Woman who got $50K scholarship in Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ video earns masters degree

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James standing with her graduation cap and shawl in a white dress after winning the drake gods plan scholarship

By , The Grio

Destiny James, a young woman who received a $50K donation from Drake in 2018, is celebrating a full circle moment and the “God’s Plan” rapper is too.

This week, the 23-year-old Denmark, South Carolina native shared that she was graduating from a master’s program in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Mama, I mastered it. Daddy, I did it. 4 days until I am officially UNC Alum,” James wrote in her Instagram post. Drizzy congratulated her in the comments.

“LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DES,” the Toronto rapper wrote. Drake also posted a photo of him and James on his Instagram story, REVOLT reports.

James began her undergraduate studies in 2015. After appearing in the music video for Drake’s 2018 single “God’s Plan,” James used the $50K scholarship to complete her bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Miami and she graduated from there in 2019. James never applied to the scholarship but her story made it to the right university administrators who ultimately positioned her to feature in Drake’s video, E! Entertainment reports.

Back in 2018, James shared her gratitude on social media, saying the rap artist’s donation was an epic surprise. “Drake told me that he has read great things about me and appreciates how hard I’ve worked through so many trials and decided to give me $50K for my tuition. @champagnepapi THANK YOU SO MUCH!!’ You don’t understand what this means to me!,” said James.

The “God’s Plan” music video, which was directed by Karena Evans and now has well over a billion views on YouTube, captures James’ reaction along with other recipients of the four-time Grammy award winner’s generosity. The University of Miami’s picturesque campus is juxtaposed with the everyday economic struggles shown in stores, schools, churches, and other parts of the city that Drake visits.

As theGrio previously reported, Drake brought both the party and the money to students at the University of Miami and Miami Senior High School. In addition to his donation to James, the rapper wrote a $25,000 check to the high school and also promised to “design new school uniforms,” according to the Miami Herald.

Click here to read the full article on The Grio.

Lil Nas X Conquered Pop On His Own Terms

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Lil Nas X Conquered Pop On His Own Terms

BY CHRIS DEVILLE, Stereogum

Lil Nas X was going to be a one-hit wonder. This much seemed obvious to me. “Old Town Road” had all the makings of a fleeting career. A half-rap, half-country novelty hit about a lean-drinking cowboy who’ll ride ’til he drops, made viral through savvy promotion on TikTok and Twitter, buoyed by controversy over whether it should qualify for Billboard‘s country charts, then sent into overdrive by a remix featuring the “Achy Breaky Heart” guy — it was more a meme than a song, a joyous joke adults and children alike could be in on. After the track spent a record-breaking 19 weeks at #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100, its momentum extended by an assortment of star-studded alternate remixes and videos, it also started to seem like an albatross. Despite everything the “Old Town Road” saga said about this guy’s musical and promotional skills, it was hard to imagine where he could possibly go next. But Montero Hill is nothing if not imaginative.

At this point, about two years after “Old Town Road” ended its run at #1, not only is Lil Nas X not a one-hit wonder, he’s one of the surest things in mainstream music. He nabbed a Album Of The Year nomination for an EP. He landed three more songs in the top five, including one that debuted at #1 and another that was only blocked from the top of the chart by an aggressive BTS stan campaign. He has expertly stirred controversy with some of the most vividly rendered music videos in recent memory and strategically outrageous merch, weaponizing his sexuality, inciting a lawsuit from one of the world’s largest corporations, and throwing in some satanic panic for good measure. His debut album Montero will surely spin off more hits, partially because it shows him wielding the ruling rap, pop, and rock sounds of the moment with expertise. “Funny how you said it was the end,” he raps on “Industry Baby” in a rebuke of skeptics like me. “Then I went did it again.”

