The Legacy Lives On
By Nzingha Florence, Intern
When it comes to the word “legacy,” there are multiple definitions that are used to describe the meaning of this noun. After doing a quick Google search on the word legacy, I learned it is defined as an amount of money or property left to someone in a will or something handed down by a predecessor. While I believe all these definitions to be correct, watching the ‘Legacy Lives On’ documentary changed my perspective on the concept of legacy drastically, especially when I viewed it through the lens of being a young black woman in America. Legacy in this context is much more complex than passing on a simple gift from one generation to another. It’s about overcoming generational trauma and continuing to break down the barriers of racial injustice, just as our ancestors did before us.
Legacy Lives On aired on Wednesday June 19, 2019 at 9 p.m. EST on TV One. Urban One and Prudential Financial Inc. partnered to create a work that opened up the conversation of how financial freedom relates to legacy in the black community. Prior to watching this film, the idea of what I wanted my legacy to be was something that didn’t often cross my mind. That changed once I heard the stories of three black women from the creative and vibrant cities of Tulsa, Detroit, and Atlanta. Their stories exemplified how they wanted financial freedom not only to benefit themselves, but to benefit their families and their communities as well. In a country where the African American people have been systematically oppressed for centuries and it feels like we have no one to lean on but each other, the only way to continue our legacy is to support, uplift, and encourage one another in all aspects of life. One way legacy was described in the documentary was “planting seeds that will grow trees whose shade you will never sit under.” This was the quote that ultimately transformed my view on legacy. It revealed to me that my legacy shouldn’t just be about how my accomplishments are perceived, and that building a legacy worth continuing isn’t born out of selfishness. Legacy is about creating an ecosystem that is viable and transferable for all who come after you, even when you don’t reap the benefits of the seeds you planted. I realized that this was the similarity Onikah, Audrey, and Jewel shared in their stories, despite them being from different areas in the United States and going through different trials and tribulations. Something they equally share was their determination to excel financially as well as provide for those around them. Whether it be for their city, their children, or other black peers working towards the same goal as them, they were adamant in creating a legacy for a cause they cared about. They used resources geared towards helping diverse groups, such as Dr. DeForest Soaries’ dfree initiative and Atlanta’s diverse networking site The Gathering Spot, to take those steps towards building their legacy.
If I could describe the Legacy Lives On documentary in three words, it would be intriguing, inspirational, and inclusive. I admired the fact that a bit of each city’s history was shared for a better understanding of these women’s stories and the background behind their struggles.
I also applauded the imagery that was included to evoke feelings of African American pride and how our culture was embedded in the film in a way that was relatable. Another quote that I felt held significance was, “when money becomes reciprocal in the community, it stops feeling like money and starts to feel more like a bloodline.” There is a constant theme that reappears in this film about how when we view money as a tool to serve a greater purpose, we will use our money more wisely. This message is relevant for all age groups, but especially my generation because we are just now being introduced to the responsibilities that come with creating our own legacy and determining what we want that legacy to look like. Overall, Legacy Lives On is a film that emphasizes the importance of financial success and legacy within the black community, information we should all educate ourselves with to progress in society.