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Usher's Nonprofit And IBM Are Offering Underserved Youth Free Tech Training

Usher’s nonprofit organization, Usher’s New Look, is working to make tech career paths more accessible for underserved youth. Essence reports that Usher’s New Look teamed up with IBM’s SkillsBuild program to provide young people who are supported by the nonprofit with free tech training including in AI. IBM’s free global platform provides educational pathways and content, particularly focused on career prep resources. “We serve more than 1,500 youth per year, and all the students we serve will have access to SkillsBuild,” said Usher’s New Look CEO and President Careshia Moore, according to Essence. “AI is being infused into every part of our lives, particularly the workforce. We want to make sure that our young people are prepared for what’s coming.” IBM Vice President and Chief Impact Officer Justina Nixon-Saintil chimed in, “In the United States, we very much focus on partnerships like Usher’s New Look, where we can to bring the free training, the expertise from IBM, even job...

Ngozi Nwanji

May 20, 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...

Shanique Yates

May 16, 2024

Mary J. Blige Steps Into The Footwear Market With Her Highly-Anticipated Boot Release And Sells Out Within 24 Hours

Mary J. Blige’s fans have been asking her for a boot collection for years. Now, the music legend has delivered on her promise. In May 2023, the “Good Morning Gorgeous” singer exclusively shared with AFROTECH™ that her signature boot line was on the way. “It’s in the works,” Blige told AFROTECH™ at the time . “For some reason, this is taking longer than everything else, but we’re gonna get there. Trust me. Everything else is here so that’s on its way.” The time has officially arrived as Blige teamed up with Giuseppe Zanotti in May 2024 for “The Mary Boot.” What’s more, she was a part of the design process. “Giuseppe Zanotti and Mary J. Blige have transformed their longtime friendship into an exclusive, limited-edition collaboration,” Giuseppe Zanotti shared on its Instagram page. “‘The Mary Boot,’ a stunning over-the-knee boot co-designed by the two talents.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Giuseppe Zanotti (@giuseppezanotti) During the 2024 Strength of a Woman Festival...

Ngozi Nwanji

May 15, 2024

Joe Budden Says He's Made About $4M From His Success In Podcasting And Offers Advice To The Industry — 'This Is Not Unimaginable If You Work Hard'

Joe Budden is getting candid about his career podcast earnings. According to Vibe, the rapper-turned-podcast-host recently shared that he has earned at least $7 million since he made the career transition, pocketing a reported $4 million from that after taxes. “Off podcasting, off of this?” Budden said during an episode of “The Joe Budden Podcast.” “All together in the whole 10 years? About $4 million… Gross is $7 million.” He also opened up about how he and his team managed to get to those numbers, noting that inking partnerships with various brands along the way has been beneficial. “Early on we were doing it for free,” Budden recalled. “Then we hit a little lick, Spotify. Then n—as left, the building crumbled a little bit, and my friends came and saved the day.” As previously reported by AFROTECH™, he shared the real reason that he walked away from Spotify’s initial offer. “In business, there are signs, for me, that show faith in a relationship,” Budden said at the time. “And me...

Shanique Yates

Apr 26, 2024

How A Designer Who Disrupted The Fashion World Thanks To A Virtual 3D Show Secured A Partnership With A Premium Bourbon Brand

You can’t place Anifa Mvuemba’s creativity in a box. Back in 2020, the Hanifa founder and fashion designer shook up the fashion world with a virtual 3D show on Instagram for her collection, Pink Label Congo, inspired by her home country of the Congo. From then on, Mvuemba continued to implement her self-taught tech skills into her work, as previously reported by AFROTECH™. Now, Mvuemba has taken her fashion expertise into new territory — the spirits industry. In February 2024, it was announced that she and Sergio Hudson are partnering with premium bourbon brand Woodford Reserve. During a New York Fashion Week (NYFW) dinner, Mvuemba spoke about previously feeling like she was approached by brands for their own gain and image, per WWD. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Anifa M (@anifam) In an email interview with AFROTECH™, Mvuemba shared , “As a Black designer, navigating the barriers that come with being shortlisted for collaborations merely to fulfill a diversity...

