Entertainer and entrepreneur Big Sean, recently released his new album, Detroit 2, and shortly after made time to speak with our Director of Corporate Citizenship, Natalie Brown, regarding our second annual Moguls in the Making competition.
Though hosted virtually this year, the program was nothing short of a success. For the second consecutive year, Ally was proud to work with Big Sean and his Detroit-based Sean Anderson Foundation (along with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund) to host a program geared towards providing resources and guidance to a select group of ambitious, entrepreneurial students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The students formed teams with the others selected from their respective universities, and after going through various stages of preparation, together they pitched their business ideas that provided solutions to current economic issues.
With a known affinity for uplifting his community and the upcoming generation, Sean decided to speak with Brown to answer a few questions from the students who participated this year, to express his support and provide some encouraging words.
Natalie Brown: Why are you and your foundation so passionate about the Moguls in the Making program and what it does for HBCU students?
Big Sean: I want to start by saying, I have so much respect for the Moguls in our program and all of the other Moguls out there. Working with Ally and having the Sean Anderson Foundation are things that I consider just as important as everything else going on in my career. I know how important it is to want to break generational habits, boss up, and take care of you and yours. This program creates real opportunities and provides resources to these students, that they otherwise may not be exposed to. We’re shaping our future business leaders, the city of Detroit and our future.
What would you say to today’s youth and Moguls in the Making?
Big Sean: You have what it takes to succeed and be greater than any of us. You’ll soon realize it’s more than being financially wealthy – it’s being rich in many other ways too. Be sure you enjoy yourselves – the key is finding balance.
What’s the importance of minorities learning about financial education and creating generational wealth?
Big Sean: Financial literacy is one of the single most important ways to change your situation in life and create generational wealth. Being financially aware, knowing how to do your taxes and learning about how to grow financially, are so necessary in the development of our community. We need a sense of community but also a sense of wealth and abundance. Financial literacy is a way to do that.
You’ve spoken out publicly on your mental health journey. How important is maintaining your mental health while avoiding burnout?
Big Sean: I’ve been burnt out, and I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to take time for yourself. Whether you’re creating music or flipping burgers, you need time for yourself, especially this year which has shown us how short life is. If you don’t take the time out to take care of yourself, then you wouldn’t be bringing the best version of yourself to anything you do. Life is about balance.
What is one thing you do for self-care?
Big Sean: I personally take 20 minutes to meditate every day, as well as 10-15 minutes to write. If I need more time, then I allow myself more time, without feeling guilty about it.
What is your motto in life?
Big Sean: Give when you can. Life has a funny way of coming full circle – whatever you give is what you get back.
You often speak about your mother and grandmother. Can you tell us about the influence they played in your life?
Big Sean: I modeled the motivation and generosity of my mother and grandmother. I watched them both give back to our city – the loyalty and love they received in return is something I’ll never forget. My grandmother was someone who gave her whole life to other people and never looked for anything in return – she just wanted to help. So that’s always been what I’ve wanted to do too – to give back.
Your albums are love letters to Detroit. Tell us about what Detroit means to you.
Big Sean: To me, Detroit is one of the strongest cities in the country, if not the world. I think about Detroit and all its firsts – with auto, or music – Detroit has always been on the leading edge of development. It’s also gone through a lot of ups and downs, but always remained resilient. I know how deep its soul and history goes and what Detroit can do for generations to come.
Did you learn about money growing up? How did it shape how you think about money today?
Big Sean: I wish “financial literacy” were a class in high school because, it can change your trajectory. Being taught the financial basics can only help us as a community to move forward and move up in this world.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Big Sean: The future is important to think about, but don’t forget to live in the moment. You won’t ever get that time back.
Big Sean centers a lot of his career around uplifting and empowering others in his community, as well as those from kindred environments. At Ally, one of our cornerstones is to spark positive change and make a social impact on communities all across the country. We look forward to a continuing relationship with the Sean Anderson Foundation, and the ability to join forces and provide opportunities in areas where they’re needed most.
With Moguls in the Making, Ally is proud to have helped propel the next generation of entrepreneurs for the second year in a row.