Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Created His $1 Billion Fortune

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Jay-Z is seated in front of audience clapping his hands wearing a NYN baseball cap

Nine years ago, two unlikely lunch partners sat down at the Hollywood Diner in Omaha, Nebraska. One, Warren Buffett, was a regular there. The other, Jay-Z, was not. The billionaire and the rapper ordered strawberry malts and chatted amiably, continuing the conversation back at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway offices.

Buffett, then 80, walked away impressed with the artist 40 years his junior: “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.” This moment, which was originally captured in our 2010 Forbes 400 package, made it clear that Jay-Z already had a blueprint for his own ten-figure fortune. “Hip-hop from the beginning has always been aspirational,” he said.

Less than a decade later, it’s clear that Jay-Z has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire—and the first hip-hop artist to do so. Jay-Z’s steadily growing kingdom is expansive, encompassing liquor, art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber.

His journey is all the more impressive given its start: Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy housing projects. He was a drug dealer before becoming a musician, starting his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt. Since then he’s amassed 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy awards and over $500 million in pretax earnings in a decade.

Crucially, he realized that he should build his own brands rather than promote someone else’s: the clothing line Rocawear, started in 1999 for $204 million to Iconix in 2007); D’Ussé, a cognac he co-owns with Bacardi; and Tidal, a music-streaming service.

Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, the superproducer behind some of Jay-Z’s biggest hits, looks at Jay-Z as something others can model: “It’s bigger than hip-hop … it’s the blueprint for our culture. A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Golden Globes: Andra Day Becomes First Black Best Actress Winner in 35 Years

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Andra Day receiving Golden Globes reward virtually

Andra Day won the Golden Globe best actress in a drama trophy for her performance in Hulu’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday, becoming the second-ever Black actress to win the category and the first to do so in 35 years.

While virtually accepting the award during Sunday’s ceremony, an overwhelmed Day noted of her fellow nominees that she was “in the presence of giants” as she thanked those involved with Lee Daniels’ bio-drama about the immortal jazz singer for being “so engaged in the story.”

She then thanked the “transformative, dynamic Billie Holiday, who just transformed me with this role and with her presence and with her spirit.”

In the press room following her win, Day noted the significance of the awards accolade. “The thing I take from Billie more than anything is the strength of a black woman,” she said. “To know that the last person who won this award was Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple is so not representative of how many black women’s stories have been told sensationally and need to be told by the amazing talented actresses who do this.”

She continued, “On set, they’d say, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll never have to go through this again. There’s not that many meaty roles for black women.’ And I go, ‘Who the hell else has meatier roles and meatier stories than black women?’ So I take that strength with me. This woman shouldered all of this all on her own. She is the godmother of civil rights and I take that strength with me.”

Here’s Everybody Black Winning At The Golden Globes

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Daniel Kaluuya at the online Golden Globes award

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association may be under heat for not having any Black members, however it didn’t stop these Black actors and creatives from winning awards during the 78th Annual Golden Globes.

Within the first 30 minutes of the bicoastal ceremony, Daniel Kaluuya, John Boyega and Soul screenwriter Kemp Powers won awards remotely as the annual glitzy show went hybrid for the first time. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler share hosting duties from New York City and Los Angeles (respectively) and only the presenters appear live; all of the Golden Globe nominees are remote.

Although Black Hollywood has zero representation behind-the-scenes in the HFPA, they are front and center as presenters tonight on both coasts. Stars include: Ava DuVernay, Tracy Morgan, Sterling K. Brown, Cynthia Erivo, Tiffany Haddish. Spike and Tonya Lee’s children Satchel and Jackson Lee are the 2021 Golden Globe Ambassadors.

In the ESSENCE review of Judas and the Black Messiah, Kevin L. Clark writes of Kaluuya’s performance: “Kaluuya’s casting as Hampton caused some questions when the trailer for the film was first released—but in the role, he becomes a visual and spiritual vessel for the slain civil rights leader. The British star has brilliantly tackled issues of race in the majority of his previous works, including Get Out, Black Panther, Widows and Queen & Slim. But in Judas, he captures our attention with an emotional delivery and fiery portrayal of Hampton, channeling strength from the struggle, particularly in his “I Am a Revolutionary” speech leading into the third act.”