Even LNX’s most fervent supporters would agree his promo acumen has been inextricable from his success. During the Montero cycle, that has included descending into hell for sex with Satan, leading a jailhouse full of naked men through a dick-swinging dance routine, donning a prosthetic pregnancy bump ahead of “birthing” the new album, and selling modified Nikes that feature pentagrams and drops of human blood. As he puts it on one song featuring his fellow attention magnet Doja Cat, “I’m just tryna be the daily scoop.” But Montero, released last Friday, affirms that he’s musically adept as well. The album is hooky and energetic, with versatile songwriting and production that maintains a recognizable imprint despite all the genre morphing. Although parts of it edge up to the cheesier corners of the modern pop landscape, it’s an undeniably fun, engaging debut with some depth to it — the kind of album that bodes well for a young star’s future.

Lyrically, Montero largely presents a mix of “hell yeah I’m famous now” and “oh shit I’m famous now” common among budding superstars, delivered with a personal touch and some raw vulnerability that adds some freshness to the usual proceedings. That he’s achieved this success as a gay Black man makes elements of the album’s story feel culturally significant and new, starting right up front with a lustfully flirtatious #1 single named for the queer coming of age movie Call Me By Your Name. As others have pointed out, queerness colors the darker, heavier side of the album as well. Throughout, Lil Nas X revels in the pursuit of both fleeting pleasure and more enduring partnership. But there’s real pain on display too, as on the moody standout “Dead Right Now,” which finds him spitefully telling his old acquaintances, “You know you never used to call/ Keep it that way now.”

Click here to read the full article on Stererogum.

Maia Chaka Is The 1st Black Woman To Officiate An NFL Game

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Line judge Maia Chaka signals during the game between the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 12 in Charlotte, N.C. Chaka made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

By Dana Farrington NPR

Maia Chaka has made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

She said ahead of Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers that it would be a proud moment.

“This historic moment to me is an honor and it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America, proving that I can defy the odds and overcome,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL.

She said she hopes she can inspire and empower others “to step outside the box and to do something different.” Chaka is the second woman hired as a full-time NFL official. The first was Sarah Thomas, who refereed the Super Bowl this year.

The NFL hired its first Black official, Burl Toler, in 1965.

When the announcement came in March that she would be added to the NFL officiating roster, Chaka said she was personally honored.

“But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,” she said. “It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

Chaka has made a career officiating college football and is a health and physical education teacher in Virginia Beach public schools. She joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014.

The Undefeated reports that Chaka has the words “hustle, grind, conquer, dominate” on a wall in her office, and that her first dream as a kid was actually to be the first woman in the NBA.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

In New York, Eight Young Bipoc And LGBTQ+ Artists Take Over The Subway

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VMAS IN NEW YORK, EIGHT YOUNG BIPOC AND LGBTQ+ ARTISTS TAKE OVER THE SUBWAY

By Virginia Lowman, MTV

During a chaotic year that has laid bare the divisive inequities within our society, music and art have often served as universal entities to ground us, tell our stories, and provide a sense of escape. Now, a new exhibition hosted by MTV pays homage to that sense of unity. Nestled appropriately within the belowground subway station at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue terminal at Barclays Center — that great mixing pot where riders from all walks of life brush elbows on a communal commute, as well as the initially planned home of the 2020 VMAs — the show takes over public advertising spaces to amplify the diverse work of eight emerging visual artists working in a variety of media.

Conceptualized by MTV’s Rich Tu, Vice President of Digital Design, and Antonia Baker, Senior Director of Marketing, who were inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests that took place at Barclays Center earlier in the summer, each artist submitted original pieces inspired by the themes of unity, music, space, and the future, which will remain on view through September 6. Where some works feature futuristic dance parties in outer space, others aim to combat tropes that lead people to view BIPOC communities through an exoticizing lens. The result is a vibrant picture of youth and the beauty of the differences that exist between us, as well as a love letter to New York City. Here, the artists share their stories, the inspiration for their work, and more.

