Fast Car, Inclusion, and Alpha

The Performance

If you did not witness legendary singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman and country music superstar Luke Combs perform her song Fast Car at the Grammys a couple weeks ago…pause reading and please go watch.

There was every reason to wonder whether the moment would actually happen. “It was a long process,” according to Grammys executive producer Raj Kapoor. Getting Chapman on the Grammys stage wasn’t your typical Hollywood “have-your-people-call-my-people” sort of deal. She has no publicist and maintains an under-the-radar existence in San Francisco. Chapman hadn’t given a live TV performance in 15 years.

But Luke Combs saw her. “Tracy is such an icon and one of the best songwriters any of us will ever be around to see,” he declared in an effusive tribute video ahead of the Grammys performance. “Tracy’s obviously written one of the best songs for a few generations,” Combs said of Fast Car. Harkening back to rides in his dad’s truck in the early nineties, he explained “it was my favorite song before I even knew what a favorite song was.” From his lived experience Combs knows, “it can be felt and related to by all kinds of people around the world.”

Inclusive Investing 

Inclusive investing is a massive opportunity for impact and financial returns. While there are $69.1 trillion of global financial assets under management across mutual funds, hedge funds, real estate, and private equity, fewer than 1.3% are managed by women and people of color. [i]

Confoundingly, the highest performing diverse asset managers could be the most adversely affected by misevaluation and under investment, according to a research study from Stanford SPARQ and Illumen Capital. [ii]  “Racial bias is still alive and well in our country and its system of capitalism, and the investment community needs to do more to counter it in order to live up to their fiduciary obligations,” co-author Ashby Monk explained to Forbes following the study’s release. [iii]

Our investment approach requires conviction in both our impact and financial return expectations. We do not compromise. In fact, we view impact as a source of alpha when appropriately aligned with financial goals. Investing in high-performing yet overlooked fund managers, underestimated founders, and underserved populations is a perfect example of treating impact and financial returns as “both/and” instead of “either/or.” [iv]


Inclusion is alpha. Luke Combs not only saw Tracy Chapman, he invested in her. He appropriately valued her, poured himself into learning her music, and secured rights to share her classic song with previously underexposed audiences. Combs’ cover of Fast Car topped the Billboard charts, earned him Country Music Awards’ Song of the Year, and made Tracy Chapman the first Black woman ever to win the award. Combs and Chapman also created one of the most moving moments in Grammy history. Quite an investment.




[i] Knight Foundation, Diversifying Investments: A Study of Ownership Diversity and Performance in the Asset Management Industry, 2019.

[ii] Sarah Lyons-Padilla (a), Hazel Rose Markus (a), Ashby Monk (b), Sid Radhakrishna (c), Radhika Shah (c), Norris A. “Daryn” Dodson IV (c), and Jennifer L. Eberhardt (a), Race influences professional investors’ financial judgments, 2019. Affiliations: (a) Stanford SPARQ, Stanford University; (b) Global Projects Center, Stanford University; and (c) Illumen Capital.

[iii] Forbes Magazine, Racial Bias in Investing? Just Look at the Data, 2019.

[iv] See, Pensions & Investments, It’s official: Diverse investment teams deliver outperformance – WTW, 2023. See also, Forbes, Outperforming Female Fund Managers Still Struggle to Access Capital, 2023.


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