Below are the Black actors and creatives who were awarded for their exemplary achievement on-screen and behind-the-scenes. See who won.

Andra Day
For her breakout leading role in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Andra Day wins Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama.

Chadwick Boseman
Posthumously Chadwick Boseman wins Best Actor in a Movie Drama for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

John Boyega
For his performance in Small Axe‘s Red, White and Blue, John Boyega wins Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

Daniel Kaluuya
As Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya wins for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture.

Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste, along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, win for Best Original Score, Motion Picture.

Kemp Powers
When Soul won Best Motion Picture, Animated, Kemp Powers secured a Golden Globe for screenwriting.

Read the full article at Essence.

Ariel Alternatives’ Project Black Aims to Scale Sustainable Minority-Owned Businesses & Close the Racial Wealth Gap

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Business man analyzing investment graph and discussing plan in m

Ariel Investments, LLC (“Ariel”) today announced the launch of Ariel Alternatives, LLC (“Ariel Alternatives” or the “firm”), a private asset management firm.

This announcement marks Ariel Investments’ first foray into the private investment sphere in its 38-year history.

Ariel Alternatives’ initial strategic initiative (“Project Black” or “the initiative”) will have a mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses. Through this effort, Ariel Alternatives intends to invest in middle-market companies that are not currently minority owned, transforming these entities into certified minority business enterprises, as well as existing Black and Latinx-owned businesses. Project Black will forge a new class of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. The initiative will seek to position these companies as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies – supporting supply chain diversity. Project Black aims to close the racial wealth gap by generating jobs, economic growth and equality within underrepresented populations from the entry level to the boardroom.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMorgan”) has committed up to $200 million to be co-invested alongside Project Black for future transactions. This commitment is part of JPMorgan’s previously announced plan to invest $30 billion to advance racial equity. Over the next five years, JPMorgan will seek to provide economic opportunity to Black and Latinx communities by: promoting and expanding affordable housing and homeownership; growing Black and Latinx-owned businesses; improving financial health and access to banking; and investing in a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

The Co-Founders of Ariel Alternatives are Leslie A. Brun and Mellody Hobson. Brun will serve as Chairman and CEO of Ariel Alternatives and will lead the Project Black team. Brun is an executive with over 40 years of expertise in investment banking, commercial banking and financial advisory services. He is the founder and former Chairman and CEO of Hamilton Lane, one of the largest global investment managers providing private markets solutions with over $500 billion in assets under management and supervision. Brun is also Chairman of the board of directors of CDK Global, lead independent director of Merck & Co., Inc. and Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., and a director of Corning, Inc. and Ariel Investments, LLC. Hobson continues in her current role as Co-CEO, President and director of Ariel Investments, LLC and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ariel Investment Trust. She is also Vice Chair and incoming Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation, and a director of JPMorgan Chase.

Leslie A. Brun commented: “It is no secret that the racial wealth gap in America continues to widen, day by day. While we have been encouraged and inspired by the supply chain diversity commitments recently made by large corporations, we believe that it is time to accelerate these promises with real, measurable
steps. Our work will aim to bring operational excellence, financial resources, minority ownership and leadership to these companies.”

Ariel Alternatives’ advisory affiliate, Project Black Management Company, LLC, plans to invest in existing standalone companies and corporate divisions in the middle-market that are not currently minority owned, as well as existing Black and Latinx-owned businesses, with $100 million to $1 billion in revenue. Initially, the initiative will pursue 6-10 deal opportunities. Through a rigorous review and direct engagement, Project Black’s investment team researched the needs of Fortune 500 companies across industries. Project Black plans to focus predominately on healthcare, industrial, media and marketing, outsourcing, manufacturing and packaging, technology, transportation and logistics, and financial and professional services. The strategy will continue to be informed by direct engagement with Ariel Alternatives’ network of Fortune 500 companies that are committed to diversifying their vendors. The Project Black investment team believes that through ownership and ongoing counsel, future companies would become scalable platforms with long-term growth potential.