  • Amika Cooper, Illustrator

    Amika Cooper’s exuberant depictions of Black women as divine beings are both a call to activism and a celebration of the beauty of Blackness and the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s important to me to refute the idea of the ‘strong Black woman’ and other tropes that limit the public perspective of Black femmes,” she tells MTV News. Working across digital illustration, 2-D animation, and collage, her art plays with space and draws upon rich hues: showing Black women as healers and rulers with lush curls or donning Egyptian headdresses as rulers of the galaxy. Raised in Toronto, she now calls Brooklyn home, but her West Indian and South American heritage is tightly woven into her work. “The culture I grew up on is the product of the unwavering ingenuity in enslaved and indentured people,” Cooper says. Her latest pieces lean heavily into geometry, “a reflection of the forces that connect us and remind us of the importance of creating, sharing, and repeating.”

  • Bronson Farr, Photographer

    For Bronson Farr, art is about making people feel seen. A photographer and director, his craft resides in the sweet spot between beauty and discomfort, with overlapping themes of vulnerability, power, and voyeurism. “People’s faces tell incredible stories when they’re being honest, even if it’s a bit scary,” Farr says. His work casts Black men in a gentle, intimate glow juxtaposed with a sense of reverence and longing. One photo depicts a man against a terracotta backdrop, his chest exposed, his view obstructed by buds of baby’s breath and a sheet of tulle that hides his face. It’s a playful subversion of stereotypes about Black masculinity, calling the viewer to see the softness and serenity in these boys. “My aim is to allow the viewer permission to see Black people, especially men, the way I do — wrapped in warmth, love, and light, and deserving of your protection.” Farr hopes his art takes people on a journey that acknowledges the experiences and feelings of someone who has “[gone] through some shit” but has found their happy ending.

  • Eugenia Mello, Illustrator

    When tapped to participate in the Atlantic Avenue terminal takeover, Brooklyn-based, Argentina-born illustrator Eugenia Mello sought to “translate music into shapes” and create a mural that vibrates so loud a viewer can feel it. She explores the relationship between emotion and the body: Abstract shapes in deep primaries paint the scenes of a dance club alive with rhythm and heat. Her incorporation of contrasting colors and angular shapes adds depth to the image harkening back to a time before social distancing was the norm and when dancing in groups generated a feeling of electricity. Her work is heavily musical, pulling from an upbringing in South America and the Caribbean that was “bursting with energy.” She credits the grassroots spirit of the Venezuelan political climate of the early 2000s as helping her find her own artistic voice: “People would march, exercising their right of free speech by chanting and dancing with loud music,” she says. “Expression was with the whole body.”

  • Eva Zar, Photographer

    Eva Zar wields self-expression as a means of liberation. Raised within a traditional Russian-Austrian household, she uses photography to relay messages of empowerment and self-love. Focusing her lens on the beauty and sensuality of her subjects, her soft, almost retro depictions are subtly nonconformist. “A lot of my art speaks directly against the lessons and rules I grew up with,” she says. “I wanted to create art that shows different types of bodies and liberates women from the idea of only being a wife.” Her latest series exists at the intersection of music and performance, in one instance crafting an image of a dancer clad in black trainers and a neon tracksuit dancing on the stage at a Lynchian bar. Metallic decor and striking cateye liner are reminiscent of the heightened glamour of the disco days. Often incorporating her friends as her muses, her vivid portraiture captures the strength of the LGBTQ+ community; it is a reminder that regardless of what is happening in the world, “our community gives us space for an inclusive and safe future.”

  • Kervin Brisseaux, Illustrator

    Three words come to mind in viewing illustrator Kervin Brisseaux’s vibrant digital drawings: rich, conversational, animated. With a background in architectural studies, bold graphics and crisp lines are at the forefront of Brisseaux’s work. Whether he’s fusing cultures and experimenting with typography or scribing his own language into being, his work always has something to say. His art isn’t just about aesthetic pleasure, it’s also about tapping into discussions that are happening each day. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to not only provide eye-candy but contribute to the relevant conversations of today,” he tells MTV News. The three works he displays at the Atlantic Avenue terminal — a standout piece emphasizing the intersection of culture, art, and identity through the use of contrasting browns and yellows, as well as tribal markings on the face of a sweating subject entranced and empowered by the music playing through their headphones — highlight his bold style, presenting subjects as warriors who champion individuality.

