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For Its New Initiative, The Jordan Brand Pledges To Not Be  A 'Product-Incubator Banking On Cultural Capital'

When it comes to taking action in supporting women, Nike’s Jordan Brand has held a steady streak. History was made in June 2021 after Michael Jordan and his brand unveiled their “WNBA Family” campaign, which marked the most-ever WNBA players to endorse the brand at once, AfroTech previously reported. “The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that or else we’re not growing,” Jordan previously shared in a statement. “The Jordan Brand is committed to giving women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire and push culture forward. These amazing athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and leading a true conversation that’s impacting culture and our communities across the globe.” The brand’s dedication to advancing women has yet to cease as right before Women’s History Month comes to a close, it has launched its inaugural global Women’s Collective, Hypebeast reports.

Mar 29, 2022

Raptors' Pascal Siakam Gives Back To Toronto Youth With $25K & Sneakers

When kicks drive the culture, it’s only right that they’re also used to drive change! Complex reports that Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam will give back to the city through his nonprofit organization, The PS43 Foundation. The NBA superstar’s organization will partner with sneaker-based charity Kickback for a donation totaling in the amount of $25,000 equipped with 30 pairs of sneakers.

Feb 3, 2022

Raekwon, Foot Locker, Diadora Collaborate For Initiative Rooted In Community, Music, And Sneaker Culture

When Hip-H op royalty meets sneaker company greatness, it is bound to be something great! Rapper Raekwon has teamed up with Diadora and Foot Locker to launch a community initiative called Community Linx that’s rooted in both music and sneaker culture and encompasses city-specific Diadora N9002 sneaker capsules to be sold exclusively at Foot Locker and Champs Sports. Courtesy Photo “Foot Locker, Inc. is continuously looking for ways to make a positive impact in the communities we serve,” said John Hochadel, Vice President, Global Concepts and Energy at Foot Locker, Inc., in an official news release shared with AfroTech. “We are excited to team with Raekwon and Diadora and collaborate on a program designed to empower and inspire. We look forward to seeing the impact this program has on everyone it touches.”

Jan 20, 2022

With Help From Apple, These Founders Were Able To Create 'The Smartest Sneaker App Ever'

Apple is remaining committed to bringing Black-led platforms to the main stage for the world to see. The tech giant recently pledged $30 million in new commitments to our communities including the masterminds behind Kickstroid, the app deemed “the smartest sneaker app ever.” Founders David Alston and Nicco Adams created the platform to serve as the ultimate tool for sneakerheads using machine learning to bring sneaker culture straight to users’ fingertips through its mobile iOS app. It is designed to be used by everyone. Whether you’re the ultimate sneakerhead or someone who is taking their first dip into sneaker culture. The easy-to-use tool helps anyone using the Kickstroid app to stay up to date with the latest sneaker news and of course the latest sneaker drops. As Apple continues to build on its original investment as a part of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), which supports students, innovators, and advocacy organizations that are leading the charge in creating...

Dec 15, 2021

Meet Raymond Jones, A StockX Sneaker Authenticator Who's Ensuring Your Jordans Are Verified

Nike’s Air Jordan 16 Retro “Countdown Pack” sneakers and the adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Pirate Blacks are a few favorite sneakers you can find in this StockX sneaker authenticator’s closet. Raymond Jones is a level two sneaker authenticator at StockX, curator of a marketplace for apparel and accessories. The company is most notable for its sneaker resell program, and the primary aspect of its authentication process is making sure products are authentic. AfroTech previously reported that StockX has a global team of more than 300 authenticators across 11 authentication locations with a 99.95 percent accuracy rate. Photo Credit: Jeff Kowalsky Fashion was a big part of Jones’ upbringing and one of the reasons why he’s always dreamed of becoming a sneaker authenticator. He recalls being in high school and seeing all his peers apply for jobs at Foot Locker and similar stores so they could be the first to get their hands on the latest Jordans. Jones has been working for StockX since last...