Mellody Hobson continued: “Through Project Black, we plan to ultimately disperse opportunity throughout underrepresented communities. We want to change the narrative and foster true action and demonstrable change. Ariel’s 38-year heritage was built on a patient yet urgent approach to public market investing. The same core values will be brought to Ariel Alternatives in the private investment arena.”

Ariel Alternatives’ investment team will be led by the Co-Founders of Project Black, Frantz Alphonse and Richard Powell, who will also serve as Senior Managing Directors of Ariel Alternatives. Previously, Alphonse and Powell were Co-Founders and Senior Managing Directors of APC Holdings LLC (“APCH”), a private investment and corporate development firm. Alphonse and Powell will partner with Ariel Alternatives and Project Black Senior Managing Director Charles Corpening. Previously, Corpening served as Chairman of Joshua Partners, a private equity firm, and he was a longtime co-investor and Senior Advisor to APCH. These three senior team members have worked in similar markets over decades and bring deep relationships with Fortune 500 C-Suite executives, board members and purchasing officers. This investment team has gleaned insights through extensive research that will inform the firm’s targeted investment approach.

Ariel Alternatives will also leverage strategic counsel from its advisory board on an ongoing basis.

This group has served on the boards of several Fortune 500 companies, and advised on several M&A transactions:
• Paget L. Alves: Former Chief Sales Officer and President of Business Markets Group, Sprint Corp; Board member of Assurant, Inc., International Game Technology PLC, Synchrony Financial, Yum! Brands, Inc. and Ariel Investments, LLC
• James Bell: Former CFO, Boeing Co.; Board member of Apple Inc., CDW Corp. and Dow Inc.
• William M. Lewis, Jr.: Managing Director and Chairman of Investment Banking, Lazard Ltd; Board member of Ariel Investment Trust
• Robbie Robinson: Co-Founder and CEO, Pendulum Holdings, LLC; former partner at BDT Capital Partners
• John W. Rogers, Jr.: Co-CEO, Chief Investment Officer and Director, Ariel Investments, LLC; Board member of The New York Times Company, Nike, Inc., McDonald’s Corporation and Ariel Investment Trust
• David J. Vitale: Former Vice Chairman of Bank One Corp.; Board member of United Airlines Holdings, Inc., several Duff & Phelps investment company funds and Ariel Investments, LLC

Ariel Investments was advised by Kirkland & Ellis LLP on the creation of Ariel Alternatives.

About Ariel Alternatives, LLC
Ariel Alternatives, LLC is a private asset management firm affiliated with Ariel Investments, LLC. It is an enterprise newly conceived for the times, built on a 38-year-old foundation. The firm’s initial initiative, Project Black, will have a mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses which will serve as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies – supporting supply chain diversity. Project Black plans to close the racial wealth gap by aiming to generate jobs and economic growth within underrepresented communities. The initiative plans to invest in businesses that are not currently minority owned, as well as existing minority-owned businesses, forging a new class of Black and brown entrepreneurs. Over the next decade, Project Black hopes to create 100,000 new jobs in disproportionately underrepresented minority communities across 6-10 companies. With scale, Black and brown wealth would grow from the entry level to the boardroom.

For more information, please visit Ariel Alternatives’ website at arielalternatives.com.

About Ariel Investments, LLC
Ariel Investments, LLC is a global value-based asset management firm founded in 1983. Ariel is headquartered in Chicago, with offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Sydney. As of January 31, 2021, Ariel’s firm-wide assets under management totaled approximately $15 billion. Ariel serves individual and institutional investors through five no-load mutual funds and 11 separate account strategies.

For more information, please visit Ariel’s website at arielinvestments.com.

Lauryn Hill Becomes First Female Rapper to Have a Diamond Album

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Lauryn Hill singing on stage wearing a black hat with pearls

Lauryn Hill’s 1998 debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has sold over 10,000,000 units; making her the first female rapper to have a diamond album. The Recording Industry Association of America announced the impressive feat on Tuesday evening (Feb. 16) and officially welcomed Hill to the elite standing.

