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How Shonda Rhimes Built A Television Empire And A $240 Million Net Worth

By now, just about every television and film fan is well aware of the genre-defining legacy of Shonda Rhimes. The prolific showrunner has created and served at the helm of multiple hit series’, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” and several others, and executive produced hit Netflix outings such as “Bridgerton,” “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” and “Inventing Anna.” Through these efforts, Shonda Rhimes has received universal acclaim, a Golden Globe , and a net worth of over $240 million, per Celebrity Net Worth . Shonda Rhimes’ generational wealth is truly a success story we can all admire, and her net worth tells a tale of her hard work and resilience. Beyond her financial successes in entertainment, Rhimes also maintains a diverse portfolio of real estate investments and other lucrative holdings. So, let’s take a moment to examine the life and work of the Emmy special honoree, and dissect the multiple streams of income she has utilized to create such...

Jun 27, 2024

With Various Partnerships And Deals, Skai Jackson Shares How Her Authenticity Keeps Her Grounded

TikTok has been at the center of many recent conversations. Despite its battles at Capitol Hill, the social media app is still one of the primary places Gen Z and others go for entertainment, recommendations, and news. Disney star Skai Jackson is among the people who have tapped into TikTok’s ubiquity. Jackson has been vocal about using TikTok and how it has impacted her personal life. According to a report from Blavity, the 22-year-old has a partnership with hair brand Cantu Beauty. However, her searches on TikTok taught her hairstyling techniques that would allow her to maximize the use of the products she promoted. View this post on Instagram A post shared by S K A I (@skaijackson) “I really feel like these products [Cantu] are so special because they took the time to answer everybody’s needs and deliver and put them into the product,” she told Blavity. She continued, “It’s just so amazing to see that there are millions of people in the world dealing with the same issues as me...

May 16, 2024

With Over 100 Patents, 74 Of Them Being Created While At Disney, Future Maker And Inventor Lanny Smoot Is Shaping A Better Tomorrow

With more than 100 patents under his belt, Lanny Smoot has never been afraid to take his imagination to the next level. As a Disney Research Fellow, Smoot is in a position where he has access to a different type of freedom — one that helps him explore different concepts and bring them to life. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, Smoot was inducted into the 2024 National Inventors Hall of Fame. He’s also the first Disney Imagineer to receive the honor and the second in the company, aside from Walt Disney himself. “To be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame means that you’ve made inventions that have changed the world in some sense, right? And it’s a great honor,” he told AFROTECH™ from his Walt Disney office in Los Angeles during an event to unveil the latest Disney Imagineer contributions, including the all-new Princess Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Animatronics.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Disney Parks (@disneyparks) “I didn’t know when the induction...

Apr 12, 2024

Lanny Smoot Becomes The Second Person From Disney, Since Walt Disney Himself, To Get Inducted Into The National Inventors Hall Of Fame

Disney Research Fellow and Imagineer Lanny Smoot has been inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame.          

Jan 22, 2024

AFROTECH Conference 2023 — Disney's Bianca Maxwell Notes That If You Can't Explain Your Product To Your Grandmother You May Want To Reevaluate

If you can’t explain the next big idea for your product to your grandmother, it might be a good idea to go back to the drawing board.

Nov 15, 2023

Disney Becomes The Latest To Announce Major Layoffs — Here's What To Know And Tips For Navigating The Job Market

The beautiful thing about fine art, specifically music, is that it speaks to the issues of the time. Often, those songs are made to address certain historic moments but end up being a case study of sorts for the future. It can be seen across genres in songs such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” or Walter Hawkin’s “Thank You Lord,” where in one of the verses he sings, “economies down, people can’t get enough pay.” Although some of these songs were produced well before the issues of today, they are perpetual concerns that society has found itself facing again and again. Those same messages are on par with the pain points many people feel and are going through. One of those pain points is the economy’s impact on the job industry, and it has now impacted what is known as the happiest place on Earth. According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney is part of the long list of employers recently announcing layoffs. The Florida-based company eliminated its entire Metaverse division. At its...

Mar 29, 2023

Jason Weaver Turned Down $2M Offer For 'The Lion King' Because His Mom Knew He Would Make More In Royalties

Jason Weaver says his mother saved him from making the biggest mistake of his career when he was cast for the original “Lion King.”

Nov 18, 2022

Here's How Dr. Dre Lost Out On A $4M Deal With Disney

If we told you that Dr. Dre was almost a part of the Mickey Mouse club, would you believe us? According to the New York Post, the legendary west-coast rapper caught the attention of Disney with his 1992 debut studio album, “The Chronic.” The album’s success caused then-chairman and CEO Michael Eisner to hone in on the rising emcee whose real name is Andre Romelle Young. “We’d have these music meetings every week with Michael Eisner at Disney, and Michael Eisner came by and he sees the record’s at No. 1 and he goes, ‘I thought you had a relationship with this guy?’ I said, ‘I do,’” Dr. Dre’s lawyer, Peter Paterno, explained during an episode of the “Connection is Magic” podcast.

