“Broke Black Girl” is both a description of Dasha as a young single mother – her pre-TCG identity—and the name she gave to the caring online community she pioneered to help other broke black women to escape financial ruin.
The story of her 20s is painfully common among women of color. At 19, she went to work in a company’s mail room for less than $7 an hour. When she left six years later, she was only earning $11 an hour. By then, she had two baby boys and was the main breadwinner living with a then-husband who worked only sporadically and was paying child support for two other children.
She left the guy in 2014, once she was able to get a job with an insurance company that paid decently --$18.07/ hr. Once the divorce was final, he defaulted on child support.
By making good numbers, she earned bonuses that added up to $40,000 a year. Her sons were able to go to a free charter school and live in a pleasant neighborhood in South City, St. Louis.
But now she was earning too much to get any benefits from the state. She began falling behind. Her car was repossessed. To get her babies to day care before work, she had to dress them in their sleep at four am and run for the bus with one on her hip. Every day, she was afraid she wouldn’t make it.
Then one day she broke her foot. She couldn’t go back to work. In no time, she was broke in every way— physically, financially, spiritually. What saved her were three things: her will to survive, her willingness to make the shameful admission that she was broke, and social media.
“Social media gave me a free platform to research how to make a budget and restore my credit. Social media is the best thing about our generation. I cut back on groceries, buying clothes, stopped spending $5 a day on Starbucks— it’s the small leaks that do the damage.”
The favorite part of her financial rehabilitation was learning how to use a crockpot to make a $5 meal. She’d buy a bag of potatoes for $2, a whole chicken for $8, season it up and by the time she came home from work, the family had a full dinner. And the next night, the chicken was dressed up with rice and barbecue sauce, and became sliders.
Best of all, she turned her newfound knowledge into a Facebook group, where she admitted struggling financially. “Everyone wants to appear that they’re rich and famous or at least, that they’re doing just fine.”
That’s why “Broke Black Girls” attracted her friends, and their friends, and eventually 50,000 Broke Black Females as members of a group that started only in November 2017.
Many of these women have lost jobs and couldn’t afford necessities. Some have a police record, others admit to suffering from depression. Dasha introduces members to others in the same locale so they can share support and experiences. Dasha makes no money from her Facebook group. But she will consult with a member for $50, looking at their bank statements and suggesting a budget. It also brings her bookings for speaking engagements and paid partnerships with financial service providers from which she takes a percentage.
To celebrate all the hard work, 52 members of the FB group joined Dasha on a cruise to the Bahamas for a week.
Her advice reaches women from 32 states and 68 countries.
As a 30-year-old Millennial, Dasha has already become a prominent social media influencer.
But more precious to her was a comment by her son.
One day they were listening to a song “dedicated to every woman who thought she wasn’t going to make it.” Her youngest boy, Camryn, said, “I remember one day you were crying and you didn’t think you could make the bus, but you made it!”
“And that was the sweetest thing I ever heard,” Dasha told me. “He was eight.”