“Welcome to the RIAA Diamond Club [Ms. Lauryn Hill]!” the organization wrote on Twitter. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is now a [diamond] (10X) certified album!”

With the certification, Hill joins the likes of Eminem, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., OutKast and Beastie Boys whose albums have also achieved diamond status. Other artists’ diamond albums include Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Adele’s 21, Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time and more.

Rock Hall of Fame: Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Tina Turner Lead Nominees

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Collage Rock Hall of Fame Nominees

The nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 are in and the list features Jay-ZFoo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, Iron MaidenTina Turner, the Go-Go’s, Rage Against the MachineKate BushDevoChaka KhanCarole KingFela KutiLL Cool JNew York DollsTodd Rundgren, and Dionne Warwick. The top vote-getters will be announced in May and inducted in a Cleveland, Ohio, ceremony in the fall.

To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to have been released in 1995 or earlier. Seven of the 16 acts on the ballot (Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Fela Kuti, and Dionne Warwick) are appearing for the first time, although Carole King was inducted along with Gerry Goffin as a non-performer in 1990 and Tina Tuner entered the institution in 1991 along with Ike Turner.

If King and Turner are inducted, they’ll be the second and third female artists to enter the Hall of Fame twice following Stevie Nicks in 2019. It’s also an opportunity for Dave Grohl to enter the Hall of Fame for a second time following his 2014 induction as a member of Nirvana. Foo Fighters and Jay-Z are the only acts this year to appear on the ballot in their first year of eligibility.

This is the sixth ballot appearance for LL Cool J; a third for Todd Rundgren, Rage Against the Machine, and Chaka Khan; and the second for Kate Bush, Devo, Carole King, and the New York Dolls.

According to the Hall of Fame, this is the most racially diverse ballot since 1996, as nine of the 16 nominees feature people of color.

“This remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artists and music the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates,” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Chairman John Sykes says in a statement. “These nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”

Per the tradition of the past few years, the Hall of Fame named the individual band members that will enter should their group get inducted. For Iron Maiden, they cited the current lineup of singer Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain, and guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers, along with former singer Paul Di’Anno, former drummer Clive Burr, and former guitarist Dennis Stratton.

Read the full article at Rolling Stones.

The Weeknd previews Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

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The Weekend giving a speach wearing black suit and tie for super bowl halftime show

We’re two days out from Super Bowl LV, which means we’re four days and two quarters out from the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show.

Ahead of the big night, The Weeknd, this year’s Halftime Show headliner, spoke with Variety about what viewers and fans can expect from his performance and appearance on Sunday evening.

After showing up in recent music videos and awards performances in head bandages, The Weeknd addressed the meaning behind the costume and how it relates to the character he plays when he’s performing on stage.

“The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” he told Variety of the signature look from his “After Hours” album.

Asked whether he is still in that bandaged character ahead of Sunday’s Halftime Show, The Weeknd added, “I don’t know, I’d have to ask him.”

We’ll get our full, or not so full, glimpse of The Weeknd at halftime of Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which kicks off from Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and will be broadcast on CBS.

Tiffany Haddish to Host Verizon’s Post-Super Bowl Concert With Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile and Jazmine Sullivan

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Collage of four actors to perform at post super bowl concert

Viola Davis, Tyler Perry and Regina King Up for Entertainer of the Year at 2021 NAACP Image Awards

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Photo collage of three African-American actors

D-Nice, Viola DavisRegina King, Trevor Noah and Tyler Perry are nominated for entertainer of the year at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards.

The nominations were virtually announced Tuesday on the NAACP Image Awards’ Instagram by Anika Noni-Rose (“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”), Chloe Bailey (“Grown-ish”), Erika Alexander (“John Lewis: Good Trouble”), Nicco Annan (“P-Valley”), and TC Carson (“Living Single”).

 

(Image Credit – Variety)

This is King’s third consecutive nomination for the top award and Perry’s second since 2014. Davis was previously nominated consecutively from 2015-2017. All of them have never won the top category. This is the first nominations for D-Nice and Noah in the category.

