcome a trial and tribulation as a company using creativity and optimism?

Anthony: As a Black-owned business that started during the pandemic, funding has always been the biggest obstacle to obtaining my short term goals. One of the ways that my business has overcome that struggle and moved further along at a respectable pace is by partnering with others. I partnered with family friends to publish my book, I partnered with a seasoned educator to create a curriculum based on the book, and I partnered with family members to obtain trademarks for my clothing brand and most recently to secure some family land.

All of these partnerships were forged by finding creative ways for many people to benefit financially from one idea or action. Therefore, instead of having to hire and pay a lot of other people big money to bring my visions to life I partnered with people and lightened my load up front in order to share profits on the backend. To me all of these situations required a lot of unselfishness, creativity, trust and teamwork and all of them have helped many people reap great benefits.

It is also important for me to state that during that time I had many failed partnerships because nothing in business is guaranteed. This is why it takes courage and optimism to continue to trust and build with other people when the truth is it doesn't always work.

If you could have done three things differently, earlier, or better while building your brand, what would they be?

Anthony: I wouldn’t change much. Setbacks have given me a level of clarity that is only earned by going through the fire. With that said, I believe all early stage businesses need to keep good financial records, get a bookkeeper and a quality tax person as early in the game as you can, it will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

Will equality be something your brand will promote after this blog/interview?

Anthony: The core of my brand is about creating opportunities for Black people to thrive economically. My goal is to continue to strive for a better financial future for Black people, and if I am being honest, what is good for Black people is typically good for all people and creates a much more equitable society. So, my short answer is yes.

Love is Currency. When we focus on love we will create more organically, we will become more optimistic, we will give more freely and we will see each other as equals.

Names of your business partners and any necessary components to operate your brand.

Anthony: One of my biggest goals is for my business to be able to operate independently of me. Right now, most of my business processes involve me doing the work. I order, market, sell and send my books. I do have a really powerful team of people that work on other aspects of my business, but my goal is to continue to scale while also letting go of some of the day-to-day operations.


EvenRights is a platform where we seek people from all walks of life, to find as many answers as possible.

We asked Mike “C-Roc” Ciorrocco, Co-Founder of the innovative tech platform Blooprinted, powerhost of “What Are You Made Of?” podcast, and the bestselling author of Rocket Fuel, how do you feel creativity and optimism is important to our generation?

Creativity is everything because if you are not causing or creating your own future, you will remain stuck. Most people on this planet are drifting, going through the motions and allowing others to create their future for them. I think creativity and optimism go hand in hand because the more you can create yourself, create your own universe, the more optimistic you will be.

Efforts to consistently convert mental energy into a more productive form can help overcome trials and tribulations. C-Roc discusses an imaginative approach that anyone can use to transform difficult situations into energy that could thrust them forward towards their dreams.

I wrote a book called Rocket Fuel. The primary concept, or law, from that book is to take everything that comes your way that would stop, discourage, or slow down a normal person and store it in your fuel tank instead of your trunk, where most people keep it. Most people tend to hold on to all the negative things that come their way, letting them weigh them down, and slow them down, by keeping them in their trunk. I decide to store them in my fuel tank instead, where I can convert it into rocket fuel to become unstoppable.

I collect data from situations to learn from it so that I can advance in the future.

Does our natural ability to create and our shared ability to access optimism make us equal in some ways?

I believe that we are all born equal, into this world with creativity and optimism. However, as we go through life, we can accumulate layers that cover up our creative abilities. These layers could come from the let downs that we have, and discouragements that we face from people.

We all need to understand that the better everyone does, the better it is for everyone. Therefore, when people do not wish the best for each and every person, regardless of their identity, they are actually hurting themselves.

Similar to enhancing the performance of a rocket propelling, our creative output and optimism can also be enhanced. Removing layers that may weigh down our creative performance, will get us closer to the space of innovation and discovery.

We encounter challenges throughout life, it could be with people or decisions we make. These challenges start to camouflage our creativity and optimism. As we drift through life, we start to wake up and get tired of living without optimism and creativity.

We might suddenly realize and say to ourselves, “Wait a minute, I used to be creative, I used to be optimistic. What happened?” It is up to us to peel back those layers, to get back to who we actually are and what we were brought here to do.

Once we start exploring, we may discover that we were not always the way we are now. It is important that we dig deep to really explore who we actually were when we were born and what our purpose is. When we discover what we were put here for, creativity follows and when you get creative, optimism follows.

How hard is it to stay creative and what would you say to somebody experiencing this same issue?

