Episode No. 18

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Episode No. 18

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Success and achieving financial freedom in real estate is the “American dream.” Of all the possible career paths and pathways you could take to get there, becoming a successful realtor is one of the most lucrative and fastest ways to achieve wealth and prosperity. But it doesn’t come easy if you’re Black and poor.

In this conversation, Thomas Lopez-Pierre discusses how black people can secure their financial future, achieve equal opportunities and create passive income and build wealth for themselves and their families.

Thomas Lopez-Pierre serves as President/CEO of Black Lives Matter Real Estate Forum, LLC, a Black and Hispanic-owned social impact advisory firm that specializes in launching economic empowerment campaigns that build wealth and create jobs for Black and Hispanic people. Black Lives Matter Real Estate Forum, LLC was founded on June 12, 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by the police. Black Lives Matter Real Estate Forum, LLC sponsors a family of private equity real estate funds (i.e.: BLMREF Fund I, LLC, Black Doctors Real Estate Fund, Black Lawyers Real Estate Fund).


[00:01 – 13:30] Who is Thomas Lopez-Pierre?

  • How the Black Lives Matter Real Estate Forum started
  • Generating a passive income with your earned income through real estate
  • Creating opportunities and jobs for the black community
  • How to get started in investing


[13:31 – 18:48] Working Hard Is Not Enough

  • The lies Black Americans believe
  • Hard work versus smart work
  • Colorism: How skin tone bias affects racial equality on opportunities
  • Hard truth: Education does not equate to high pay 
  • The advantage of owning a property


[18:49 – 23:04] Black People Need Economic Power

  • What keeps the black community from supporting each other
  • Breaking free from the slave mentality 
  • We need more black-owned businesses


[23:05 – 23:49] Closing Segment 

  • Watch out for part 2 of our conversation with Thomas!


Key Quotes 

“White folks just have more choices, and so their children are less likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior. We want to give our community those same choices.” – Thomas Lopez-Pierre


“Tenants don’t pay you rent because you have a college degree. They pay you rent because your name is on the deed.” – Thomas Lopez-Pierre


“Black Americans have the lowest of any group of buying real estate, securities, starting businesses… We have to give our people economic opportunity.” – Thomas Lopez-Pierre



Connect with Thomas Lopez-Pierre through his website and follow him on his socials at Facebook and Twitter.



Let’s get connected! 

You can find Nicole on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook. Visit her website https://noirvestholdings.com 


 [00:00:00] Thomas Lopez-Pierre They’re taking our dollars, and they’re using it to economically empower their community when we can be doing that. So instead of being angry at them, we should be angry at ourselves, we should take responsibility. And so what we’ve done is we’ve organized black professionals on a national level, to pull their capital. And we started a real estate fund. And we’ve started investing in real estate projects. And some of the requirements that we have for our operating partners. It’s what we call the people that we invest with.



[00:00:54] Nicole Pendergrass I am laughing because you guys have no clue what you are in for today. Oh, my goodness. This man is a complete firecracker and today’s conversation with him was the toned down version. But regardless, the information that he shared, it was truly phenomenal. It really, at the heart of it, he might come off a little bit abrasive sometimes to people. He’s not always delivering information in the most politically correct way, but it’s all based in the foundational aspect that you need to be intentional about how you use your earned income and make sure you’re not just spending that to keep up with the Joneses, make sure you’re investing it for passive income.


[00:01:52] Nicole Pendergrass And that ultimately is the entire background and foundation of this show is make sure you have passive income and make sure you’re building wealth. And because earning income is not always guaranteed. You may not always be physically able to do it. Your job may let you go, even if you wanted to keep it, you know, and if you don’t have things in place already before things, before life happens to you, then. You are definitely going to be, not definitely, but you potentially setting yourself up to just be out in the street or be out like without a hope and have no plan. Let’s get the plans in place first people. Okay. So who did we even talk to today? I’m talking already and I hadn’t even introduced the guy.