Davis also picked up nominations for best actress in a drama series for “How to Get Away with Murder” and best actress in a motion picture for her work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” while King was among the nominees for directing her debut feature “One Night in Miami.”

In the other film categories, David E. Talbert’s “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” led the overall film nominations with 10, with George C. Wolfe’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Pete Docter and Kemp Powers’ “Soul” right behind with nine each.

There were a few surprising omissions from the film categories, including Leslie Odom Jr. being omitted from the supporting actor category for his portrayal of Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami.” Aldis Hodge was the only actor recognized from the film. Odom was nominated for his turn in Disney Plus’ “Hamilton,” which netted a modest four nominations in the television categories.

Amazon Studios’ “Time” from Garrett Bradley also failed to be recognized for documentary feature, which has led with critics’ wins so far this awards season.

ABC’s “Black-ish” was the leading television show with 11 nominations, including outstanding television series.

For the music categories, the female artists dominated with leading the field with five nominations, and Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle and H.E.R. nabbing four apiece.

Many of the young hip-hop artists failed to be recognized in the outstanding male and female artist categories including Da Baby, Lil Baby, Roddy Rich, Pop Smoke and Megan Thee Stallion. Also, surprising is the complete shutout of The Weeknd following the heavily criticized snub at the Grammy awards.

Netflix was the leading studio overall with 53 nominations, with HBO behind at 31.

The 52nd NAACP Image Awards will air on BET on March 27 at 8:00 PM ET. Non-televised award categories will live stream over five nights March 22-26.

Read the full article at Variety.

Walgreens’ new CEO Roz Brewer on bias in the C-suite: ‘When you’re a Black woman, you get mistaken a lot’

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Rosalind Brewer standing on stage clapping hands smiling warmly to audience

Originally posted by Courtney Connley CNBC

Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer is continuing to blaze new trails in corporate America.

At the end of February, Brewer, who is the coffeehouse company’s first Black and first female COO, will be leaving her position to serve as CEO of drugstore chain Walgreens. In this new role, she will be the only Black woman currently serving as a Fortune 500 CEO, and just the third Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 firm in history. Ursula Burns, who served as the CEO of Xerox between 2009 and 2016 was the first, and Mary Winston, who served as interim CEO at Bed Bath & Beyond in 2019, was the second.

Photo Credit: Rosalind ‘Roz’ Brewer, president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club, speaks during the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Sarah Bentham | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Prior to joining Starbucks in 2017, Brewer spent five years as the CEO of Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart. As a longtime executive in corporate America, she’s spoken openly about the bias and challenges she’s faced as one of very few Black women in the C-suite.

“When you’re a Black woman, you get mistaken a lot,” she said during a 2018 speech at her alma mater Spelman College, which is an all-women HBCU. “You get mistaken as someone who could actually not have that top job. Sometimes you’re mistaken for kitchen help. Sometimes people assume you’re in the wrong place, and all I can think in the back of my head is, ‘No, you’re in the wrong place.’”

During the speech, Brewer recalled the time she was invited to an exclusive CEO roundtable in New York City when she was serving as the CEO of Sam’s Club. During the reception, she said, she met a fellow CEO and introduced herself in the same way the other men in the room had introduced themselves, “Roz Brewer of Sam’s Club.” After exchanging introductions, she said the fellow CEO asked her what she did at the company and proceeded to ask if she led marketing. Puzzled by the question as the invitation to the event stated that it was a roundtable for CEOs, Brewer says she responded by saying, “No, that’s part of my organization.”

After the man continued the conversation by asking if she worked in merchandising, Brewer said she gave the fellow CEO a “side-eye” as she was actually serving as the keynote for the event. “I enjoyed the look on his face when my bio was read,” she said. “It was a good day.”

Brewer, who was listed at No. 48 on Forbes 2020 Power Women list, explained that the CEO roundtable was one of many incidents in which she’s encountered bias inside and outside of work. “If there is a place where bias doesn’t exist, I have not found it,” she said.

Recognizing that many women experience bias and gender discrimination in the workplace, Brewer said that her biggest message to women in business is to “stay steadfast” and know that “your voice matters.”

