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19Keys Talks Key To Financial Literacy, Growing Up Muslim & More

July 19, 2023

Read the full interview on TheFoxMagazine.com!

A true definition of a multi-hyphenate, real name Jibrial Muhammad has dedicated his life to helping other people, teaching them about financial literacy, personal development, success, and growth — everything it takes for one to unlock their full potential, to their highest level.

Born in St. Louis but moving to Oakland at age two, 19Keys grew up splitting his time between both places after his parents divorced. And while he fell victim to being a product of his environment, he always had a level of consciousness and awareness about what he was doing, and about the state of the world. His career goals were those of the average kid, thinking being a lawyer or doctor was the end goal.

19Keys states,

“I remember distinctly as a child, always having an innate feeling that I was destined to change the world in some capacity. The world robs you of that dream, as you grow older and tell you to think about things more realistic. But as I continued to develop myself, that feeling came back, and I found it in a way of speaking or teaching.”

Today, 19Keys is the founder and host of his own High Level Conversations podcast, even taking his powerful platform on the road with The Highest Lvl Tour. Hitting 13 major cities across the country, each show offers exceptional opportunities for those seeking to elevate their thinking, expand their networks, and engage with like-minded professionals.

The Fox Magazine spoke with 19Keys in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his inspiration, his background, love for fashion, his favorite guest on his podcast, the key to financial literacy, his new Supernatural product, and more!

For those who don’t know, who is 19Keys?

I describe myself as a self-proclaimed thought leader, a global influence, author, serial entrepreneur, creative. Producer, director, all things necessary I need to be. Most people know me from teaching them about finances, teaching them about the science of the mind, and the power of self.

The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration. Who or what inspires you the most?

Just my experiences growing up, seeing things in Oakland and St. Louis. The trauma that we lived through, the trauma that we experienced. Wanting to be my own savior, in a sense to where in our community, we’re always looking for another savior. But I decided to save myself. I’ma build up myself, develop my mind, develop myself financially, hire my family. Be the example of the things I wanted to see in a neighborhood in the world, when we didn’t have them. Of course, that’s a double inspiration, getting it from my ancestors and all those who came before me. But I walk my own path.

When did you go to Oakland, if you were born in St. Louis?

When I was two. [laughs] My pops moved out there, he had a job out there working with his organization. Oakland really groomed me, that’s where I get my more militant consciousness from. Later on, I end up going back to St. Louis. That’s where I get more and more street experience.

When’d you go back to St. Louis?

As a teenager. I ended up going back and forth because my mother and father had a divorce.

I was going to say, do you claim St. Louis?

It’s where I was born. I got so many different life experiences from there, as far as the streets, and experiences that I have and the people that I grew up with. St. Louis is a very treacherous environment, so most people I know from there are dead. Literally. I know too many people that are dead from the streets of St. Louis.

You used to work for Prada and opened your own clothing store in Oakland called Musahill. Talk about your love for fashion, I know you’re always drippy.

Definitely, gotta be drip god! When you look at the military fashion of the past, those are some of the most influential when it comes to the fashion world. I was always taught that cleanliness is next to godliness, so you gotta step outside with a certain statue. People see me, everything that I wear is usually customized. I usually have these military decorative suits on, or what I like to call military luxury.

My style is a mix between some James Bond, Malcolm X meets Kanye West. It’s unique to me to where you walk in the room, you know that’s 19 keys. I’m not a clone of anybody else. We definitely gon’ put that on, and I’m a designer by my own right. I like taking my thoughts and wearing them, representing myself.

What you got on today?

I got some Off-White, and this brand called Ambush. Typically, it’s Crownz Society. I got my Crownz Society. hat on, my Crownz Society rings.

How much are you studying or reading? You seem very, very knowledged.

You know, I’m a life-long learner. I love learning something new. It gives me a high to learn new things, especially when I can apply it. I’ve had court cases when I was younger, I remember using the information and knowledge that was in the books to apply to my situation and strategize for my freedom. Ever since then, I had a different type of relationship with knowledge. Because I know the power and the application of knowledge, versus there’s people that are feeling sorry for themselves today, when they can learn a way out of their situation. I really utilized knowledge as my key to unlock whatever advancement in life that I want.

Is it mostly books…?

Books, experience. I’ve had a lot of experiences throughout life, and I’m very reflective. I also learned that it’s about the attitude that you take throughout life and the lessons that you learned. If you want to do something great, you have to have great failures. From those great failures, they teach you how to win great. I learned from my experiences, other people’s experiences. In all situations, I’m learning. I’m learning right now, as you ask questions. I’m observing. I believe that most people look at traditional education inside the classroom. But for me, education is every second of life.

Did you go to school?

I went to school for one year, but I dropped out because I caught a case. It was an assault case. Took it to trial, beat it, so I got a clean record. Thanks to education. [laughs]

What were you studying?

I was studying Business Marketing, but it was second nature to me. Even if I didn’t study, I’ll still pass a test. Because for me, it was all psychology, and I have an innate understanding of people

How do you feel growing up Muslim has affected you?

It changed the way I see the world. You gotta think about Islam impacted Hip Hop. Early on, you had The Five-Percent Nation. That’s where you get people like Rakim, you get what they call the Gods. Back in the day, they call themselves the Gods. Now they call themselves the n*ggas. A transition in Hip Hop changed when it stopped being more Islamic culture-based. It started being more Christian-based, then it started becoming more gang-based. My life has always been the same, we started off calling each other gods. That culture influenced the way I see the world and I see myself.