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 25, 2024

Grant Hill Partners With Dendreon Pharmaceuticals To 'Educate Black Men About The Burden Of Prostate Cancer'

Dendreon Pharmaceuticals, a leader in the fight against prostate cancer, has announced a new partnership with Grant Hill. In a press release announcement, it was revealed that the immunotherapy company and the seven-time NBA All-Star and sports broadcaster have teamed up to launch Start Strong, a new initiative to help individuals make decisions with health in mind. Start Strong aims to empower the prostate cancer community to learn about the racial disparities within prostate cancer incidence in the United States and encourage patients to talk to their physicians about the best treatments for them. Statistically, one in seven Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. What’s more, Black men tend to be diagnosed at a younger age and with a more severe prognosis compared to other men. And for this reason, Dendreon enlisted the aid of Grant Hill to help spread the word. “Prostate cancer is a risk for all men, but it disproportionately impacts Black men. In...

Virgil Abloh Is Getting 'A Seat At The Table' Through LVMH's Majority Stake In Off-White™

Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is giving Virgil Abloh’s Off-White™ brand the ultimate co-sign to forge one of the most powerful partnerships in the fashion world. According to a press release, LVMH has announced that the conglomerate has acquired a majority stake of 60 percent in Off-White™ — Abloh’s popular luxury streetwear brand he founded in 2013. Together, the two will expand new and existing brands beyond the fashion umbrella. The acquisition deal has the potential to make Abloh the most powerful Black executive at the world’s most powerful luxury goods group. The New York Times reports that Abloh’s new leadership role will include working across various categories such as wine and spirits — Krug, Dom Pérignon and Hennessy, among 30 brands); hospitality (over 50 hotels); smashing silos and bringing in more diverse voices to a variety of brands. “I’m getting a seat at the table,” Abloh told the outlet in a Zoom interview. “The idea is to develop a trajectory I wish I had...

Njera Perkins

Jul 20, 2021

HBCU Alumni-Founded Music Breakr Partners With Rolling Loud To Help Indie Artists Launch Their Careers

Emerging indie artists are about to get the opportunity of a lifetime at one of the biggest global live music phenomenons this summer, and an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alumni-founded company is behind it all. Music Breakr — a new platform connecting artists and influencers to help “break” new music — has teamed up with Rolling Loud — the biggest festival brand in Hip-Hop — and digital finance platform Ahead for a two-year partnership to commence “Ahead Start to Rolling Loud,” a contest that offers aspiring artists the opportunity to perform live at Rolling Loud Miami 2021. This time around, the contest itself — presented in partnership with both Music Breakr and Black content creator house Collab Crib — invited any and all up-and-coming rappers to showcase their talents via Instagram for a chance to submit an original song to be judged by the Breakr team. All artists who submitted their music were then boiled down to eight finalists before one lucky artist was...

Njera Perkins

Jul 16, 2021

2 Chainz's GAS Cannabis Partners With Black-Owned Cannabis DTC Tech Platform

Rapper 2 Chainz is expanding his business ties in the cannabis space through a new partnership with a fellow Black-owned business. GAS Cannabis — a premium brand launched by 2 Chainz back in 2018 — is now teaming up with direct-to-consumer cannabis lifestyle technology platform CampNova in an exclusive partnership, a press release reports. As part of the partnership, CampNova will serve as an exclusive delivery and sourcing partner for Gas Cannabis to provide an easier and elevated shopping experience for consumers looking for quality cannabis products. “CampNova combines all the online shopping experience and technology of Amazon for shopping, UberEATS for fast delivery and FashionNova for influencer lifestyle,” CampNova co-founder and chief marketing officer Emery Morrison said in a statement, “all in one centralized location.” “Adding Gas Cannabis to our menu is a reflection on our access to high-level individuals,” he adds, “and the ability to create solid partnerships that cut...

Njera Perkins

Jul 15, 2021

Spelman College Joins $40M Effort To Create More HBCU-Bred Entrepreneurs

Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Spelman College is joining its Atlanta counterparts — Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College — in a partnership that will make entrepreneurship more accessible to its students. According to a press release, the all-women HBCU is one of the latest partners of Blackstone LaunchPad — a Techstars powered campus resource connecting schools to business and entrepreneurship — for a mission dedicated to giving diverse students in the Atlanta University Center Consortium more access to tools and resources to help develop their own entrepreneurial skills. Blackstone LaunchPad was developed with support from the United Negro College Fund Inc. (UNCF), and its expansion to Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta is the latest step in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to increase career mobility for diverse student bodies. “Spelman’s goal is to provide our students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,”...