Jul 8, 2022

Walt Disney World Now Has Its First Black-Owned Food Truck Thanks To The Husband And Wife Duo Behind Local Green Restaurant

Restaurant owners, Robyn and Zak Wallace have officially made history with the first Black-owned food truck to operate at Walt Disney World, per reports from Travel Noire. The pair, who is a husband and wife duo that took their Local Green restaurant to the food truck industry initially launched their business to take their health into more consideration after losing family members. View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Local Green (@thelocalgreen)

May 16, 2022

Jada And Will Smith Sell Westbrook Inc. Minority Stake To Former Disney Execs For $60M

Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, have announced the sale of a minority stake in their production company. Variety reports that the Smiths have closed a deal that sells the minority stake of Westbrook, Inc., a production company, to the as-yet-unnamed media venture that is run by Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, the former executives from Disney. Staggs and Mayer previously made headlines when they purchased Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company for a gobsmacking $900 million. The former Disney executives were represented by mega-financiers The Blackstone Group in the deal. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were previously in talks to sell the production company outright until that deal fell through. The minority stake in Westbrook, Inc., was purchased by the pair for $60 million, for a 10 percent ownership stake. And, Variety reports the deal values Westbrook, Inc. “at just under $600 million.” As AfroTech previously reported, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith...

Meet The HBCU Alum Who Has Been Promoted To President Of Disney Branded Television

In 2020, Ayo Davis was hired as the executive vice president of creative development and strategy for Disney Branded Television, where she had the authority to direct all live-action programming for scripted and unscripted series in addition to movies and specials. Under her role, the Dillard University graduate would report to Gary Marsh, who had served 32 years as the former president and chief creative officer for Disney Channels Worldwide. Well, it looks like Davis has been doing a stellar job within her role because, in case you missed it, she received another major promotion within the company in September of 2021, replacing Marsh as the new president of Disney Branded Television. In her new role, Ayo Davis will report directly to Peter Rice, the Chairman of Disney General Entertainment. “Ayo is a focused leader with impeccable creative instincts who’s excelled in every role she’s held at Disney,” Rice shared in a statement. “Her creative eye for talent has made a meaningful...

Nov 5, 2021

Walt Disney Animation Studios Taps Brandy Fisher-Blood To Lead Diversity & Inclusion Strategies

Dreams really do come true! According to the Economic Times , Brandy Fisher-Blood will now lead the company’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategies and will be responsible for overseeing diversity and inclusion efforts across Walt Disney Animation Studios. She will also serve as the primary strategic consultant to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ business leaders and creative leaders which includes directors, producers, and production leadership along with its Human Resources partners. Fisher-Blood will bring insight on the best inclusion methods that will help to broaden Walt Disney’s inclusion commitment both internally and externally. “I was 8 [years] old when the first BIPOC Disney Princess hit the big screen and no words can express how it felt to [finally] see an animated Disney character resemble me on TV, in stores, on lunchboxes at school, on t-shirts at the playground, and much more,” said Fisher-Blood in an interview with the Economic Times. Fisher-Blood will be responsible for...

Jun 16, 2021

Cordae Partners With Disney To Fund Scholarships For Underrepresented HBCU Hopefuls

Former college student-turned-rapper Cordae is using his musical influence to reward his fellow peers pursuing higher education. According to a press release, the Grammy-nominated rap star has partnered with the Disney Dreamers Academy and ESPN’s The Undefeated to fund scholarships for youth in underrepresented communities who plan on attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Cordae’s new partnership and noble act partially stems from his participation in the upcoming “Liberated / Music For The Movement Vol. 3 EP” set to release this Friday (June 18) in honor of this year’s Juneteenth celebration. When approached with the opportunity, Cordae expressed his desire to donate proceeds from the album’s release toward a fund for scholarships for HBCU students. As someone who knows the college struggle firsthand, the rapper feels it’s only right that he shares his wealth with others in unfortunate or tough financial situations. “So many people need the money more than...

Jun 16, 2021

These Disney Studio Marketing Executives Have Been Promoted To VP Roles

Walt Disney Studios just made a strong leadership move. According to Deadline, Anastasia Ali has been promoted to Vice President of Marketing at Disney Studios Content and Jan Coleman has been promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing Partnerships, Promotions, and Multicultural. Ali will work closely with all aspects of the marketing group to help with efforts to develop and lead strategic marketing goals for select theatrical films along with select films and series for Disney+. She is also the co-founder of Disney’s Black Employee Resource Group, The Bond. Together, she and Coleman co-founded rePRESENT, the Studio Marketing’s center of excellence which focuses on scaling multicultural marketing competencies and developing diverse talent. In her new role, Coleman will oversee creating, negotiating, and strategizing multi-platform brand partnerships across the studio’s multiple film brands: Disney, Disney+, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and 20th Century. As...

Apr 21, 2021