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How MC Hammer Went From Bankruptcy And Losing It All To Becoming One Of Silicon Valley's Most Respected Tech Investors

If someone uses the phrase “can’t touch this” to emphasize how they stand on business, they owe a piece of their clap-back vocabulary to legendary rapper MC Hammer. Stanley Kirk Burrell, better known as MC Hammer, was more than just a rapper — he was a cultural phenomenon. An Oakland, CA, native who burst onto the scene in the ’80s and ’90s with his high-energy performances and flashy style, MC Hammer’s hits like “2 Legit 2 Quit,” “U Can’t Touch This,” and “Addams Groove” became anthems of a generation while his unique fashion sense, such as the balloon Hammer pants, set trends. The Rise Of MC Hammer In 1991, MC Hammer won three Grammys for the previous year’s work — Best Rap Solo Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best Music Video – Long Form. During this era, the rapper appeared in movies and television shows, was sought out to perform on late-night talk shows, and inspired fashion trends. View this post on Instagram A post shared by MC HAMMER (@mchammer) Although the rapper found...

Jun 17, 2024

How Many Pro Sports Teams Does Serena Williams' Daughters Own?

Serena Williams has positioned herself for a lifetime of success. However, as a mother, her children’s well-being also defines true victory. Williams and her husband, Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian, have two daughters: Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who is now 6 years old and was born on Sept. 1, 2017, and Adira River Ohanian, born in August 2023. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) Early on, Williams and Ohanian began making moves to establish wealth for their daughters. When Olympia was 2 years old, she made history as the youngest professional sports team owner. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, she became part-owner of the women’s soccer team Angel City FC (Los Angeles, CA), along with her parents. “As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front-row seat to this revolution,” Ohanian said in a National Women’s Soccer League news release at the time. “I’m personally investing on...

Jun 10, 2024

Ray J Reveals Shaquille O’Neal Invested $1.5M In His Music Career

Shaquille O’Neal once invested in Ray J’s music career. During an interview on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay,” the R&B singer-turned-entrepreneur reveals he received $1.5 million from the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player to support “Sexy Can I,” the first single from his 2008 studio album “All I Feel.” The single featuring Yung Berg would go on to become a top 10 hit on Billboard. O’Neal saw a big return on that investment , Ray J says on the podcast. “He gave us $1.5 [million] for the ‘Sexy Can I’ project, which was the ‘All I Feel’ project, and ‘Sexy Can I’ was the record to lead off. It sold 8 million copies,” Ray J told Sharpe. “We recouped the number back for Shaq, and I don’t know five months, six months, and everything else has been profitable ever since, so shout out to Shaq.” He added, “If you look at the ‘Sexy Can I’ video, you see Shaq in the video. He’s the one with the camera.” Photo Credit: YouTube/ MNRK Music Group O’Neal has distinguished...

Jun 10, 2024

At Age 16, Serena Williams Learned To Manage 'Huge Checks' From A Puma Deal On Her Own, ‘Empowered’ By Her Father

Serena Williams learned money management early on in her teens. Thanks to her father, Richard, Serena has received a wealth of knowledge to apply to the business landscape. In fact, during an interview on Bloomberg Originals’ “The Deal” podcast, hosted by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Kelly, she recalls receiving substantial checks from companies including Puma. Per Andscape, Serena had reportedly received $13 million over a five-year period with the apparel brand. What’s more, the task of managing those earnings fell entirely on her. “Literally, my first checks from whether it was Puma, like I got these huge checks. [My dad], he’s like, you figure it out. We had to figure it out,” Serena said on the podcast. “I’m literally living at his house in the bedroom next to Venus. I was 16 and he’s like, you know, most parents, you know, they take your money. They take something. But you know, he’s like, ‘You figure it out.’ And so I remember having to figure that out and having to learn how to...

Jun 4, 2024

Fearless Fund Barred From Providing Grant Funding To Black Women Entrepreneurs

Fearless Fund has been barred temporarily from providing funding to Black entrepreneurs. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the venture capital fund had been sued by Edward Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights group in August 2023 for “explicit racial exclusion” by creating a grant program dedicated solely to Black women, The Washington Post shares. Initially, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash had ruled in favor of Fearless Fund, but the verdict was blocked by a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Sept. 30, 2023. Fearless Fund, looking to retract the verdict, filed to appeal the September ruling. In the most recent update, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has temporarily blocked Fearless Fund from continuing its efforts to support Black women entrepreneurs with funding, CNN reports . The panel judges ruled the Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is “substantially likely to violate” Title 42 of the US Code’s provisions,...