Dec 10, 2021

Storm Reid Links Up With New Balance To Push Equity For Women In Sneaker Culture

On screen, Storm Reid has an impressive work portfolio that includes “A Wrinkle in Time,” “When They See Us,” and “12 Years a Slave.” And even when she’s not playing a role on screen as the Hollywood actress is still bringing attention to prominent social issues. “I’m all about the equity work and being civically engaged to facilitate the integrity of life within a community, whether you’re doing that politically or non-politically. I choose to do it non-politically,” Reid shared in an interview with Pop Sugar in 2020. Now, Storm Reid’s newest front is re-visiting the sneaker scene as the newest face of New Balance to revitalize the confidence of young women on their journey toward self-confidence. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Storm Reid (@stormreid) “New Balance and I share the belief that women should have the confidence to pursue all of their interests,” Storm Reid says in a press release. “I’m thrilled that the brand has chosen to support me as a perfectly...

Oct 27, 2021

Gerome Sapp's Sneaker Investment App Rares Secures $4M In Seed Funding Round

Fintech startup Rares, a sneaker investment app, launched earlier this year and recently earned $4 million in a seed funding round. The round was led by MaC Venture Capital on Oct. 11 and participants included Cake Ventures, Portfolia Rising America Funds I and II,  Evolution VC, W Fund and Gaingels, according to a press release. As previously reported by AfroTech, Rares was founded by former NFL player Gerome Sapp and his business offers its users fractional ownership through rare, high-priced sneakers. Rares’ mission is to give back to the Black community through providing accessibility to the sneaker market “by creating a new class of sneaker enthusiasts powered by financial literacy and cultural equity.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Rares (@raresapp) “Access to significant capital has been the achilles heel for many entrepreneurs, especially women and other minorities,” Sapp said in a press release. “So as a minority, being able to close this significant SEED...

Oct 19, 2021

Tradeblock's Cassidy Edwards Is Creating Spaces For Women In Sneaker Culture

Cassidy Edwards’ introduction to sneaker culture began during the glory days of basketball legend Michael Jordan. Repping Third Ward Houston, TX, Jordans and Air Max shoes have always reigned supreme in her city. “You would always see Air Maxes and growing up that’s probably what I saw the most down South,” Edwards told AfroTech. “I was always intrigued by the girls with the big bamboo earrings and grills. That’s always been a part of Houston culture and then sneakers intersect those things. Music, DJ Screw, grills and Jordans was kind of the thing.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cassidy Edwards (@cassidyonthegram) Since high school, Edwards’ love for sneakers has always been a creative outlet for expression and now 20 years later, it still continues to follow her throughout her life. The Houston native’s journey transformed her into a certified sneakerhead, but her passion runs deeper than just collecting sneakers. Within her career, her mission in the sneaker...

Sep 16, 2021

Are Your Jordans Real? Here's How GOAT, StockX And More Use Tech To Authenticate Your Sneakers

Sneaker authentication is crucial, especially for today’s growing secondary sneaker resale market. GQ reported that the counterfeit sneaker market is worth $450 billion, and complaints of the fraudulent goods have even made it in front of a judge. The United States Department of Homeland Security ran an investigation on a Chinese company named Qing Fu Zeng between February 2012 and December 2016. The international company smuggled 22 shipping containers full of counterfeit Nike and Louis Vuitton sneakers by sea into the United States. According to the complaint, if the sneakers had been authentic, they would have been worth more than $472 million. There was a similar counterfeit ring bust back in 2018 in New York. Sneaker authentication technology is on the rise for reasons like this. Jerome Thompson, authentication manager at GOAT, told FN that one of GOAT’s co-founders launched the sneaker and apparel company in 2009 after accidentally buying a pair of fake Jordans from another...

