She may be playing a smart and savvy gambler in her new film The Card Counter out in theaters today, but Tiffany Haddish is making very clear what makes her different from her La Linda character, telling me at Forbes, “She likes that life. I do not. I mean, I like to gamble on me. I will bet on me.”
As Haddish’s star status continues to rise with more leading film roles, TV hosting jobs and producing work, she has noticed her approach to business matters evolving as her success continues to grow.
“I’m definitely more aggressive when it comes to business, as far as saying like what I want, what I’m going to need to be able to do what I do. I make bigger investments now. It’s funny because when I started learning about the stock market and stuff, I would make like you know I want to buy $50, I want to buy like $25. Now I’m like Ok, let me get $100,000 worth of that! I guess I do gamble in that way with the stocks, but I only invest in what I use or believe in.”
One area Haddish strongly believes in and is investing both her time and money in is creating more opportunities for her South Central Los Angeles neighborhood by opening a resourceful grocery store, knowing the direct effect that one strategically located business can have on an entire community of people.
“I want to be a grocer,” Haddish says. “I want to grow my community. Grocery stores have thousands and thousands of products in them, right? And when you go to like Home Depot and Michael’s, they teach you how to use their products. Grocery stores never teach you how to use their products and I guess you’re supposed to already know because you’ve been eating all your life, right? But if you grow up in my community, in a food desert, you’re not necessarily going to know.”
Haddish goes on to say that she has been reading a lot about financial literacy lately, understanding more and more the power of the dollar. “I’ve been learning about the history of black people when it comes to money and the disparities that we have suffered and what we don’t learn about it and do learn about it and what they’ve done with food and all these different things and I’m like Shucks, how can I get the dollar circulating in the black community a little more? How can I be supporting my community in general in the South Central area, where I live. How can I build it up? And I start seeing them shutting down all these grocery stores and the dollar only circulates in my community for about eight hours. That’s not okay.”
Haddish continued sharing her plan with me by saying she will make sure the majority of her vendors are black and minority vendors, which will get the dollar in her community circulating. She also plans on creating financial literacy classes and cooking classes for area residents, knowledge she says has improved her own quality of life and believes it will do the same for others.
“Once I understood how money works, once I learned how to eat better, I became a stronger, more productive human being. And I feel like when you’re a stronger, more productive human being, your family becomes more stronger and productive. When your family is stronger and more productive, the community becomes stronger and more productive. When a community is stronger and more productive, less need for police beating everybody ass. So that’s my way of solving systematic racism – opening a grocery store!”
Haddish even has a name already picked out for the grocery store. Diaspora Groceries, which by her own definition means a group of people that have been removed from their native land, which she says is all but the Native Americans in America. “Everyone is coming from somewhere else, has migrated from somewhere else to be here in America. So that’s for everybody. Diaspora Groceries. And I want to get farmers from all over the world. It’s going to be huge, bro! It’s going to build bridges!”
While Haddish has a dedicated vision she plans to see through, there are some obstacles that currently stand in the way of her passionate mission. “The piece of land that I really, really want, the city owns and they’re being a little stingy because they really want it to go to biotechnology and if it goes to biotechnology, it’s removing a lot of people out of the community. So, let me open a grocery store and put apartment buildings on top of it, then we’ll help the housing situation, the health situation and the financial situation. Let me take this piece of land and make it a place that’s beautiful again. And where I want to do is where the very first commercial black-owned bank was. In the community, for the people that’s there. I want it off of Martin Luther King and Buckingham, but we’ll see what happens.”
There is no arguing that Haddish knows exactly what she wants out of life, both on and off-screen. She has openly discussed before her difficult childhood and her moments of homelessness before her stand-up comedy and Hollywood career took off. So with all she has gone through to get to this point, Haddish knows exactly what she would say to her former self, the Tiffany Haddish who was once in search of brighter days. “I would say to her go ahead and get it all out now. Get as much rest as you can and write down those dreams and know that you’re going to accomplish all of them.”
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