[00:03:41] Nicole Pendergrass His name is Thomas Lopez-Pierre. And he’s a president and CEO of Black Lives Matter Real Estate Forum, LLC, which is a group that you can join you to have to reach out to him to find out more information about that. And he’s also the fund manager for the Black Lives Matter Real Estate Fund. And that’s fund number one, he does plan to grow it. And this is what we talked about in the conversation as well, too, is a social impact private equity real estate fund. The fund raises capital from Black and Hispanic investors to deploy with black and Hispanic real estate developers to build wealth and create jobs for black and Hispanic people. He is very specific about who he wants to help and how he wants to help them. In addition, Thomas is a New York State licensed real estate broker. But for more information, you’re going to visit the link. I have it in the show notes and you’ll hear during the rest of the conversation. But come on, man, you do not owe this. He’s a firecracker.  You have been duly warned. Stay tuned. 


[00:02:36] Nicole Pendergrass Hello, everyone. Hi, welcome back to another episode of the Share The Wealth show. Thank you for joining us again today. This is the show where we talk about strategies to build, grow and protect minority wealth. And today we have with us Mr. Thomas Lopez-Pierre. And I gave high level overview of like some of the things that he’d been he’s been doing. But you guys, I don’t think you know, the firestorm you are about to witness. What this man has been up to and what he’s been, like the change and the impact that he’s been creating in the community is fantastic. And I’m so glad I met him. So Thomas, let everybody know who you are what you’re doing.


[00:04:26] Thomas Lopez-Pierre No, thank you, thank you for having me. So he’s good to be in the company of intelligent, strong, financially secure wise women. I’m just honored to be in your presence. You know, and, and I look forward to learning much from you know, we’re having, we’re having a great time shaking things up. You know, when a couple of weeks of the George Floyd was killed about a year and a half ago, almost two years coming up in June, a group of professionals in New York launched a private equity, social impact Real Estate Fund, to build wealth, create jobs for our community, it was our belief that George Floyd wasn’t just killed because he was black, which, you know, that’s the key factor. But he was killed because he was poor. The interesting thing about a lot of the black men that are getting killed by the police, they tend to have like real deep, strong, consistent, loyal relationships with the criminal justice system. And you don’t see lawyers and doctors and wealthy people being shot by the police. It’s always the less fortunate in our community. And if you look at other groups, our Jewish friends, our Asian friends are our friends and our Indian friends. They tend to avoid issues with the police because they participate in the capitalist system. That is America, in New York City, where I’m based, the city of New York is 52%, Black and Hispanic, but the city jail is 90% Black and Hispanic. So either black people, it’s just in our DNA. After I get off this call with you, I’m going to rob you because, you know, it’s, it’s what I do, and why folks in New York are just some of the most honest God fearing folk you could ever find in New York, or I’m going to go with door number two, which is white supremacy and economic inequality, why folks just have more choices. And so their children are less likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior and we want to give our community those same choices and we can start with the wealth that’s in our community that’s being sucked out by these outsiders that come into our community. And they own the real estate. They own the businesses, and they’re not evil people. They’re just, you know, well, the truth is, many of them are evil people but I mean, yeah, let’s, I mean, let’s, let’s call a spade a spade. But you know, many of them are just, you know, hard working, you know, immigrant, small business owners that are feeding their family, but they’re taking our dollars, and they’re using it to economically empower their community when we could be doing that. So instead of being angry at them, we should be angry at ourselves, we should take responsibility. And so what we’ve done is we’ve organized black professionals on a national level, to pool their capital. And we started a real estate fund. And we’ve started investing in real estate projects. And some of the requirements that we have for our operating partners is what we call the people that we invest with. Because the joke is we don’t we don’t invest in real estate, I remember, this doctor invested $20,000. For us, we were on a zoom call. And I was like, Oh, we don’t invest in real estate. He said, Well, when can I get my money back? I said, I said, we don’t invest in real estate, we invest in black and Hispanic real estate developers. So if you’re a black and Hispanic real estate developers, small developer, and you’re looking for $100,000, equity capital, infusion into your business, call us. So the idea is, what do I know about what’s going on in Philadelphia, and Boston and DC and Baltimore, I don’t know the market. I mean, granted, I’m a licensed real estate broker, but I know New York. And so what we want to do is profit from the expertise of these individuals, they have the institutional relationships, they have the best in class, service providers, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, contractors, they know the buildings department, local city councilman, so we want to profit from those relationships. And so we want to be the their bank, in effect their private equity bank, anytime they need equity capital for a deal, we want them to call us. And in America, less than 5% of Americans earn $100,000 a year. But in key cities like New York, and LA, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, DC, there are a significant number of black professionals that earn six figure incomes. And what we want to do is tap those individuals, we don’t do charity, like we give our investors 15% or more on their investment. And we believe that you can do well and do good at the same time. I mean, the crazy thing is you talk to these doctors, and I love them, we have the largest group of investors that we have our medical doctors, and I love them. And they have all this education, and they’re making, you know, hundreds and hundreds of $1,000 a year. But at the end of the day, they’re just overpaid, working slaves. Because if they stop working, all that education and income doesn’t generate any for them. But then there’s the white guy who owns a couple of commercial properties and black neighborhoods. He’s drinking margaritas on the beach, and his money is working for him like a slave and delivering passive income for him and his family. And so what I tell these doctors is like you got to take that earn income. See, this is New York, this is true New York.