Click here to read the full article on MTV.

Zendaya Opened Up About Refusing To Have Her First Kiss On Camera And Keeping Her Dating Life Private A Day Before The Photos Of Her And Tom Holland Kissing And Meeting Her Mom Went Viral

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Zendaya in a nude dress on the red carpet

By , Buzzfeed News

Ever since Tom Holland blew up the internet last week by seemingly confirming his rumored relationship with Zendaya, fans have been dying to know more about the Spider-Man duo.

But it seems that, for now at least, Zendaya is keeping her cards close to her chest, recently hinting that she prefers to keep her private life private — certainly easier said than done for one of the biggest names on the planet.

Gracing the cover of this month’s issue of British Vogue, the Euphoria star gave a rare glimpse into her infamously private romantic life, recalling her refusal to have her first kiss on-screen.

“I remember being on Shake It Up and being like, ‘I’m not gonna do this. I’m going to kiss him on the cheek because I haven’t been kissed yet so I don’t want the kiss to be on camera,” the former child-star explained.

And having gone on to make history with her Emmy win last year, Zendaya is certainly no stranger to life in the spotlight. But, despite her fame, it appears she’s remained committed to keeping her most personal moments away from the public eye.

Click here to read the full article on Buzzfeed News.

RED NOTICE Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds is coming to Netflix!

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The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Dot together in promo picture for Netflix movie Red Notice

An Interpol-issued Red Notice is a global alert to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted. But when a daring heist brings together the top FBI profiler (Dwayne Johnson) and two rival criminals (Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds), there’s no telling what will happen.

The high-flying adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the dance floor, trapped in a secluded prison, into the jungle and, worst of all for them, constantly into each other’s company.

The all star cast is joined by Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopolous. Directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, Skyscraper) and produced by Hiram Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions, Beau Flynn’s Flynn Picture Co. and Thurber’s Bad Version, Inc., Red Notice is a stylish globe-trotting game of cat-and-mouse (and cat).

Coming to Netflix on November 12, 2021!

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https://neflix.com

WATCH THE TRAILER!

STEM Internship Opportunities for Diverse Students

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diverse male student with mentor looking at computer screen together

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.

“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields

Facebook Software Engineer Internship

The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.

Microsoft Internship Program

For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

Minority Access Internship

The Minority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.

Google Internships

Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.

The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com.

Michael B. Jordan-Backed HBCU Basketball Showcase Partners With Turner Sports and Invesco

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Michael B. Jordan smiling at camera

By Angelique Jackson, Yahoo! Entertainment

Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming college basketball showcase, spotlighting men’s teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) added Turner Sports and Invesco QQQ as partners.

The newly named Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. TNT will televise the doubleheader competition between Hampton University and North Carolina Central University, plus Howard University versus North Carolina A&T University.

The event — presented with WME Sports (the sports division of WME, an Endeavor company), Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) and Scout Sports and Entertainment (a division of Horizon Media) — was previously announced as the Hoop Dreams Classic.

“I am thrilled to finally announce the four HBCUs that will be competing in the inaugural Legacy Classic,” Jordan said, announcing the latest updates.

“Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life,” he continued. “I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”

In addition to the basketball game, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic is also set to feature an immersive cultural experience that highlights elements of HBCU life and culture, including a band showcase, a live musical performance, college and career opportunities and more.

“We are excited for this partnership with Michael B. Jordan and all of the event organizers as we present the inaugural Legacy Classic,” Tina Shah, Turner Sports’ executive vice president and general manager, added. “We’re looking forward to having this unique opportunity to showcase these four college basketball programs, while highlighting HBCUs both leading up to and during the event.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Entertainment

Candyman: Horror reboot director Nia DaCosta makes US box office history

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Director Nia DaCosta, here in 2020, has made history with the success of her film "Candyman."

By BBC

Candyman director Nia DaCosta has made history by becoming the first black woman to have a film open at number one on the North American box office chart.

The director’s reimagining of the 1992 horror made $22m (£16m) in its first weekend in US and Canadian cinemas.