Read the complete article here.

Issa Rae Appointed To Serve On Television Academy’s Executive Committee

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Upclose picture of actress Issa Rae, wearing yellow, at an event

By News One

“We are thrilled to be able to leverage the collective expertise of this talented group of Television innovators as we navigate this extraordinary time in the history of our industry,” said Frank Scherma, Chairman and CEO of the Television Academy.

Whether it’s through her television and film projects or her entrepreneurial moves, Issa Rae has continually used her platform to be a voice for underrepresented communities and now she will bring her knowledge and perspective to

(Image Credit – Issa Rae, News One)

the Television Academy. The academy recently announced that it has selected Rae to join its Executive Committee.

Rae’s well-deserved appointment comes at a time when the Television Academy is putting the focus on addressing the lack of diversity in the industry. Although there has been an increase in representation when it comes to actors, racial and gender diversity among television executives has remained stagnant. UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report revealed that 8 percent of CEO and studio chair jobs are held by people of color and 32 percent are held by women. The executive committee will include a collective of thought leaders dedicated to evoking change.

Amongst the new appointees who will serve on the committee alongside Rae are award-winning writer, producer, director and actress Gloria Calderón Kellett, ABC Entertainment Senior Vice President Robert Mills, Co-Head of Television at Amazon Studios Vernon Sanders, CEO and partner of Anonymous Content Dawn Olmstead and Chief content officer and head of worldwide video for Apple TV+ Zack Van Amburg. “We are thrilled to be able to leverage the collective expertise of this talented group of Television innovators as we navigate this extraordinary time in the history of our industry,” Frank Scherma, who serves as the Chairman and CEO of the Television Academy, said in a statement. “Their leadership provides invaluable insight that will allow the Academy to play an integral role in shaping the evolution of the medium.”

Read the full article at News One.

To Expand The Economy – Invest In Black Businesses

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skyscrapers with a pink background

For the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States, entrepreneurship represents more than just owning a business and pursuing the proverbial American Dream. Instead, the ability for Black people to participate in local, regional, and global markets represents a dream deferred by systemic racism and discrimination.

Consequently, an analysis of Black business ownership can offer insight into the degree to which America is truly the land of opportunity. Inspired by the work of the Path to 15|55 initiative, this research explores the state of Black- (Image Credit – Brookings)                                                     owned employer businesses (hereafter referred to as Black businesses). Using the Census Bureau’s 2017 Annual Business Survey (ABS), which replaced the Survey of Business Owners (SBO), we analyzed data at the national and metropolitan levels to compare Black and non-Black businesses.

The purpose of this research is to provide the empirical context that will make way toward a set of business development goals. Future goals will provide a shared vision among key players that can drive capital to Black entrepreneurs to start, maintain, and grow their businesses. This includes capital from corporations and philanthropies, support from political leaders, investment and products from financial institutions, and venture and startup capital investment from high-net-worth individuals. The potential economic and social returns that strategic investments in Black businesses can have for individual business owners, local communities, and the overall economy warrant an analysis.

According to the most recent Census Bureau data available, Black people comprise approximately 14.2% of the U.S. population, but Black businesses comprise only 2.2% of the nation’s 5.7 million employer businesses (firms with more than one employee).

Black-owned businesses are much more likely to be sole proprietorships. According to the 2012 SBO (the last year reported), 4.2%of Black-owned businesses had employees, compared to 20.6% of white-owned businesses. Black adults are much more likely to be unemployed, and Black businesses are much more likely to hire Black workers. This shortage of Black businesses throttles employment and the development of Black communities. Furthermore, the underrepresentation of Black businesses is costing the U.S. economy millions of jobs and billions of dollars in unrealized revenues.

We have yet to experience an economy that is inclusive. We can’t predict what would happen if the drag of racism was removed from various markets, but if Black businesses posted similar numbers to non-Black businesses, the country would realize significant economic growth. We assume an expansion in the size of the economy such that no gains in Black business revenue or size come at the expense of non-Black businesses.

Read the original article at Brookings.

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