For me, staying creative is only challenging when I don't allow myself time to think clearly, and my schedule is jammed with meetings and calls. However, when I free up time to think, go for a walk, or read, that’s when my creative juices start to flow. Changing my environment up by traveling to new places can help generate creativity.

To anyone finding it hard to stay creative, be sure to intentionally create time and set aside time to be able to think. Sit there and let your mind relax for a little bit.

The effects of mis-emotion and emotion on creativity in business

There are two different types of emotions, mis-emotion and good emotions. Mis-emotion causes you to have problems in your business. You never want to have mis-emotion in your business if you can help it because it leads to not thinking clearly. Your intelligence drops, and you react and it causes you to dig a bigger hole for yourself than what you are currently in for whatever caused that mis-emotion.

Emotion, when you are excited, exuberant and fired up, that goes hand in hand by the way with creativity, and optimism. It causes innovation and good risk taking in business.

How we think is only one aspect of us getting closer to our dream. We also need to take control of our environment by setting it up in a way that supports us.

Sometimes, when you are at your house or your office - the same place all the time - and you deal with what life throws at you, what appears to be negative, it’s easy to start associating those negative experiences with the environment itself.

An energy may build up in that environment and you may need to find a way to clear it out.

When we are affected by negativity we start to lose our ability to differentiate and disassociate things and people with events that have happened. Also, emotions that we experienced during those events. Switching up your environment can help to clear that out.

There are things that you can do to get back into a better state where you can disassociate and differentiate things and people from the emotions that you experienced, during the negative event.

Take a long walk, observe nature and go to a crowded place to observe people. These are some things that I learned to assist with getting back into a better emotional state.

I also like to journal. Telling the story of who I am, who I want to be, what I want to experience and why I want to do it. When I avoid discussing things I don’t want, my intention becomes more focused on who I want to be. Once that happens, I start seeing results. My thoughts, words, actions and environment start to be in alignment with the person I strive to be.

Will equality be something your brand will promote after this blog/interview?

It will continue to.

If there were three things you could have done differently, earlier, or better while building your brand, What would they have been?

While building my brand, I wish I had started podcasting sooner. I would have started appearing as a guest on other podcasts a lot more. Getting known by people for something is one of the most important things you can do while building a personal brand.

Taking the time to cater to a primarily adult audience. What can we teach our adult audience to do in order to be examples of equality for our youth?

I go with my mission, which is that all people are unstoppable to living the life of their dreams. You must tell everyone that if you want it for yourself. You cannot have it if you don’t want it for others. You identify an ethical mission, and you live through that.

Your thoughts, words, actions, and the environment that you keep have to be in alignment with your mission. If you do that then people start to see that you are genuine, they start to feel the energy and the beingness from you and it's attractive.

Do you believe in the right to bear arms & how important do you think it is to be able to do so in this day and age?

Yes, people have the right to protect themselves responsibly. I think it’s important that you are not put in a vulnerable situation where you are unable to protect yourself or your family.

What are some ways weapons can cause conflict & how can we address the emotional impact of weapons as a source of conflict?

It all comes down to responsibility. In our world, a big problem is that people fail to take responsibility for their actions, thoughts, and words. When they don’t take responsibility, they become controlled by the things that they are not taking responsibility for. That includes weapons and emotions. I want to emphasize the importance of responsibility and to the degree you are responsible, you are in control.

Do you think educational tutorials for police officers of how equality, creativity and optimism may be able to better decision making officers are forced to make in the field? YES!

The tobacco industry is often criticized in commercials, but do people truly have a choice whether to smoke tobacco or not? Or are there external factors that influence them to the point of addiction?

People should have the freedom to make their own choices, but to some level of responsibility they need to understand there will be consequences to their decisions. However, people are often influenced when there are promotional items for tobacco or anything else. Companies that can spend a lot of money on marketing, and do a lot of research, they know how to do it in a way that leads to programming people's minds. Our minds are highly susceptible to programming, and creative or intellectual marketing can take place with any product.

How can we strengthen the curriculum of schools with more life awareness skills and strategies?

I believe that schools should have an ever-evolving curriculum that reflects the rapid changes around us. As platforms like Youtube and TikTok evolve, so should the curriculum in our schools.

Would you support the bill to eliminate private prisons?

We should have a system of rehabilitation rather than containment. It doesn't make sense to take people who break the law and put them in facilities that make them worse and encourage repeat offenses. If we had a society that was completely sane and understood ethical values, we wouldn’t need police officers or prisons. Therefore, whether the system is public or private, it should be focused on a rehabilitation system rather than a punishment or containment system. Punishment alone doesn’t change people and it doesn’t help them become better.

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