That is almost as much as the film – co-written and produced by Get Out’s Jordan Peele – actually cost to make.

Based on a Clive Barker story, the film is named after a hook-handed killer who has spawned a fearsome urban legend.

The new film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a visual artist who comes to regret basing an exhibit on the Candyman myth.

DaCosta only had one feature credit, 2018’s Little Woods, when she was invited to direct the latest instalment in the horror franchise.

The 31-year-old is currently working on The Marvels, the sequel to the 2019 Marvel comic book blockbuster Captain Marvel.

Candyman is the latest horror release to perform strongly in US cinemas as the sector recovers from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

A Quiet Place Part II was another scary success story, having made more than half of its $296m (£215m) worldwide haul from North American audiences.

Box office analysts said Candyman surpassed their expectations for an R-rated film opening in the Covid-19 era.

It performed better than had been expected even with Hurricane Ida depressing attendance in some southern US states.

Candyman also bucked a recent trend by launching only in cinemas, without a simultaneous release on streaming sites.

Films that have adopted a dual-release strategy, such as Black Widow and The Suicide Squad, have seen takings decline steeply in their second weekend in cinemas.

Candyman’s success came at the expense of action comedy Free Guy, which slipped to second place with weekend takings of $13.6m (£9.8m).

Click here to read the full article on BBC.

Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z makes rare comments about why he likes to collaborate with her: ‘She’s an incredibly hard worker, super talented, very inspiring’

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Cheers: Jay-Z made rare comments about his wife Beyonce this weekend. He said he loves working with her because she is 'super detail-orientated' and 'inspiring'

By HEIDI PARKER, Daily Mail

Jay-Z loves working with his wife Beyonce because she is ‘super detail-orientated’ and ‘inspiring’.

The power couple have collaborated musically, toured together, and, most recently, joined forces for Tiffany & Co’s About Love campaign.

And the 51-year-old music mogul has revealed why it’s so easy to work with his ‘super talented’ spouse.

Speaking in a rare interview with Entertainment Tonight at the 18th anniversary of his 40/40 Club in New York City on Saturday night the 99 Problems hitmaker gushed: ‘She’s super detail-oriented, obviously, as you can see from her work.

The star-studded bash was also attended by the likes of Megan Thee Stallion – who is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label – Swizz Beatz and Busta Rhymes, to name a few.

The high-profile duo’s romance is the center of the ad for the luxury jewelry brand, which launches on September 2.

In a statement, the Crazy in Love pair said: ‘Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate.’

The Destiny’s Child star and her other half – who have Blue Ivy, nine, and four-year-old twins Rumi and Sir together – have also created a dazzling film for the brand filmed by Jay-Z on a Super 8 camera, which arrives on September 15.

Click here to read the full article on DAily Mail.

Beyoncé Just Became The First Black Woman To Wear The Iconic Tiffany Diamond

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Beyonce wearing the Tiffany Diamond

By , NPR

Singer Beyoncé and her rapper husband Jay-Z are once again turning heads. And this time, they’re making history too.

The powerhouse couple is the new face of a Tiffany & Co. ad campaign “celebrating modern love,” the luxury jeweler announced Monday.

Photos from the ABOUT LOVE campaign — including several shared on Beyoncé’s Instagram account — are drawing admiration across social media, both for the stunning images and for the historic firsts they represent.

Beyoncé can be seen wearing a large yellow diamond necklace in the photos. That’s the iconic 128-carat Tiffany Diamond, which the company acquired in 1878 and rarely puts on display. (Audrey Hepburn famously wore it in publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Lady Gaga wore it to the 2019 Academy Awards.)

Beyoncé is only the fourth woman, and the first Black woman, to wear the diamond in more than a century.

That’s not the only milestone. Some of the photos show the couple posed in front of a large turquoise painting — Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Equals Pi. The 1982 work came from a private collection and has never been seen before in public, according to Tiffany.

This is also a personal first for the Carters. It’s the first campaign they’ve appeared in together, and Tiffany describes it as “an exploration of connection and vulnerability.” Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who got married in 2008, have a well-documented history of ups and downs, which NPR Music’s Rodney Carmichael walks us through here.

