Posts tagged with "Black History Month"

T.I. Launches Tech Cypha

This February, Hip-Hop Entrepreneurs are making black history by advancing the technology industry. Clifford Harris Jr, known as “T.I.,” launches a new syndicated investment vehicle called Tech Cypha with business partner Jason Geter and Brandon “BL” Lewis; son of late great boxing promoter and entrepreneur Butch Lewis. Leveraging technologies such as Airbnb, Lyft and Lime through the eyes of hip-hop culture, the team also launched a Los Angeles-based entertainment startup called Culture Genesis. Together, the new collaborative investment strategy allows high-net-worth individuals to participate in trending tech startup deals.

The strategy evolved when Geter and Harris made their first investment 12 years ago into a company called Streetcred.com, a site that allowed fans to go online and share opinions about street culture. While that first deal didn’t work out, Geter and Harris maintained interest in the technology and startup scene to create opportunities for their networks and promote new businesses.

“We learned a lot,” says Harris. “Now, we know where our demographic is.”

For Geter, that demographic is taking advantage of Atlanta’s surging position as a cultural and technological mecca in the United States. Indeed, Atlanta-area startups raised roughly $1.15 billion in 2018, a record for the region, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

“Being in the city of Atlanta and with Georgia Tech producing so much talent, and coming from us being within the hip-hop culture, which is always influencing and promoting things, we saw an opportunity,” says Geter. “In the past, we were always looking through the glass window and looking at ways we can participate earlier. And that’s by coming together to pool our resources so we can invest more.”

Through informed mentorship programs and partnerships, Tech Cypha will include using influencers in various fields. Currently, the syndicate includes Lil Duval, Killer Mike, Tamika ‘Tiny’ Harris, Tai Green, Korey Roberson, Stephanie Shirley, and BJ Kerr among others. As an industry leader, Lewis is known for his talent in branding, marketing and partnership deals.

“Often times, we drive technology like social media and apps, but we are never apart of the ownership,” Lewis continues, “Tech Cypha is going to be an investment vehicle looking for promising, early and late-stage startups to invest capital in, assist with marketing and give branding directions. It’s our way of bridging the gap between the culture and technology.”

Solange Highlight’s African American Disabilities

As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African Americans with disabilities. Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African Americans with disabilities. The full piece provides statistics relating to employment, education, criminal justice and more.

Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. RespectAbility will be sharing content throughout this month – and throughout the entire year – highlighting additional African Americans with disabilities, including some personal pieces from our own team members.     

INCREASING DISABILITY INCLUSION IN HOLLYWOOD

Maya Angelou, Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations

– Tameir Yeheyes, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

Maya Angelou had selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma they endured. In the five-year span that she experienced this, her listening, observing and memorizing skills improved and her love of books expanded. This helped her later when she began working in becoming successful in her career.

Halle Berry: Living with Disability While Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Halle Berry is an advocate for ending violence against women, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, and has been fighting for virtually her whole life.

Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott ‘Works it,’ Serves as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

At the height of her career, Missy Elliott experienced a dramatic and dangerous weight loss; she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which attacks the thyroid.

Deafblind Lawyer Haben Girma Advocates for Disability Rights

– Ryan Knight, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

The first Deafblind person to graduate from law school, Haben Girma stated that removing barriers for herself helped in her journey to becoming a disability advocate. Her disability advocacy is not restricted to education; she also uses the media to decrease the stigma in the community.

Whoopi Goldberg: Talented Actress, Comedienne and Talk Show Host Lives with Dyslexia

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Reading scripts and writing books as often as Goldberg does was hard at first with her dyslexia. Like she did in elementary school, Goldberg found it easiest to have someone read to her so she could memorize the lines for her scripts. For her books, she dictates instead of writing before sitting down with an editor to adjust the language.

Actress with Cerebral Palsy Diana Elizabeth Jordan is Veteran of 17 Shows, Shorts and Movies

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Diana Elizabeth Jordan, actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.