Because there’s gods, then there’s the devils. We was always taught: who are the devils in the world? The agendas of the government. Why redlining and ghettos was created, why poverty exists, why we have food deserts, why we participate in violence. Being a Muslim gave me a self-awareness as a black man and gave me confidence in the world that I can do anything, regardless of what the world tells me that I wasn’t. It made the impossible possible for me.

Who’s been your favorite guest on the High-Level Conversations podcast?

Man, that’s hard to say. The most impactful episode we have was the Billy Carson episode. That one has to date 5.5 million views. Normally on my IG or even interviews, I’m always talking about finances and wealth, resources. Very practical things that we should do, because we are behind. But that episode, I got to talk about aliens, science, multi-dimensions, physics. Things that have always interested me, but didn’t really have the forums and put it out there.

What is the key to financial literacy?

Education. It’s language, financial literacy is a language. Literacy is when you can read and write, in that language. Basically learning how to use it. A person can talk financial literacy, but can you apply it? Like my brothers at Earn Your Leisure, it’s all about assets over liabilities. Being able to chart a goal for yourself and being able to write down a plan in order to get there. Knowing the system and how it works in order for you to use and leverage it. Most people don’t have to be in the condition that they’re in if they just had a little bit of knowledge.

One thing we always teach people is to invest in gold. We teach people how to understand currency. What is money? Let’s start there at the foundation. It’s an exchange of energy, it’s a social construct. Teach people: how do you increase your net worth? Assets over your liability, so basically your debt versus your earned income plus your assets. If you can start to understand that simple formula, then you pair that with investing? People wear Nikes, but never buy Nike stock. People have Apple phones, but never buy Apple stock.

When you start to put money where your mind is and what your habits are, you don’t just buy liabilities. Now you’re investing, instead of spending money. Spending money when it goes out, it never comes back. Investing is going out to possibly give you a return. Changing your mindset towards investment, emotionally it changes your life towards everything. The way we spend our time versus how we invest our time. We can be with somebody that was a waste of time. All we have is that fleeting memory, and sometimes people don’t even want the memories after they’re done with people.

Versus when you’re intentional about it and thinking about your goals, you’re thinking long-term, now you’re going to slow down the rhythm. Now you’re building relationships, now you’re networking. That’s a form of investment as well, because a lot of people got friends that are liabilities. When you grew up in environments that are financial deserts, you can’t go to nobody for financial advice. Nobody around you can help you with your goal. We teach financial consciousness, language and literacy so we can finally save ourselves. Because 90% of crimes are based on money.

What if you’re born into poverty?

That’s even more reason to teach yourself. We have access to social media today. Anybody in America that has access to the Internet right now can go educate themselves with top-level information. It really depends on your habits. A lot of people have rich goals, but poor habits. No matter how much money you get, if you have poor habits, you’re going to end up poor again. Because you’ll take that money, you’re going to spend it in a way to where you’re back where you are.

But if you have rich habits, no matter how much — you can start with $1. Eventually, your habits are going to accumulate to where you’re able to build yourself up financially. That’s only going to happen when you’re educated because we do what we know. When we think about our options, one person may never invest in stock because they can’t think long-term. They’re so short-term, thinking on survival mode. Like my brother talks about, we have financial trauma. It stops us from thinking long-term. But when we can break from those financial traumas and we can educate ourselves, poverty ain’t nothing. Poverty is a state of mind. It’s a lack of mental resources. Wealth starts in the mind. When we pass on information to our children, they know how to build and they execute.

Anything else you’re excited for?

We got new products coming out. They say testosterone has decreased by 50% over the last 50 years. They got what they call soy boys. There’s so much soy in your diet, it decreases your testosterone. Because everybody’s going vegan, but they don’t realize it takes their edge off. You don’t notice men get a little softer.

So it’s bad to have soy?

Yeah it’s bad, it lowers your testosterone. We grew up, they had the MorningStar. They had all the soy in it, but we didn’t know. There’s an experiment where they were feeding so much soy to these prisoners, it was messing with their health. They considered it a form of torture. Because they started growing boobs, they were emotional. When you see a man who don’t workout, all of a sudden he starts to get the little women breasts? That’s soy boy bodies. I’m trying to give you some game right now. [laughs]

We got a product that helps men regulate testosterone in a natural way, it’s called Supernatural. Right now, you got this new wave of gym content that’s spread out in gym culture. But you got these young kids that’s starting off taking steroids, that messes up your body hormonal functions as well. Libido be all off and we tripping. We came up with that Supernatural so it brings you back into position.

Is it a pill?

Yes, it’ll be in pill form. When a man is in his proper testosterone, he’s more focused. Anxiety kills testosterone as well. If you’re stressing out your boyfriend, you’re lowering his testosterone. Making them less willful. That’s why yelling at a man to do something is not the best way to get it done. You gotta cultivate an environment that pushes and challenges him to want to do things. Therefore, he’ll feel rewarded once you do things. When a person doesn’t want to go to the gym, it’s because their testosterone is low and they don’t feel they’re going to be rewarded for going. Testosterone allows you to do the painful things you don’t want to do, and they feel enjoyable. Versus when it feels like it’s painful, you procrastinate. You want to do nothing. We got new products, we have a bunch of different things happening. I’m excited for it all.

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