CNBC’s “NEWBOs: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass,” is an original one-hour primetime documentary about the growing wave of young black multimillionaires coming out of the sports, media and entertainment industries. This project examines the rise of “Newbos,”–young black athletes, entertainers, and creative entrepreneurs–who, with the right amount of financial literacy, collaboration, intergenerational mentorship and social awareness, could have a profound, positive impact on black America. The special, hosted by Wall Street Journal reporter and CNBC correspondent Lee Hawkins, who coined the term “Newbo,” is based on Hawkins’ forthcoming book of the same title.
Newbos captures the pressures and prominence of the fascinating Newbo class and includes data about the wealth and financial impact of black athletes and entrepreneurial black music moguls in America. Contradicting old-guard leaders who assert that Newbos offer little to the black community as a whole, Hawkins puts the spotlight on the entrepreneurial, social and charitable efforts of several Newbos and their contagious financial power. The documentary offers behind-the-marquee stories on several high-profile Newbos, including NBA superstar LeBron James, Major League All-Star Torii Hunter, The Williams brothers of Cash Money Records, Dallas Cowboy star Terrell Owens, billionaire entrepreneur and Newbo pioneer Bob Johnson and musician, Multiplatinum gospel star Kirk Franklin, and television network owner Wyclef Jean.
There are more black multimillionaires and potential billionaires in the United States than ever before, and a startling new black overclass has emerged out of these three industries, generating billions of dollars of income per year. While there is no shortage of coverage of the unfortunate realities of black America–such as crime, incarceration rates, and wealth disparities–this is the first analysis of the growing number of self-made young black multimillionaires and the impact fast-wealth has on them and others that surround them.
Newbos exposes and chronicles the experiences and insights of these men and women as they move from relative poverty to fantastic wealth at a very young age. Hawkins examines how the Newbos’ unconventional paths to success have become blueprints for broader independence and entrepreneurship, and how this segment of black society has a disproportionately heavy influence over millions of people.
In a post-Obama victory era that has widened the range of role models for African-American youth, Hawkins turns the spotlight on some of the nation’s highest profile athletes and entertainers and asks them poignant questions they are rarely asked. How exactly have they built their brands and their businesses? Does their fame and status insulate them from the problems of the broader black community? Do they feel they have a responsibility to the rest of black America? How important are social awareness and charitable involvement? What do they think about Barack Obama? Will they rise to the challenges and opportunities that accompany their wealth and fame or will they squander their clout in frivolity?