Jun 4, 2024

Grant Hill Owns A Stake In The Baltimore Orioles, But Here Are The Other Teams He Has Maintained Ownership In

Grant Hill has diversified his wealth in team ownership. Hill had previously been a player across four teams in the NBA, and his time would conclude after 19 seasons. He accumulated more than $100 million during his playing days, and his earnings would only continue in retirement, CNBC reports. Atlanta Hawks In 2015, two years following his exit, Hill began sporting a new hat as a team owner. As previously mentioned by AFROTECH™, he became part of an ownership group headed by Ares Management Founder Tony Ressler, which acquired a stake in the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks from the ownership team led by Bruce Levenson, per Bleacher Report. The sale was reportedly valued at $850 million, reports ESPN. What’s more, it has proven to be a great addition to Hill’s portfolio as the team is now worth a staggering $3.3 billion, notes Forbes in 2023. Orlando City Soccer Club And Orlando Pride Hill widened his presence in ownership, alongside his wife, Tamia, becoming limited partners through their...

May 30, 2024

OpenseedVC Raises $10M To Support Operators Launching Technology Companies In Africa And Europe

OpenseedVC, run by Europe’s first Black solo general partner, has raised $10 million in its first close. Per its LinkedIn, the London, England-based firm exists to invest dollars in operators, those previously involved in daily operations of a startup, who are launching new technology companies across Africa and Europe. “We exist to back the most talented and experienced operators from day zero,” OpenseedVC Founder Maria Rotilu wrote on LinkedIn. “ As an angel-style fund, we are designed for one founder profile. Operators just as they take the leap to start their tech companies. We are driven by *pure merit* (hence the name OpenseedVC), and our goal is to back the most experienced operators and builders as first investors, especially at a time where the need to build truly groundbreaking and impactful solutions is critical.” She continued, “It is a tough fundraising climate, for funds and startups alike. However, we believe this is the best time to invest in the most visionary and...

May 22, 2024

Rosalind Brewer, Will Packer, And More Join Atlanta Falcons' Ownership Group

The Atlanta Falcons has welcomed four limited partners. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, Rosalind Brewer, Will Packer, Dominique Dawes, and Rashaun Williams are now a part of the NFL team’s ownership group. The additions come after the 32 NFL majority owners reached a final vote in Nashville, TN. Ahead of the approval, Brewer, Packer, Dawes, and Williams were vetted by the Atlanta Falcons, the league office, and the NFL’s Finance Committee, the press release discloses. For Brewer, in addition to being a limited partner, she will continue to serve as an associate board director for Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank’s Family Foundation. “ As I embrace the opportunity to become a limited partner of the Atlanta Falcons, I’m reminded that true leadership extends beyond boardrooms and onto the fields where dreams are forged and communities united,” Brewer shared in a statement. “ My journey has always been about people – their stories, aspirations and the communities we...

May 22, 2024

The Charlotte Hornets Are The Only NBA Team With A Black President, General Manager, Coach, And Assistant General Manager

The Charlotte Hornets are being led by a Black executive team. Following the selling of Michael Jordan’s stake in the team for a reported $3 billion in June 2023 to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, as previously reported by AFROTECH™, it is undergoing new changes in leadership. On March 5, 2024, Jeff Peterson was hired on as the executive vice president of basketball operations, notes the NBA. Before this role, he had been assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Nets. According to a press release, the team cemented a deal with Dotun Akinwale, who has worked in the NBA for 11 years as an executive, to bring him on as assistant general manager. Prior to the title, he had been promoted to vice president of player personnel for the Atlanta Hawks. On May 9, 2024, Charles Lee, who boasts a decade of experience as an NBA assistant coach joined the team as head coach, leaving the Boston Celtics. “We are excited to welcome Charles Lee as the head coach of Charlotte Hornets,”...

May 17, 2024

Shaquille O'Neal's Big Chicken Restaurant Is Making Its Way To His Home State

Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken is heading to his home state of New Jersey. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, the former basketball-player-turned-serial- entrepreneur became a co-owner of Big Chicken in 2018 and opened the first location in Las Vegas, NV, alongside his friend Matt Silverman and agent Perry Rogers. Since, thanks in part due to its popular menu items including chicken tenders, various chicken sandwiches, crinkle-cut French fries, and mac n’ cheese, the business has proven to be a success and has adopted a franchise model. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 312 Craves (@312craves) Big Chicken signed a 20-unit development deal in partnership with H&D Group Investments to expand to Michigan in 2023, Franchise Times reports . Prior, a 50-unit deal had been signed to open storefronts in Texas, with locations already springing up in the city of Houston and nearby Richmond. It can also be found in California and on Carnival Cruise ships. View this post on...

