Jeelani Shareef, financial freedom fighter

Jeelani-in-business-office-settings-, Jeelani Shareef, financial freedom fighter, Featured Local News & Views
Jeelani Shareef.

by Eric Hunter aka E Da Ref

We are living in the era of internet influencers and content creators. It is the information and communication age. The rise of technology has transformed the way we interact with each other. The fact that you can instantly contact people across the globe makes the world appear smaller and we are no longer restricted by time and space. 

Immediate access to everyone and everything is a gift and a curse. Social media can be used as a tool of empowerment, employment and entrepreneurship or a weapon of mass distraction, deception and deviance. I would like to present Jeelani Shareef. This brother has utilized his time, energy and skills to combat the economic exploitation of Black people through teaching financial literacy and building businesses from the ground up. 

E Da Ref: Tell me about your background and upbringing. 

Jeelani: My name is Jeelani Shareef and I’m from Portland, Ore. Most of my family is from Louisiana. They moved to the North to get away from the racist South. They came to Portland during the Vanport Oregon flood. Vanport Oregon is a historic flourishing Black Wall Street community that was destroyed by racist environmental neglect. I do so many things in life. I’m just soul-searching and finding knowledge of self. 

Jeelani-Shareef-and-elder-Erica-Huggins-of-the-Black-Panther-Party-, Jeelani Shareef, financial freedom fighter, Featured Local News & Views
Jeelani Shareef and Erica Huggins of the Black Panther Party. 

E Da Ref: You’re pretty much a jack of all trades. Give me a list of different things you do. 

Jeelani: I do massage therapy (certified through Everest College). I was a choreographer for most of my years. I’m an artist and I make jewelry. I’m a firearms instructor, credit repair specialist and business funding specialist. 

E Da Ref: How do you begin your journey as a financial literacy advocate? 

Jeelani: Honestly, I needed a new car and my credit was marketed to me. I did not have bad credit; I just did not use my credit or any credit-building product. So once I got the car, my credit score jumped to the high 700s in six months. After that, doors started to open for me to start creating multiple businesses and investing in myself. 

E Da Ref: What experiences did you have growing up that may have led you down this path? 

Jeelani: I was taught, “Money don’t grow from trees.” and “Don’t look, don’t ask, don’t touch.” As a kid, you create a scarcity mindset around money. You don’t believe wealth is attainable from what you’ve been told. My mother made sure I had things but I watched her work two jobs, leaving me home most of the time without her. I knew I did not want that for my children. I didn’t want to get caught up in trading time for money. 

E Da Ref: Name some of the businesses you own or helped start. 

Jeelani: There’s Marathon Tactical LLC, a firearm and preventive maintenance company that teaches the correct handling of firearms, home invasion prevention and situational awareness. FFB APPROVED LLC, which is financial freedom boot camp. It’s a financial consulting company that helps people better understand the banking system and how money really should work for you, not you work for it. I’m a firm believer in if you don’t chase your dreams, you will work for someone who chased theirs. 

E Da Ref: Which of these businesses are the most successful? 

Jeelani: FFB APPROVED LLC is the most successful because, like myself, 80% of what you need today revolves around your creditworthiness: from apartments, bank accounts, cell phones, homes and cars. So if you find a solution to whatever problem there is, you will always have a lucrative business. My consultations alone are valued at 5k. 

E Da Ref: How do you balance out the time for family, businesses and community work? 

Jeelani: Well, being I can do my work anywhere from content creation to working online, it doesn’t take much to do. My family knows when I’m locked in, I’m locked in! My family is involved in most of my businesses. My children have LLCs based around the business, so one has a clothing line “Portland Made Klothing,” and one has a photography and video production company, so when I need clothing, merch or content shot, I hire them and stimulate their economy. 

E Da Ref: What is your connection to Derek Grace and 19 Keys? 

Jeelani: DG (Derek Grace) is one of my mentors and guys I go to for non-traditional ways of getting to a bag and personal development. 19 Keys is another mentor [Alhamdulillah], who gives me good information on curating your own lane and standing on big GOD energy.

E Da Ref: What is Disruptor Academy

Jeelani: The academy is a one-stop shop, almost like an online university for my online courses, which include firearms training, home invasion prevention, tips on how to utilize AirBnB, Turo (car sharing) and Navy Federal (credit union), how to become an author in three to four weeks, home banking and life insurance management. So the concept is to disrupt your current way of thinking and adopt new innovative ways of thinking on how to become successful. 

E Da Ref: There is a new wave of “financial freedom advocates” on the internet. What sets you apart from the rest of them? 

Jeelani: What sets me apart from most of them is that I’m a revolutionary, and revolutionaries create opportunities for the people. To me, it’s about collaboration over the competition, but shout out to all my fellow colleagues. 

Jeelani-Shareef-in-the-field-with-troops-of-Black-Riders-Liberation-Party, Jeelani Shareef, financial freedom fighter, Featured Local News & Views
Jeelani Shareef in the field with troops of Black Riders Liberation Party.

E Da Ref: What advice would you give to any upcoming entrepreneurs? 

Jeelani: START NOW! WORRY ABOUT THE REST LATER … Just get started. If you know it took a tree 15 years to grow, the best time to plant a tree was 15 years ago. The second best time is … NOW! Go start young, fail and learn your lessons early.

Journalist Eric Hunter (E Da Ref), an Oakland native, is Minister of Public Relations for the Black Riders Liberation Party and Co-Editor of African Intercommunal News Service. He can be reached at