We know everybody has an Aaliyah fantasy but this guy took his a lil too far. In a recent interview Hill Harper speaks candidly about being diagnosed with cancer, his latest book — on financial responsibility — and his multiple run ins with the late great Aaliyah Haughton — who he says had a thing for him. If that’s not enough bragging for you, he also claims he taught Obama how to dougie at his 50th birthday party.
After writing about youth and relationships, why did you target finance in your new book The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place?
Hill Harper: I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My father, grandfather and uncle all passed away from cancer. Money is meaningless without health. I realized that true wealth is a balance of physical wealth, emotional wealth, financial wealth and spiritual wealth. I was fortunate that it was detected early and last July my thyroid was successfully removed including three cancerous nodes.
What are the primary financial problems facing African-Americans?
Blacks have the least cross-generational wealth transfer. Each generation usually begins with little or no money. The best way to transfer wealth is life insurance. Take out a million dollar life insurance policy on your children so they can have that money. Another problem is credit card debt. If the credit card read “Slave” then people would throw it away. If you want Visa or MasterCard buy their stock.
You attended Harvard Law School with Barack Obama and remain good friends. Have you given him the book?
I planned to give it to him at his 50th birthday party, but decided it was not the appropriate time. It was a great party. We talked for a long time. I’ve attended several affairs at the White House that were very formal. This was casual. No cameras. We were just chillin’. I taught him how to do the “Dougie”, the old man version. [Laughs.]
Keep reading for Hill’s tall tale about Aaliyah and a tribute portrait by cartoonist Kevin Eason.