Last week it was announced that Jay-Z and Will Smith were among the investors in a $165 million Series A funding round for the startup Landis Technologies. The real estate company, founded by Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit (both white men), utilizes a rent-to-own model targeting low-income black people (see website imagery) as their customer base. The deal was celebrated in multiple black publications as a net positive for the community. Though the company claims to offer credit and savings counseling as a vehicle to shepherding their clients into homeownership and a key differentiator from similar companies, the rent-to-own model has been reported on extensively as predatory and harmful, specifically for the black community. Today’s action is to read two articles, one from the Atlantic, the other from NPR, on the recent and distant history of this form of predatory lending.