“Ushering in a new brand identity, this campaign embodies the beauty of love through time and all its diverse facets, forging a new vision of love today,” the company said.

Tiffany & Co. is also pledging $2 million toward scholarship and internship programs for historically Black colleges and universities, with more details on the initiative to come.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

JAY-Z’s The Parent Company hires first Black CEO to lead major public U.S. cannabis organization

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JAY-Z’s The Parent Company hires first Black CEO to lead major public U.S. cannabis organization

By 

JAY-Z’s cannabis company and executive Troy Datcher are about to make history. On Monday (Aug. 16), the Hov-backed The Parent Company, which houses his Monogram cannabis brand, announced that Datcher will soon become the company’s new chief executive officer.

When Datcher assumes the role on Sept. 8, a press release notes, he will be the first Black CEO to lead a major, public cannabis organization in the country.

In a statement sent to Insider, Datcher said the California-based Parent Company has a “unique opportunity to disrupt a sector that has disproportionately impacted communities of color — including my own — for far too long.”

“This is a chance to partner with cultural powerhouses like JAY-Z and Desiree Perez to rectify the wrongs of prohibition, eradicate antiquated laws and create a new cannabis infrastructure rooted in diversity, equity and justice for our communities,” he added. “Together, we can shape a legal cannabis industry that is reflective of our entire culture in California and beyond.”

Datcher will work alongside Hov, who currently serves as The Parent Company’s chief visionary officer. Both the 51-year-old mogul and The Parent Company’s chief social equity officer, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, have used the brand to lead initiatives aimed at helping Black and other minority entrepreneurs succeed in the cannabis industry.

“Troy’s business acumen, strategic thinking and leadership skills are invaluable qualities that will be critical to our organization’s growth,” Perez said. “He understands and embraces the unique responsibility we have to redefine the cannabis industry and establish a new precedent for cannabis entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.”

Datcher previously served as the senior vice president and chief customer officer of Clorox, where he worked for 20 years.

“Troy brings a wealth of invaluable experience driving high-volume sales, implementing growth strategies and a deep-seated knowledge of strategic brand execution,” The Parent Company Chairman Michael Auerbach said in the release. “His leadership expertise and perspective gained at such a prominent and enduring organization will be a significant advantage as we look to build the first 100-year company in cannabis, meet evolving consumer demands and create meaningful change in our industry.”

Click here to read the full article on Revolt.

Black women are finally shattering the glass ceiling in dance

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Dionne Figgins, artistic director of Ballet Tech, is one of several Black women named recently to leadership posts in dance. (Jeenah Moon for The Washington Post)

By Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post

Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell knows how it feels to be the only Black dancer in the dressing room.

“Everyone was friendly, but it was a lonely feeling that nobody looked like me,” says the former star of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recalling her first dance job 30 years ago, with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

“So when it came to styling my hair, I couldn’t rely on anyone to help advise me. There were so many little things like that.”

Throughout the concert-dance world, dancers of color have often shared that sense of isolation and difference. But in recent months, some significant appointments offer hope of change. In March, Fisher-Harrell began leading the company where she once felt so alone. As the new artistic director of Hubbard Street, a widely respected contemporary troupe founded by Broadway dancer Lou Conte, she is one of very few Black women heading traditionally White-led dance organizations.

Fisher-Harrell, who most recently had been teaching at Towson University and the Baltimore School for the Arts, made changes quickly at Hubbard Street. She hired four dancers of color, bringing the total at the 14-member company to six dancers.

Three more Black women have recently assumed dance leadership roles, in front-office moves that are rare in the dance world. Each has led a distinguished performance career in premiere companies on international stages followed by years as dance educators.

Endalyn Taylor is the new dean of the dance school at the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. A former leading ballerina of Dance Theatre of Harlem, an original cast member of “The Lion King” and “Aida” on Broadway, and a dance professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Taylor succeeds former American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe.

Click here to read the full article on the Washington Post.

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