[00:09:32] Nicole Pendergrass  I heard it, like yeah, definitely you’re in New York.


[00:09:36] Thomas Lopez-Pierre  Yeah, this is true New York. And so you got to take that earned income and turn that into passive income opportunities. And real estate is fundamentally one of the best ways of doing that. And so we’ve been really excited, we’re going to be investing in this month alone, two projects, one in New York and one in Baltimore. So our goal is to raise a million dollars this year, invest in 10 properties, and then take that track record of investing in 10 properties and a million dollars delivering 15% Plus returns to our investors, and then launch what we call a reg A plus offering where you can raise up to $75 million from unaccredited. Investors, basically the general public, people that don’t make $200,000 or more a year. And so we’re very excited about that. Because this is an opportunity to get the masses of our folk to invest as little as $5,000 in a real estate fund, that is building wealth and creating jobs for people that look like us.


[00:10:33] Nicole Pendergrass  Wow, okay, that was everything. Because you hit on so many different points. You hit on mindset, you hit on the action that you’re actually taking, like, the whole take your earned income and let it earn passive because even if you’re a high earner, you’re making a few $100,000 a year, as soon as you stop working, you don’t have that income. So what are you relying on? And if you’re not investing that actively and an intentionally now, then when life happens, which it inevitably does for everyone, no, I don’t know what that’s going to look like for you. I don’t know what it’s going to look like for me. But when it does happen, and you aren’t able to continue on the same journey that you are now or maybe you never plan to quit your job, but something happens where you have to step away. What do you have set up as the as your backup plan, what’s going to take care of you and your family and that’s the whole entire point of this The whole podcast is getting people to open up their minds and to think, and to actually start getting this information and implementing it, not just listening to it. Oh, that sounds good. Oh, yeah, no, they’re right. But then you don’t do anything with it. So this may be for the end. But what how can people get in with you and what you’re doing and especially if they’re not a high income earner yet? Or if they are, they can, I guess, invest now. But if they’re not, they have to wait for you to do your reg A, which I guess if you can explain a little bit more what that is, is because the crowd fund if people don’t know crowdfunding is, it’s not just GoFundMe for donations, you can actually do equity crowd crowd crowdfunding, where we’re earn a return. But yeah, how can people even get started? Like, how did you get started to even get to this point where you’re, you’re thinking about offering these kinds of options for our community and for people to invest?