May 17, 2024

Patrick Mahomes Ventures Into The Coffee Industry As A Lead Investor In Throne Sport Coffee

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a new business venture to add to his ever-growing portfolio. According to Boardroom, the three-time Super Bowl champion is taking his love for coffee to higher heights as a lead investor for Throne Sport Coffee, a ready-to-drink coffee beverage company that was launched Thursday (May 16). Putting his money where his mouth is, not only did Mahomes attend a nice chunk of developmental and departmental meetings for the company, but he also had samples of the coffee sent to his home every two to four weeks in 2023 to ensure that he was able to help the Throne Sport family create a “tasty, healthy beverage with mass appeal to compete in a crowded market.” “There were a lot of samples sent and the season worked out well,” Mahomes said. “We won the Super Bowl, so it must have worked. We’ve come up with a great product, and I think people will really enjoy them throughout the entire day, not be jittery, and not be sluggish after the coffee...

May 16, 2024

After Becoming The Youngest And First Black Female Partner Ever At GV, Terri Burns Is Launching Her Own VC Firm

Back in 2020, Terri Burns made history at GV (formerly Google Ventures) as not only its first Black female partner but also its youngest-ever partner at age 26, as previously shared by AFROTECH™. The promotion came after she joined the investment arm of Alphabet in 2017. Now, the history-maker is spreading her wings to take on building out her own venture. Fortune reports that Burns is launching her firm, Type Capital. “To the next generation of founders… you’re exactly our type,” Burns wrote via Instagram when announcing her new firm. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Terri Burns (@tcburning) According to Fortune, the 30-year-old was moved to start Type Capital after seeing a trend of venture capitalists investing in companies only after seeing fellow VCs show interest first, which she describes as “heat.” Burns aims to change the status quo by taking the lead and pursuing risks “driven by true innovation,” not by other investors. “They’re talking to amazing investors,...

May 13, 2024

Piersten Gaines' Pressed Roots, Which Is Backed By Naomi Osaka, Now Has Four Locations Thanks To Expansion To Houston, TX

Piersten Gaines’ Pressed Roots is now on location No. 4 and counting. Houston Chronicle reports that the blowout bar for textured hair has opened a new salon in Houston, TX. Located in the Centre at Post Oak, the new spot accommodates 50 hair stylists, the outlet details. Before having four brick-and-mortar locations in Dallas, Arlington, Plano, and now, Houston, Gaines and the Pressed Roots team did popups around the time the company’s vision first came to life in 2018, as previously reported by AFROTECH™. After having her share of poor experiences at hair salons, Gaines created the company’s business model to fill the void of access to affordable, quality styling for textured hair of all types. “We spend a lot of money, a lot of time in salons, and the level of services just do not match the money we’re spending,” Gaines told Fortune. “Our goal is to make quality hair care accessible.” Moreover, to ensure that hair health, time, and top-tier customer service are prioritized for...

May 10, 2024

Jay-Z's Venture Capital Firm Is Reportedly In Talks Of A Merger That Would Result In $1B In Combined Assets

Major changes may be on the way for Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners. The rapper’s venture capital firm, established in 2018, was created to build “innovative businesses and mass-market brands,” its company website mentions. Its areas of investment focus on sustainability, inclusivity, empowerment, accessibility, and health and wellness. As AFROTECH™ previously mentioned, its investment portfolio includes at least 24 companies such as Wheels, an electric transportation company; Hungry Marketplace, a food tech company; and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie brand. MVC also participated in a $33 million funding round for premier beauty brand Madison Reed in 2022 and backed 24-year-old technologist Iddris Sandu to embolden his tech incubator, Spatial Labs. “Aligning with Marcy Venture Partners assists with our vision for elevating the youth as it relates to access and a means to true technological empowerment,” Sandu said at the time. “The lasting impact of this relationship is not simply...

May 9, 2024

Michael Jordan Attends The Grand Opening Of The Third Medical Clinic In His NC Hometown After Donating $10M Toward It

A new health clinic has opened in Michael Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington, NC, following a generous donation by the NBA legend. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, Jordan had donated $10 million in 2022 to support the development of medical clinics to the regional healthcare system Novant Health, which will offer its services to both uninsured or underinsured residents of New Hanover County in North Carolina. Prior to May 8, 2024, two clinics had been opened to families in town, with two others in Charlotte, NC. Speaking on its impact, residents who have “never had a primary care provider before” have “praised the clinic teams for helping restore health and a sense of hope,” according to a press release, People reports. Now, the clinic will be extending its impact in light of a third Wilmington clinic, which includes 12 patient rooms. The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic has opened on Greenfield Street with the goal of bringing “much-needed comprehensive primary care...

May 9, 2024