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Op-Ed: The Words Of Encouragement From President Obama That Transformed My Outlook On Business And Life

Editorial Note: Opinions and thoughts are the writer’s own and not those of AfroTech. Five years ago, I started my business, Beaux & Paws, making bow ties, which are in my personal opinion – the perfect complement to any formal outfit. When I launched the business, I knew I wanted to do more than just sell a product. I wanted to make a difference. My idea sparked when I saw all of the displaced pets following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. Some of these animals were understandably not looking their best given what they’d been through. And while we know we shouldn’t, many of us judge books by their covers. I’ve always gotten compliments on how I present myself — my signature bow tie and dapper look is even how I got the nickname “Sir Darius.” That’s when I had the thought: what if, by wearing my bow ties, these dogs could find their “furever” homes faster? After all, who can resist a puppy in a bow tie!? I started by donating some bow ties to the ASPCA in New York City. Soon, I...

Darius Brown

Jun 6, 2023

Remember The Boy From The Iconic 2009 ‘Hair Like Mine’ Photo With Barack Obama? — He’s Set To Graduate

A full-circle moment was recently sparked between Barack Obama and a high school graduate, who is a part of White House history. Remember the young Black boy who touched Obama’s head in the Oval Office? Well, his name is Jacob Philadelphia, and the former president shared via Instagram that the two reconnected virtually ahead of his high school graduation.

Ngozi Nwanji

May 27, 2022

Invest Like A President: Here’s What We Know About Barack Obama's Stock Portfolio

President Barack Obama knows how to rule a country — and how to make money. Since leaving office in 2016, AfroTech has been keeping up with America’s favorite President and his subsequent money moves. Whether he’s teaching college courses, joining NBA Africa, or launching a podcast series with Spotify, Barack Obama has been working hard for the money. In fact, Obama has been richer than he’s ever been in his life. Since leaving office, he’s grown his net worth by $70 million, and according to some sources, that’s actually a low-ball estimate. Business Insider reports that the Obamas probably have a much higher net worth than $70 million. When fees for their speaking arrangements, a six-figure pension that all presidents receive, and their Netflix deal are all taken into account — not to mention their new business deals that seem to pop up regularly — the Obamas most likely have a net worth of $135 million. But Barack Obama doesn’t just make his money from speaking fees and pensions....

Little Miss Flint Mari Copeny To Be Honored With The Changemaker Award At The 2022 Billboard Music Awards

Mari Copeny will be receiving a special honor for her extraordinary efforts to better the Flint, MI community. According to Billboard, Copeny, 14, will become a Billboard Music Awards Changemaker at the upcoming “2022 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs), joining former recipients like Trae The Truth and Killer Mike.

Samantha Dorisca

May 4, 2022

Twitter's Most-Followed User Barack Obama Loses Hundreds Of Thousands Of Followers After Elon Musk News

People are leaving Twitter at alarming rates following the news that billionaire Elon Musk has now acquired the company. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the follower counts for high-profile accounts like former President Barack Obama (the most-followed Twitter user) and Katy Perry have seen a significant drop on the social media platform. “Obama, who is Twitter’s most-followed user with 131.7 million followers, saw his follower count fall by 300,000 since Monday, NBC News says. Perry, who has 108.8 million followers, lost 200,000,” the outlet reports. And, what’s more, the decrease is allegedly happening due to Elon Musk’s estimated $44 billion purchase.  

Shanique Yates

Apr 28, 2022

Biden Administration Plans To Forgive An Additional $6.2B In Student Loan Debt

The world is waiting on you to get it done, Joe! A recurring question for current President Joe Biden is when he plans to fulfill his promises of forgiving the student debt impacting thousands of Americans. That question might have been answered according to reports from Complex that a host of borrowers could be eligible for a new program that would significantly slash or eliminate the debt. The move is possible through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program which was launched 15 years ago to help borrowers working in public servant-facing positions which include education, health care, emergency services, and others. Eligible borrowers will be credited for up to 10 years of monthly payments.

Shanique Yates

Mar 10, 2022

From Lawyer To First Lady: Here's How Michelle Obama Earned A $70M Net Worth

Michelle Obama is nothing if not a legend. According to Forbes, she has “been busy cementing her legacy as an advocate for the arts, education, and, above all, nutrition. Among the initiatives from her eight-year stint as First Lady is Let’s Move, a nationwide campaign to combat childhood obesity, which included revamping school lunches, and the Partnership for a Healthier America, which will remain in effect after the Obamas leave the White House. Obama’s Turnaround Arts program, which brings art instruction to underperforming schools, will also continue, under the mantle of the Kennedy Center. But perhaps her most lasting legacy is, by appearance at least, the smallest: the label attached to food packaging.” But more than being a legend as a First Lady, Michelle Obama is an accomplished lawyer and public speaker. She’s an Ivy League graduate — a Princeton University alumnus who graduated cum laude — and an advocate for Black women. And according to Celebrity Net Worth, Michelle...

Did You Know These Celebrities Taught College Courses?

Some celebrities go back to school after they become famous — and some teach college courses. More than just “stunt casting,” though, these celebrities take their roles as “professors” very seriously. They hold office hours, design full curriculums and throw themselves head-first into the work they do for the next generation of leaders. Sometimes, too, the celebrities who teach these college courses are living legends all on their own. For example, AfroTech recently reported about Grandmaster Flash, the Hip-Hop pioneer, teaching courses at the University of Buffalo. He’s also an artist in residency at the school in upstate New York. “The residency at UB gives me a chance to tell Hip-Hop’s whole story. The sights. The sounds. The places and the moments,” he said, according to the University of Buffalo. “It’s important that we get this history right. For the next generation to take music and art in new directions, they have to know where that music and art came from, who made it and...