Sep 6, 2021

Athlete-Turned-Techpreneur Gerome Sapp's $1.8M Yeezy Prototype Sneaker Purchase Is Giving Back To The Culture

For former NFL player Gerome Sapp, transitioning from the world of professional sports to the world of business came with ease once he found the right concept. After retiring from the league in 2008, he was inspired to start a new career as a tech founder, and his latest conquest in the industry is proving to be quite a force in the investment space. With his driven mindset and finance background, the athlete-turned entrepreneur came up with an innovative concept to educate his community on what it means to make smart investments in assets that especially resonate with them — sneakers. This simple yet revolutionary idea is what paved the way for his new fintech startup Rares — a product of the Techstars Los Angeles Accelerator program — to launch as a platform to help people to invest in shares of particularly notable sneakers. The business, which launched earlier this year, was born amid the pandemic and gave Sapp the opportunity to combine his two passions — the Stock Market and...

Aug 30, 2021

Black Experts Discuss The Shift In Sneaker Culture That Has Made Consumers The Biggest Losers Of The Industry

Wondering why you can’t get your hands on the latest Jordan sneaker drop? Well, you can thank the overwhelming hype culture around sneakers, the genius of tech and the boom of social media for the commoditized market. Previously, sneaker culture used to be glorified for its principles of style, community and history that defined a niche industry. And while this remains true, it’s impossible to ignore the shift that’s made consumers the biggest losers of the sneaker business today. Anyone who’s been truly invested in the culture knows that getting a pair of the hottest sneakers was never an easy feat, but after technology was introduced as a new avenue for brands to sell their shoes, it changed the rules so that consumers now are in an unfair competition with several different apps, websites and technology-based “cheat codes” (better known as bots). Bots, according to Business Insider, is a term that refers to a software application that’s used to expedite the online checkout process...

Jun 16, 2021

Digital Platform True To Us Wants To Become The Future For Black And Brown Women In Streetwear Culture

Black women are some of the most innovative playmakers in sneaker culture today. Their contributions have made a global impact through some of the biggest streetwear brands and even their own self-made platforms that have helped pave the way for others. As previously reported by AfroTech, Black women aren’t waiting around for major corporations to offer them opportunities in the streetwear industry anymore. They’re carving out their own spaces and making room for other people in their communities to erase the “boys club” stereotype. And that’s exactly what True To Us founder Jourdan Ash set out to do when she created her forward-thinking online platform. True To Us — which is labeled as “a platform for you to be seen” — strives to center Black and brown women as the foundation of the streetwear and sneaker industries while also extending career opportunties. Like many sneakerheads, Ash got her proper introduction to the culture very early in her youth, even as early as the day she...

Jun 11, 2021

Foot Locker Surprises 20 High School Students With $20K Scholarships

These high school students are in for a real treat! The Foot Locker Foundation has announced its 2020-2021 Class of Scholar Athletes which includes 20 high school students from across the country who have exemplified academic excellence, strong skills in sports and within their communities. Each recipient will receive a $20,000 scholarship for the school of their choice. “We know that a quality education provides significant opportunities and breaks down barriers for today’s youth,” shared Richard Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Foot Locker, Inc. “No young person should be forced to sacrifice their education because of cost. Our goal is to provide financial support to these exceptional individuals and help take that burden off their shoulders so they can focus on what matters – their academic work and personal growth. I’m incredibly proud of this year’s winners who have overcome so much all while working tirelessly in their communities to drive meaningful change.”...

May 26, 2021

These 10 Innovative Black Women Are Bringing Sneaker Culture to the Digital World

Sneaker culture has become a widespread phenomenon in the digital age that was brought to life via the internet. Sneakerheads have existed long before digital media became popularized, but platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and others gave them a place to thrive and connect. Though sneaker culture continues to grow and expand through different avenues, one thing remains unchanged — women, especially Black women, are still fighting their way into the “boys club.” “I’ve noticed that Black women, rather than waiting for major corporations to co-sign them, are actually creating their own spaces, platforms and events,” shared Robyn Mowatt — former sneaker columnist/ associate editor at HYPEBAE and current OkayPlayer staff writer. “This means that they’re taking control of their narratives and also making space for the next generation of young women to have ownership of streetwear/sneaker culture on their own terms,” she added. No longer needing approval from the industry’s gatekeepers,...

Oct 12, 2020