Njera Perkins

Jul 2, 2021

Intel, Dell, Nasdaq, NTT DATA And Snap Form An Alliance Focused On Diversity And Inclusion

There has been increased attention on how business leaders address diversity , equity, and inclusion in the workplace. After nearly a year since the nation experienced civil unrest, a group of large corporations are banning together to keep the conversation going. Intel , Dell Technologies, Nasdaq, NTT DATA And Snap Inc. have teamed up to formulate a new coalition called the Alliance for Global Inclusion, Intel shared in a recent press release . Dawn Jones, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO) and vice president of social impact, told AfroTech that the companies formed this coalition to further commit to developing and aligning on shared metrics that track progress in diversity and inclusion. “This isn’t new for Intel – we’ve been growing and expanding our efforts to create more inclusiveness and close critical representation gaps for many years, and as we’ve done so, we realized that our efforts alone are not enough,”  Jones told AfroTech. “We connected with...

Michelai Graham

May 20, 2021

Simone Biles Ends Six-Year Nike Deal To Join A Brand She Says Is 'Truly For Women By Women'

One of the most decorated gymnasts ever and one of the greatest Olympic athletes has ended her massive powerhouse deal with Nike. Simone Biles has announced that she’s officially ending her six-year Nike endorsement deal to enter a new apparel partnership with Athleta, which she believes will more closely align with her personal values, Wall Street Journal reports. “I felt like it wasn’t just about my achievements, it’s what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids,” she told Wall Street Journal in response to what attracted her to Athleta. “I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing.” According to the news outlet, Biles’s new deal with Athleta will include her own performance wear line, as well as other sponsorship opportunities where the brand will offer the gymnast a platform to participate in”honest...

Njera Perkins

Apr 27, 2021

Verzuz and Peloton Announce Partnership to Create Musical Competition Workouts

The Verzuz brand is strong and it’s growing even larger with its latest collaboration with online fitness platform Peloton. According to an exclusive from Variety, Verzuz’s musical streaming series and Peloton’s digital at-home workouts have formed the perfect partnership to bring together music and fitness through music-themed classes inspired by Verzuz-style playlists. Rolling Stone reports that “Peloton Verzuz” is an extension of Peloton’s Artist Series — a collection of themed workouts set to a specific artist’s catalog or new album. An early drafted press release shared with the outlet noted that the new partnership marks a celebration of “the iconic music of two legendary artists, in one friendly competition, across multiple disciplines.” Now, Peloton users will be able to enjoy their favorite artists’ music as it goes head-to-head in a song match-up that creates the ultimate musical fitness experience. According to an announcement from Peloton, the partnership is described as...

Njera Perkins

Mar 30, 2021

Minority Tech Students At Cal State East Bay Are Getting a Boost With This New Game Design Program

Oakland-based tech training program Gameheads has teamed up with some notable partners to launch a game design certificate program at Cal State East Bay this spring. According to a press release, the new program will be hosted through the university’s art and continuing education departments. In partnership with Unity, Oculus from Facebook and Niantic, East Bay’s game design certificate program specifically wants to attract students of color and low income students to participate. “This certificate program is a game changer in breaking down barriers to the tech industry that our students have faced for too long, and it’s possible because of industry leaders like Oculus, Unity and Niantic,” said Gameheads Executive Director Damon Packwood in a statement. “We thank them for helping create true diversity in tech.” Packwood said Gameheads has been committed to providing minority students with more tech education opportunities. This new program at East Bay will be co-taught by game...

Michelai Graham

Mar 24, 2021

Flutterwave, PayPal Announce Collaboration to Allow Customers Worldwide to Pay African Merchants

After closing a $170 million Series C funding round, Nigerian FinTech startup Flutterwave has announced a new collaboration with payments giant PayPal to allow customers worldwide the option of sending and receiving payments from African merchants, TechCrunch reports. According to the outlet, it has been nearly impossible for businesses in some African countries to receive money from PayPal — which is rumored to be due to insufficient regulation and poor banking security — but that’s changing now thanks to a new feature on the platform called “Pay with PayPal.” Through this partnership, Flutterwave is allowing African businesses to connect with the 377 million existing accounts on PayPal’s global platform to help resolve the complex and broken banking infrastructure on the continent and eliminate the barrier of cross-border commerce. “In a nutshell, we’re bringing more than 300 million PayPal users to African businesses so they can accept payments across the continent,” CEO...

Njera Perkins

Mar 16, 2021