'Little Miss Flint' Mari Copeny Distributes 1,000 Backpacks To Students In Need

Flint, Michigan’s guardian angel Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny — also known as “Little Miss Flint” — provided 1,000 backpacks stocked with school supplies for the Flint community on Aug. 15. My event turned out perfectly despite so much going wrong leading up to the event. 1,000 backpacks 10,000 pencils 1200 packs of crayons 2000 notebooks Tons more supplies Filters Books Covid Shots Resources Inflatables Icecream and food truck — Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) August 17, 2021 Flint, Michigan made national headlines in 2015 due to concerns from local residents regarding strange odors and prominent discoloration from the water supply causing hair loss, skin rashes, and legionnaires disease, Natural Resources Defense Council previously disclosed. To retain funds, the city made a collective decision to replace water provider Detroit Water and Sewerage. Upon waiting for Flint’s pipeline to connect to Karegnondi Water Authority, the government officially ruled to...

Samantha Dorisca

Aug 18, 2021

What Is Barack Obama's Net Worth In 2021? Here's How America's Favorite Former President Makes His Money

Former President Barack Obama is making headlines this week. According to Axios , the 44th president is planning a blow-out birthday bash at his home in Martha’s Vineyard, and is inviting all of his celebrity friends. Invitees include Steven Spielberg and the legendary rock band Pearl Jam. It goes without saying, of course, that there’s a certain contingent that believes this party is evidence of a global conspiracy by the “elites” to implant microchips. And it really goes without saying that they hate the fact that Obama isn’t sitting home stuffing his face with cold Big Macs the way another former president is currently doing. Obama, however, made clear that this will be an outdoor event, that guests are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and that Martha’s Vineyard is considered a “low-risk” area for coronavirus infection. But if that isn’t enough to make a certain contingent seethe, his net worth certainly will. And at least his is legitimate, and not plagued by...

Ayinde Alakoye Plans To Amplify Black Voices Through His Live Audio Discovery App Nēdl

If you’ve ever had radio dreams, this Black founder is about to make them a reality. Ayinde Alakoye — a former speech contributor and message advisor to Barack Obama during a 2008 Presidential campaign — is remaining committed to the community, specifically the Black community. As a serial entrepreneur in the live broadcast space , Alakoye is no stranger to building apps. He created iHeartRadio’s mobile app and now he’s crafting his very own company from the ground up to better serve his community. Now, through his company Nēdl, Alakoye is on a mission to elevate more Black voices. The platform is a live audio discovery and creation app that allows users to start their own live call-in radio show with just the tap of a button. From there, the app transcribes, amplifies, and monetizes their words within seconds of them speaking. “If anyone can create a product for everyone, it’s us,” said Alakoye during a previous episode of AfroTech’s Black Tech Green Money podcast. “And so that’s...

Shanique Yates

Jul 28, 2021

Barack Obama Joins NBA Africa As Minority Owner And Strategic Partner

Former president Barack Obama has plans to take the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) presence in Africa to the next level. According to an announcement from the NBA, Obama is officially a minority owner and strategic partner in NBA Africa’s business, where he hopes to advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent. “The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” he shared in a statement. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people. I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and...

Njera Perkins

Jul 28, 2021

Startup Backed By Obama's Former Financial Advisor Raises $12M Series A For 'Uber Of Furniture'

A Harvard business school graduate has created the “Uber of Furniture” and raised $12 million for his efforts thanks to a little help from President Barack Obama’s former financial advisor. In a press release announcement, it was revealed that Cameron Johnson — who graduated from Harvard Business School — founded a company called Nickson in 2017. By providing “furniture as a service,” Nickson’s clientele can make their spaces move-in ready in as little as three hours. “Nickson was founded to enable frictionless relocation and afford people the opportunity to instantly have a place to call home,” Johnson said in a statement provided in the press release. “Our Series A fundraise represents a milestone that will be a catalyst for growth—we are now capitalized to meaningfully service demand and rapidly scale.” What makes Nickson have such a great “Uber of Furniture” model is its hands-off approach to moving. While the idea had its germination back in 2017, the COVID-19 pandemic made it...

The Obamas Have Created An Animated Series To Teach Young People About Civics

If this past election taught us nothing else, it’s that people have little if any understanding about American civics and how the government works. Now, the Obamas are looking to change that with their new animated series. CNN reports that the President and First Lady have created a new series called “We The People” which will be distributed through Netflix. Similar to the “Schoolhouse Rock” vein, “We The People” will “combine music and animation to educate a new generation of young Americans about the power of the people,” per the show’s official description on the Netflix site. The Obamas will serve as executive producers of this new animated series, which — though aimed at children — is suitable for kids of all ages. Music will be provided by such modern musical superstars as H.E.R., Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Lambert, Cordae, Bebe Rexha, KYLE, and Andra Day. Poet Amanda Gorman is also due to contribute her talents to the animated series. The new “We...

How Maya Penn Took Her Revolutionary Ideas to the Obama White House

When talking about Maya Penn, the question to ask isn’t “what does she do?” The better question is, “what doesn’t she do?” At just 21-years-old, the Atlanta native is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, animator, artist, and CEO. She’s spoken at the TEDWomen event in San Francisco, which was subsequently broadcast live on TED’s official website — after which she did both a TEDx Talk and two official TEDTalks. She’s an animator and an artist, and was named to Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders in 2016. Maya Penn is, in a word, a force of nature. But though she’s known as the CEO of Maya’s Ideas — a sustainable fashion company that she established long before it became chic to up-cycle clothes and accessories — she makes it clear that she prefers to be known for her work outside the industry. “The fashion, while enjoyable, is just one part of a bigger picture,” she told AfroTech. “I’m happy I’m able to do Maya’s Ideas. But what’s more important to...