In 2012, Charles and Monique Carter created Hiphopoly as a customized version of Monopoly to entertain their family and friends. Then in 2018, the Carters saw the greater potential in sharing their game with the world, and more importantly, the broader African American diaspora.
“In addition to our vision of making Hiphopoly a global household brand, we’d also like to see the game used to help educate inner-city minorities on the value of property ownership, investing, and financial literacy,” said Charles.
As Charles explained, the primary goal of the game is to help players understand, life is less about the environment one lives in, and it’s not about the challenges we face in it, but “the decisions that we make, which are byproducts of our mindsets and aspirations.”
Some of those possible scenarios, noted Charles, is the “importance of voting and the effects it can have on our communities,” and “investing in oneself or settling for the government’s assistance.”
“I wanted to make it has realistic and relatable to the inner cities as possible,” he said.
In the early developmental stages, the Black-owned business approached an outside manufacturer about producing the game.
According to Charles, after many unreturned phone calls, the Carters not only felt disappointment, but also horror when they realized a copycat version of Hiphopoly was now available in Wal-Mart stores by the manufacturer.
“My cousin sends me a video of people outside of Wal-Mart trying to get in to get the game,” recalled Charles. “She was like, ‘You need to sue them, they stole your idea.’ I said, ‘I can’t sue them, but I can just make a better version.’”
To make the game better, he decided that instead of centering the game around one city, which was done with many of the Monopoly style games on the market, he would focus on “hip hop artists” and the “cities associated with them, and where they grew up.”
The reason, said Charles, is “many hip hop artists have their rags to riches stories.” This would play into the overall theme of Hiphopoly, creating scenarios and making decisions that can affect real-life. This approach would also pique interest using popular rap artists like Nipsey Hussle.
“The first one [hip hop artist] was Nipsey Hussle, obviously with me being from L.A., then I would venture out to Atlanta, and New York. All of the major cities,” he said.
Three years later, after several misfire and successful conversations with an array of hip-hop artists, some partnerships were forged and Hiphopoly was finally here.
The Carters continue to work hard at promoting and marketing the game. This included being vendors at events like the Los Angles Sentinel’s Taste of Soul Family Festival on October 15.
Sentinel Executive Editor Danny Bakewell was so impressed by the couple’s game and the message behind it he offered to publish a story on them.
For more information on the Carters and Hiphopoly, please visit www.hiphopolyboardgame.com.