[00:12:23] Thomas Lopez-Pierre Well, the first thing we do is hire securities lawyers put together our private placement memorandum, which is our investment documents or offering documents. And so you can’t start this without, if you want to be, if you want to manage a private equity fund, then the first thing you’re going to do is hire a good security lawyer, we hired two and they were both black, one black male and one black female, what I would say is, you know, visit our website at blmref.com, blmref.com. Send us your contact information. And we can figure out together where you fit in and what we call a capital stack. And in terms of what the guidelines are, in terms of the different offerings that we have. And we will be doing an offering that pretty much anybody can invest in. And right now we’re doing accredited investors, people that make $200,000 or more, but we want to be able to reach out to those, because there are some exceptions, if you, let’s say you only make $100,000 here, but your grandmother left your property and you’re like, Oh, I didn’t I can’t invest. No, that’s not true. You could be the operating partner. And so you know, the rule doesn’t apply to you. And so we can help finding, and we can invest with you and help you find the capital for that. For the for those deals, you know, back on the financial planning aspect, what I would, I think the mistake that particularly black people make well, that they are making, and it’s really sad, because that they have this was they bought into this lie. There’s two lies in America. One is that is the lie. They tell immigrants that just work hard and you’ll be successful. That’s a lie. I mean, imagine if you invited me over for dinner, and you said, Hey, Tom has come over for dinner, I live on the 10th floor, Here’s my address, I have three choices. I can take the elevator up to your apartment, I can take the staircase, or I can climb from from the outside from the roof down with a rope and climbing to your window. Now the smartest easiest way would be to take the elevator. You know, working hard is stupid, but you should work smart.


[00:14:19] Thomas Lopez-Pierre You know, it’s the only time you work hard is like it mean you were in a taxi. And you know, the taxi got into an accident turned over. And I would push as hard as I could, as hard as I could open that door. Because that’s the smartest thing to do, which is to save our lives because a car is going to explode. Yeah, but you know, in America, you get paid for doing three jobs. This is what I don’t care what fancy title you have or not, you get paid pretty much unless you have a trust fund, you get paid to do three jobs, you get paid to one to dig the hole to manage the hole, or three because you own the hole. So you pick anything, let’s say you’re you know, you’re you work at a hospital. If you’re a doctor, you’re getting paid to manage the hole. Because you’re taking care of the patients. That’s the wealth center, the profit center. If you sweep the floors and clean after patients and have to clean them after they use the bathroom, you’re digging the hole, you’re on the bottom. But if you’re the shareholders that own the hospitals, and you’re on the beach, having a margarita while the dividends are being paid to you, then you’re the person that’s getting paid because you own the whole. And so, you know, any industry from like restaurants, if you’re the waitress, you’re at the bottom, you know, you’re you know, but if you’re the general manager, you’re managing the hole. And if you own the restaurant, you’re you’re getting paid because you own the hole. So people make the mistake, we don’t live in an Education Society. And don’t get me wrong, education is important. I’m all for it. You know, I teach I have three kids 12 year old twin daughters and a 16 year old son and I teach them to get an excellent education. But that education is so that they can get earn income to then to convert into passive income. Because we don’t live in an Education Society. This is the mistake that a lot of black women make for black woman some of the most educated folk in America. It you know, they, we don’t live in an Education Society. We live in a capitalist society, meaning you can be a high school dropout. As long as you own that property. You’re going to get paid rent on that property. They don’t the tenants don’t pay rent because you have a college degree They pay you rent because your name is on the DT. And so you have, you have people that major in degrees that don’t, that aren’t respected in the marketplace. So I hope I don’t offend anybody. But you know, education, social work, government, they’re not, you don’t see a lot of Asians in education. You see Asians and my Jewish friends, they’re in medicine, business, law, science, computer engineering, you know, engineering, electrical engineering, they’re in the high growth, high pay industries, while black women are overwhelmingly in the low paid. And then because they’re a woman, they get paid low anyway, because of institutional sexism. And but you know, where they don’t get paid low, is when they own a property, and the tenant has to pay them rent doesn’t make a difference. If a man owns the property of a woman who owns the property, the market rate for that building is XYZ, and they’re going to pay it. And so I encourage folks to take their earned income and invest it in commercial real estate. Now, here’s the thing, why folks don’t own the real estate in black neighborhoods, because they love us. I hope there’s no black people that think that. That’s because that’s sad. I mean, you have to ask yourself, if you know, we live in a very racist country, and, you know, overwhelmingly this country hates black people. I mean, they they hated us when we were slaves. And then when we stopped being slaves, they hated us even more, because now we add little value to them. You know, Alexander forgot the professor, the woman who wrote The New Jim Crow, she has a great line in there that the black male is expendable, he’s in service is no longer needed. He’s not on a plantation picking cotton anymore. You know, they don’t know what to do it as a cancer is back to Africa. So they’ll just, you know, keep killing us until we’re extinct. Like, you know, you know, they, they, they want black people to be like American Indians, like barely around and dying from extinction, and alcoholism, and drugs. But there’s so many of us here, because they needed us to build this country, which is what we did our labor that they don’t know what to do with us. That’s America’s problem. They don’t know what to do with all these black people. They just don’t know what to do with them. And they think God forbid, they give them a justice. So they they just incarcerate them, but they wish they could just kick them out of this country. And so what we need to do is what other groups have done in this country that have come into a country that is just built on the foundation of white supremacy, is no avail ourselves of economic power. I just don’t understand what the problem is. We’re black people that they don’t want to work together.