Solange Knowles: Role Model for African American Performers with Disabilities

– Bryan Munguia, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.

Jenifer Lewis of ‘Black-ish’ has Coped with Bipolar Disorder by Doing the Work

– Litsa Dremousis, The Washington Post

Jenifer Lewis resisted the diagnosis at first and refused to take medication until a self-described nervous breakdown left her convulsing in sobs, a hostage to her untreated neurochemistry. A quarter-century later, she is thriving and happy because, as she says, she “does the work.”

 

SambaFunk! Perform at Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally

Bay Area artscollective SambaFunk! performed Sunday, January 27th as part of the Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally in Oakland.

Theo Aytchan Williams, Samba Funk! Artistic Director said, “We are beyond honored to have been invited to participate in this historic moment in time by performing at the Senator Harris for President Campaign Rally.”

The group recently released a new version of the classic “Lift Every Voice & Sing” to coincide with Black History Month in February and to celebrate the song’s 120th Anniversary.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” often referred to as the “Black National Anthem”, was originally written as a poem in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson to be recited by 500 students at the Stranton School in Jacksonville, Florida as a welcoming poem to educator Booker T. Washington in commemorate of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It was later put to music by John Rosamond Johnson and adopted as the Black National Anthem by the NAACP.

The SambaFunk! version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” comes on the 120th anniversary of the song being written in hopes that the new release will shine a light on the Black Experience and ignite a sense of pride among Black and oppressed people worldwide. Historically music often plays a significant role in bringing people together for positive change. The group hopes this song evokes conversations between Americans of all backgrounds.

Williams said, “2019 is the perfect time for the message of this monumental work to be heard around the world to help raise our collective consciousness and present a living example of how music can play a significant role in unification.”

Many are already celebrating the song and its goodwill message including several NBA teams who will be performing the song as part of their Black History Month presentations.

Samba Funk! will also be seen in the EPIX documentary series, Elvis Goes There on February 11th with host film critic Elvis Mitchell, performing “Lift Every Voice & Sing”.

Mastered in the world-renowned Bernie Grundman studio in Hollywood, the song was released Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, January 20th and is available wherever music is sold and streamed.

To learn more about Samba Funk! and listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, visit the website at sambafunk.com.

Future Black History

Fuse and FM commemorate Black History Month with a month-long, multiplatform celebration of Future Black History makers from the worlds of music, entertainment and social influence.

To kick off the month, Fuse, FM and the Fuse digital platforms will premiere exclusive short form video interviews with artists Kyle and Ty Dolla $ign exploring the future of black music history and showcasing the influences and inspirations of African American artists on the rise.

**Check out the Fuse YouTube channel to see what future black history means to rapper Kyle, the legacy he wants to create, and why watching P. Diddy dance empowers him.

Also this month, Fuse and FM will highlight established and emerging artists including Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Solange with a Future Black History music block airing on FM on Friday, February 2 at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT and Fuse on Friday, February 9 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

And the Fuse digital platforms keep the celebration going all month long, as Fuse honors superstar and rising musicians, film and TV stars, and creators with spotlight profiles, interviews, playlists, social-focused media and in-depth essays that highlight how and where these individuals are taking black history. This year’s honorees include SZA, Khalid, Cardi B and Lil Uzi Vert; must-know superstars of tomorrow like Daniel Caesar, Wizkid and Jorja Smith; actors and film stars changing Hollywood including Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Che, Chadwick Boseman and Marsai Martin; and those creating must-know content and honoring their culture like Jay Versace, Jackie Aina, Amber Whittington, and Ayo & Teo.

This year’s honorees include SZA, Khalid, Cardi B and Lil Uzi Vert; must-know superstars of tomorrow like Daniel Caesar, Wizkid and Jorja Smith; actors and film stars changing Hollywood including Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Che, Chadwick Boseman and Marsai Martin; and those creating must-know content and honoring their culture like Jay Versace, Jackie Aina, Amber Whittington, and Ayo & Teo.