[00:18:48] Nicole Pendergrass  Like I forgot to ask that. We’re not doing it together. And there’s always an issue with these, please work together and we can’t seem to get on with.


[00:18:57] Thomas Lopez-Pierre It’s very understanding. It’s, you know, it’s a slave mentality. You know, particularly among black Americans. I mean, because we got to separate black people, we’re not all equal. So Africans that come here, they come with intact families, and they come with, with little to no slave mentality. Diseases. Caribbeans are the same way. But black Americans, oh, my god, the slave mentality. They, you know, this, no one is better than black Americans. No one is better than black Americans and making every other racial group rich. I mean, black Americans are just expert at it. They they buy Gucci, the Sadie’s Benz licker, you know, black Americans have the lowest of any group of buying real estate, securities, starting businesses, everybody in the black community owns a business except for black people, you know, and they were just so good at giving them are money. And they suck that money out of our community, and they put their people to work. And then our young men are left in a capitalist society where it’s very materialism looking what other people have saying, oh, I want that. And so they engage in antisocial criminal behavior. And that’s why we see so many young black men who have no hope and no future, we have to give our people economic opportunity. And the way to do that is invest in businesses, real estate, and securities, and education.


[00:20:19] Nicole Pendergrass  Okay, I yeah, you you touched on so much stuff there. And I actually, what I want to ask is, I had this conversation with someone else that I interviewed on the show, but this was like, after we were we were recording. And it was one of these, what is going on with people, especially black people, African Americans, not wanting to support other African Americans, or be in their business ventures, because they don’t feel like the quality of that business is enough or the price is too high, or whatever it is, what is it about our mindset that we don’t want to support, or we put other African American or black businesses under a microscope, and we don’t accept things that we would accept from business owners of other communities, and how that we actually can still support each other’s business ventures.


[00:21:11] Thomas Lopez-Pierre So here’s the thing sometimes the price is too high or something Times black businesses to buy from a black business is too high, let’s say, you know, hair products, right? I’m not a woman. So I don’t buy hair products. Right? Right. Yes, men buy hair products, but I don’t I use shampoo and call it a day. Right. But you know, the Koreans, they control the manufacturing and distribution of black hair products. So they will Oblak black hair product store, if they don’t have a connect with a Korean business, they’ll never be able to compete against for price. So yes, if you’re a black person, and you want to give your money for hair products, you’re going to pay more with a black person because they don’t have the supply chain hook up. Because when these groups, they don’t just buy one segment at a day of the business, they get it from A to Z, they control distribution, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, yada, yada, yada. And so we need to do the same thing. Like you saw recently, I think like two years ago, two black banks, one in the East Coast, one on the West Coast, they merged, that’s what has ended up happening is that black people have to start merging their businesses so they can lower their costs. So that black people will do business with each other because I’m pro black, but I don’t advocate you spending more money to pay for a black person, because that’s, that’s disposable income that’s been taken out of your household. You know, if you have to hire a black lawyer, hire a black lawyer and pay the market rate. But you know, don’t pay more, because that person is black, you know, you have to hire a black architect or a black plumber, pay the market rate, but don’t pay, you know, the difference if it is a 5% difference. But you know, I’m not telling you, gold’s just give your money to a black person just because they’re black. It’s supply and demand. If you have a black plumber, what I say to these black service providers that we use in real estate, I say, listen, we’re going to start directing all our business to you. So we need you to lower your price by 10%. Because you’re going to start making money on volume.



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